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Writing for an Aspie (CC/CW)


mcmama
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I'm bringing my second grader back home for third grade (we homeschooled before this year in a very relaxed unschooley fashion) and planning to implement Latin-Centered Curriculum.

 

I had been planning on using Classical Writing as our composition curriculum, but have just heard about Classical Composition. I've searched the boards for the information I'm looking for, but I haven't been able to see my questions concisely addressed, so I'm hoping someone can help.

 

My son's got Asperger's, which for him means that theory of mind is very difficult and he is going to need a lot of direct instruction on composition - writing for an audience, considering viewpoints, etc.

 

He's also very bright, and seems to know and understand most of the basics of phonics. He reads at probably a 4th grade level.

 

We are also a non-christian family, but I'm not averse to bible passages being included in a similar way to other myths and stories.

 

So right now I'm trying to decide between CW and CC - it looks to me like Aesop and Fable are comparable, and I'm assuming all of the following levels compare as well. Given our circumstances, does anyone with experience in the two programs (or even experience in one program or the other that might address our concerns) have any advice? I'm not really worried about grammar and such so much at this point, as I expect much of it to be covered through our Latin studies.

 

Thanks - this forum is always such a valuable resource!

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Aspergers has become a catch all diagnosis that covers a wide variety of people on the spectrum, but in general, I just think there are other curriculum that serve the needs of this population better.

 

Writing is a form of communication, and most of this population struggles with communication in GENERAL. The Progym was designed to create rhetoricians, and few Aspies will become rhetoricians.

 

If a mom is already using the Progym with other children, or just likes teaching it, she can tweak it to work, especially in the early years. It's just not the most efficient route for many people in this population. The most important thing though is for the teacher to use what works for her as a teacher. So if a mom is smitten with the Progym, then she should definitely use it.

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Nope, I'm mostly looking at Progym because it's what's recommended in LCC and because it seems to be comprehensive. My boy is very high-functioning, seems to pick up social cues with a little extra training, shows great empathy - but his theory of mind is exactly what you'd expect from an Aspie. He tends to start sentences in the middle of a thought, thinking we all know exactly what he's on about. At school, his teachers & helpers have noticed that he struggles with taking other viewpoints and being clear in his writing - no surprise. I just want to make sure I'm giving him the tools he needs to be an effective communicator. I thoroughly expect him to have great need of those tools later in life. :)

 

In other words, I'd love to hear what your other suggestions are!

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I really like the instructor's guide for Karen Newell's Write On! It's a free download. It teaches you how to reteach the same lesson several times. Most Aspies need very explicit teaching repeated over and over. The free TM also includes a free 3 sentence report lesson that is quite good.

 

Step Up to Writing is expensive, but there is a LOT of free online materials available, that will give you the main idea to apply to any curriculum. There are some videos here.

 

The Bing Bang Bongo method. Bing Bang Bongo Essay. more.

 

 

method. Workbooks are cheap at currclick.

 

A method I've used for decades is to draw a table on piece of scrap paper. The table top is the topic sentence. The legs are details, that "hold up" the topic sentence. If you are religious you can use the morning scripture reading to do 2 paragraphs every day. The first paragraph is a fact paragraph. the second paragraph is an opinion paragraph. For example the first paragraph topic sentence might be, "Noah built an ark", followed up by several sentence that tell more facts about Noah building the ark. The second paragraph topic sentence might be, "I sure am glad I wasn't Noah!" followed by several sentences that tell why the student feels that way. My Aspie middle schooler spent about 2 years doing mostly just this.

 

There are lots of visual methods and graphic organizers that work well with this language challenged population. I prefer curriculum that is designed for multi-year use and is ungraded. K-2 and ESL curricula provide great ideas even for much older and English speaking students.

 

I do a LOT of sentence compositions using spelling words, instead of longer assignments. Dictation Resource Book and Learning Grammar Through Writing are helpful.

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The thing about my boy is that he is not at all language challenged; he's extremely bright and loquacious. It's just a matter of getting his language to work for him (and his readers), to help him remember that other people don't already know what he's talking about when he starts in describing how to work the controls in Minecraft without bothering to say, "This is how you move around in the Minecraft world," etc.

 

Thanks for the suggestions, I'm looking forward to checking them out!

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Hmmm. I think I know what you mean. This is more of a communication issue, and a lack of understanding of how "stupid" "normies" are, rather than a writing issue? I'm thinking that this might not need to be addressed specifically in the curriculum that much. He's probably always going to do that in his speech and writing.

 

My son once told me that that he could never have imagined "normies" didn't know a certain thing and still be smart enough to breathe. There was no fixing that with any of the writing curricula on the market. :lol:

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  • 5 months later...

At mcmama's request, I'm copying and pasting my pm to her about how I did Aesop with my 9yo aspie ds this year. I hesitated to post on this thread because it's from the beginning of the year, but like mcmama said, this could benefit another down the road!

 

DS benefitted so much from CW! At the beginning of the year, I had to find my footing: how do I teach him the story, first of all? I did many different things to help him visualize the story (since he has a hard time picturing what he's hearing and reading, right?) I made a quick (and horribly drawn, lol) comic strip for the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. He lit up when I did it and was helping me figure out what to draw in the "next scene". It was great. We used his Skylander figures to play out Cincinnatus :) I used the iPad and google images to help him visualize a flowering garden with a cottage in it for Cornelia's Jewels. That sort of thing :)

 

Really helping him "get" the story helped him retell it in the writing projects.

 

Also, I've done the outlines/narrations in different ways to find out how he best thinks the story through. We've done straight up narrations, where I say, What happened first? Then what? And I write it down from there. I've also done a key word outline a few times. I think for two of the fables, I broke the stories down into paragraphs and we identified the main character, place, etc. and wrote a sentence or two describing the action in each paragraph.

 

He is good at copywork, so he writes his final copy for each writing project, but I write the outline/narration, the editing and the first drafts.

 

I haven't focused too much on the editing, but next year with Aesop B, I plan on doing more. I've recently started typing out his first drafts, with triple spacing, so we can see the editing more clearly.

 

Basically, it's gone really well. I'm doing less and less, um..."rewriting" for him because he's coming up with his own beautiful words. Slow and steady wins the race, ya know! I'm doing more writing and editing than folk with NT kids are probably doing, but that's okay, I'm satisfied with DS's progress!

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