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I need some help with my 9 y/o ds, who is an Aspie...

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We're doing MFW for science, bible and history and it's NOT going well. It doesn't matter if I read to him or if he reads to himself. He has a really difficult time telling me what was read. I'm not able to spend large portions of time with him on this stuff b/c:


A: He is not the only student that I teach

B: I have a toddler that needs a lot of attention


Ds was like this last year too and I'm afraid he really didn't learn much science/bible/history. More of the same this year, I'm afraid.


The only other options that I can think of are:

A: Workbooks (which he does for LA/Math). With that, I'm afraid that he will be overwhelmed with so many workbooks.


B: Videos for those subjects. I think we all know how spendy THAT would be, plus, I don't even know where I'd look for something like that.


I suspect he has dysgraphia as he hates, hates, hates writing anything. It's gotten a bit better this year, but if it's too much, he melts down.


Any ideas as to what on EARTH I'm supposed to do with him? He's in 4th grade btw and pretty smart. For instance, he usually gets all of his LA/Math correct. He has a pretty good memory with those two subjects. I can teach him something once or twice and he'll do pretty well with it.


Thanks for any help!

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But I really don't have any advice!! Doing stuff orally takes time...so its really hard to keep them independent if they won't write. We did ACE paces briefly. I'm not crazy about them, but they did work well for my child (though he was quite behind.) I didn't think he'd like workbooks, but I had come to my wits end and didn't know what else to do other than hand them to him and say, when you can get through this you can graduate. He like the organization of it, and only whined about the composition assignments. The short answer/fill in the blank he could handle. Because I wanted different content I'm making my own "paces" now, and its going OK...though because I put it together he's more likely to argue. He does Writing With Skill independently, now (he's 15yo), along with a vocabulary notebook and Grammar for Middle School. Its all independent (but he's much older). Back when he was 9.....independence wouldn't have happened!! He didn't have the ability....it may be that expecting your 9yo to be independent isn't going to happen. You may have to just pick the most important stuff and give him a short lesson if you don't have time to work with him. Less is often more with these kids anyway. My son started working independently around 11-12yo. My dd started around 9-10 (girls are often earlier)....but I'd say its a lucky few that have 9yos that work independently, especially when writing is an issue!! You could try a computerized curriculum....there'd be very little writing. My 15yo did great with K12 the year we tried public school at home....he tested out of everything so he wouldn't have to do the written work!! (I don't think retention was very good, though, for the same reason.)

Hope you get lots more advice!

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I don't have any advice either. Just throwing some suggestions/ things to look into, your way.


If he was an early reader, you might want to look into Hyperlexia. Here are two links for you:






Linguisystems does have a couple of programs for Hyperlexia but they are not self-directed. You can see samples in their website and they have a 25% off sale between Oct. 29th and Nov. 2nd (for members).


Here, we don't have major issues, especially when my son is reading something himself. There was a bit of an expressive issue in grade 1 but we are doing much better with that now. I did have to cut TOG and SOTW for now though. We have added Calvert instead and by reading samples I think it should work a bit better for us this year (we are waiting on our package to arrive).


The issue I see in my son where auditory input is concerned is, visualizing what is being read to him. This is something I will be working on with the Linguisystems Hyperlexia Level 2 program and I am also hoping to get another book recommended to me with the title "Reading Is Seeing" by Jeffery D. Wilhelm, soon. My oldest seems to learn very similarly to the way I did and I remember that when I mastered combining focusing on auditory input with visualization skills (on my own, my way of adapting to my own unique strengths and weakness), it boosted comprehension greatly. By the way, I was an early reader also.


When it comes to reading comprehension, while my son's is not behind, it is not as advanced as his reading. I attribute that a) to visualization skills and b) social skills. I have already spoken about visualization skills so I will explain what I mean by social skills in this case. I have noticed that, where social interactions are concerned in his reading, he cannot always connect with the situation. I brought him down on some of the books he had been reading (I really monitor for content) in order to focus on that. He has been doing well with Beverly Cleary's books so far.


I am also tackling auditory skills with Super Duper's Hear Builder Auditory Memory software. We have sensory issues here, another issue that affects attention to auditory input. So far Super Duper has worked wonders in that area for us. My son is only on the Intermediate level right now but I am already seeing differences in his attention. This year, unlike in grade 1 when we used WWE 1, I am doing all the reading and I am not letting him look at the book while I read. I have seen a big improvement so far and we have had HearBuilder for a very short time. The great thing about HearBuilder is that he works on that on his own :).


Like I said, no advice, just mentioning what we are currently trying.


Oh, and I have also added the Carson-Dellosa Spotlight Into Reading series. I have found these books (we are currently using two out of the five) very useful for comprehension also. They do involved some writing but not much. I bought the ebooks for these and I am printing as we use them.

Edited by Guest
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Just to add that I have also added audiobooks, which I did not use much in the past, given how visual we are as a family. What I am doing currently is having my son listen to the audiobook while following the book. I will be taking the physical books away eventually and have him just listen.

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Can't help you with the writing end of things as my hFA son actually likes to write. But he likes to write what he wants to write, narrations are another matter.

Like your son he would have trouble giving a general summary, or even identifying a detail. He tends to remember whole chunks, as if the idea cannot be complete without the story--does that make sense?


He does much, much better if I guide him through the process of generating the idea. I used to do this with story webs, and now he seems to get similar help from outlines, going sentence by sentence.


Another thing I have found to encourage him in his writing is to make things very fact based and not depended on following a story. He likes his tales up front and with very basic plots. I can give him a fable from Aesop and he will do much, much better with it that if I gave him a reader with a story in it that had a similar message, for instance. Give him solid, concrete things and he does very well remembering the summary of the information. I think it plays to his ability to organize as long as he doesn't have to sort.

Obviously he's going to have to learn to get through the more relationship oriented, dense-plot material, but for now I have to direct the process.

Edited by Critterfixer
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We use lots of additional resources also (kits, DVD's etc.). The issue I have had is that while my son is learning, he is learning bits and pieces of information and cannot tie them together. This is why I just use them as supplements, in our case, and am using a preplanned curriculum instead. If someone is good at putting units together and helping to tie topics/ timelines etc. together for a child then this is great, in my eyes. I did not feel I could do a good enough job in that area, much less have the time to put it together in a way that I would like. This is why I use curricula.


ETA: Calvert has already done that for us anyway, combining links to Brain-Pop and other resources, and providing activity tie-ins with each lesson.

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Just to add that I have also added audiobooks, which I did not use much in the past, given how visual we are as a family. What I am doing currently is having my son listen to the audiobook while following the book. I will be taking the physical books away eventually and have him just listen.

That's an idea that I never thought of:001_smile:.


Some spectrum children also have mixed expressive receptive language disorders. They can identify the correct answer through multiple choice, but not retrieve and word it themselves. Just something else to ponder.


It's not unusual for spectrum children to have good memories, but not be able to use those skills in different situations, which is why many benefit from using multiple approaches and resources.


It sounds like you are specifically asking about science and history. I would switch approaches. Sit down once ever two weeks and put science and history videos, non fiction, activity books, and DVD's on hold from the library. Stop by, pick them up and put them in his book basket. Have him pick something from there for his science and history time.


As funds allow add science kits to that basket. We started with the Science Wiz kits.


Ask him what he would like to learn about.


You can also spin it off to more of a child directed project based learning. The blog Think! has a lot of wonderful ideas too. We've done the Kid Concoction series as well.


What helps here is making a list for the entire book, gathering supplies, they just letting them at it. Once they are done, we move on to another book.


Laurie Carlson has some great history activity books we have used. My kids prefer DVD's for history though.


Your library should have Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, Billy Nye, Schlessinger Media, Magic Schoolbus, Liberty Kids, from there you can go into boyish topics such as Engineering an Empire.


Perhaps a subscription to Netflix or BrainPop would help?


Would he'd be interested in sharing his projects on something such as DIY.org? They also have a skill section that is kind of like virtual merit badges. It's a wonderful place for the kids to see what other creative kids are doing and get ideas that they then own instead of being parent suggested.

The bolded IS true with my ds too!! You have many, many great ideas. I just signed up for a free trial of BrainPop. I also signed up for time4learning. I don't know if we'll stick with T4L though. He only uses it for science currently.


I will have to go through you post more throughly and digest. Thanks so much;)!


Many Aspies have writing issues, and their ability to control all aspects of writing, from thinking through what they want to say to holding the pencil to remembering how to spell and punctuate, often do not come together until early adolescence. You can find a summary of this general Aspie pattern in Tony Attwood's book The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome.




So while you continue to work on language arts in general, you might want to keep the writing of reports, etc. (as opposed to spelling and copywork or narration if he does that) to a minimum and allow your son other ways to demonstrate what he has learned. One mom on these boards whose Aspie son is now graduated and in tech college had him make short video reports, stop motion animation, graphic-novel or storyboard-type pieces that were drawing with a little writing, art projects, a series of "information" cards with drawings or computer art, etc. They substituted extensive discussion for much of his writing in the elementary years.


When this young man's writing came together in adolescence he made quick progress -- this seems also to be typical of many Aspies -- and he wrote a guidebook for theater lighting interns as his senior project. When the same thing happened to my dd's writing about age fourteen, she spent six months writing nearly 100 pages of LotR fan fiction, and another six months copying nearly 100 pages of favorite quotations from books. She's currently pulling an A+ in her first community college writing class. My husband, also an Aspie, clicked with writing in a calligraphy class at about age 13. He's still a slow writer physically but he writes a ton for his job (science funding proposals, articles, reviews, reports on grad students, etc.) and he does it well. It does happen; it just doesn't necessarily happen at an early age.


If your son likes games and/or family projects, there are some great books with short, easy writing activities that will build fluency and confidence in the meanwhile. Here are two that we loved:






The bonus for Aspies is that these writing games and projects are social in nature, so you work on communication and interpersonal skills at the same time.


ETA: Agreeing with Michele that if you need him to do some things independently, mixing up materials and allowing his learning in history and science to be interest-based is going to give you the best shot at that. Can tell you what he's watched in a documentary of his choice, or what he has read in a magazine that addresses one of his interests? Start with that and build on it. Can he draw what he's read or seen? Can he then tell you about his drawing?


Patricia Zaballos has a blog piece about how talking about their interests can build writing skills in children: http://patriciazaballos.com/2012/09/24/how-talking-to-your-kids-about-their-interests-can-make-them-better-writers/

The bolded is true of my ds. Thank you for all the links and great thoughts. I will look into the links and really process what you have said too.




Update: The whole science with work books thing was a flop! I had a workbook that we had tried last year from CLE and we both quickly realized why it didn't work. He has a very difficult time "scanning" for answers if he doesn't remember them from what he read.


I started a new post on the generall board. I think I'm going to go more of an unschool approach with history/science. I will get really interesting books, videos, different kits (or something) and put them in a basket that he'll need to choose from.


Any other ideas ARE appreciated!

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