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Esse Quam Videri

Taking a break from formal studies to work on self-regulation and social thinking?

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Would you do it? DS9 really needs help in these areas. Also general habits and hygiene (making lots of lists and following them seems to help). I always want to work on these things more intentionally but never seem to find the time. I'm thinking of allowing DS9 to have a ton of freedom about what he studies (definitely a self-motivated learner when the subject interests him) and how he spends his day, while one-on-one time with me revolves mostly around figuring out this other stuff. And we'd probably keep going with math... And maybe some assigned reading... Ha. It's hard. 

 

So would you? And any thoughts or ideas on how to? 

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When I have to make a decision like this, I try to envision the results 6 months down the road both doing it and not, then see which I prefer.

 

Personally, if it will not cause problems with how you school with your other kids, I'd go for it.

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I don't think anyone is trying to ignore your thread, but can you bring us up to speed on what you're dealing with?  Because, I'm all for working on self-regulation, perspective taking, etc.  However I think, in general, you can do that within his school things by modifying what constitutes school.  I also think that *choice* is good but that lack of structure can be unwise.  And structure can be lots of ways, but I think structure, clear expectations, him knowing the routines and the plan, that's all part of self-regulation.  So, depending on what you're dealing with, you could make choices, thinking you're making it better, and what you're really doing is skirting challenges like how he handles transitions, etc.  Some of those things have to be hit head-on.

 

Has he had evals?  OT as well as psych?  

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It's hard to say what exactly we're dealing with. No testing, and honestly I'm not sure anything would come up... He's incredibly kind to strangers and respectful to adults/teachers. He's mostly functional and "normal" around other kids even. 

 

Mostly, his issues are with seeing things in black and white, not understanding personal boundaries/invading people's space, overreacting and getting really emotional over tiny things (like running out of milk), things not being fair...

 

While his issues are more social than academic, he does have a hard time completing work independently. Sometimes I feel like he should be able to work on his own, and try to create external standards to help him (set a timer, continually to check in/remind him to focus). Other times I just go with it and hold his hand and he FLIES through material. Yesterday he did 6 lessons in Singapore orally, me writing his answers, in about 30 minutes. Fractions even! He does fractions with different denominators as mental math... He's bizarre! But to sit on his own and complete one lesson will take FOREVER... He does work independently on things he initiates himself. He is writing two nonfiction books completely on his own, one about endangered Rhinos and one about the 50 Greatest Quarterbacks of all Time. He reads dozens of books on these topics and works for HOURS obsessing over them. He created his own formula to determine a "point rating" for QB ranking based only on statistics and not on opinion. He wanted it to be "fair" lol...

 

I ordered some social thinking and self-regulation curriculum, and we've read/talked about some of it together. When he heard the part about wearing the "magnifying glasses" and "make-believe glasses" his eyes got HUGE... it really resonated with him and he felt like he gained a lot of self-understanding. He asked me later if we could read more. In the Superflex curriculum, the "unthinkables" Glassman and Rock Brain really resonated with him too... He is asking for more of this stuff and I can see it helping him already. Just hard to find the time while we plug away with school... 

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Well you're doing the right things.  You could clone yourself by hiring a behaviorist or SLP to work with him on the social thinking materials.  Either of those, a BCBA or an SLP, could do it.  I'd go with the BCBA because that's their gig.  Around here they can be a bit less than an SLP, and they would have more tools.  They could do some things like structuring play dates where they work on the new skills.

 

What you're doing is fabulous and on the right track.  As you do the materials with him, you'll be able to carry over the goals (perspective taking, etc.) to your literature, read alouds, current events studies, whatever.  

 

If you wanted a diagnosis, obviously you could pursue that.  You could have functional questions, like is that some attention showing up there, etc.  Sometimes having the right words for things helps.  He might have some processing speed issues or dysgraphia that you're wrangling with.  He sounds super, super bright.  You're right that social skills are the major determiner of employability, meaning they're where you want to put your time.

 

Another thing some people do, don't be aghast, is they have their kids watch popular television.  Someone was just telling me ICarly (I have no clue) can be good for girls.  I let my ds watch some tripe on Nickelodeon.  It's useful for them to see NT kid banter.  Someone had just been mentioning what the best (most disgusting) shows were for this.  I think they said Disney channel.  Totally not looking forward to that, lol.

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Your explanation of what you are looking for is great. It sounds like your son is intense and gifted. 

 

If he's interested in self-awareness and regulating his own responses, I think you should ride that wave! That's really awesome. The Social Thinking stuff is good, and zones of regulation is good. He might also just want more tools for making his own checklists--setting goals and not losing track of what he wants to accomplish, etc. Smart But Scattered might be good for that last piece.

 

I would also look at books maybe in this genre as well (these three books have been highly recommended--I have not read the first two, but others who have described exactly what you are talking about recommend them): 

http://www.amazon.com/Living-With-Intensity-Understanding-Excitability/dp/0910707898

http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Gifted-Kids-Successful-Children/dp/1593631790/ref=pd_sim_14_3?ie=UTF8&dpID=51I3RAI46kL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR104%2C160_&refRID=0VTEYHSN3A1RB9H7FZCE

http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Emotionally-Intelligent-Child-Parenting/dp/0684838656/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1454437716&sr=8-5&keywords=children+and+emotions 

 

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Another thing some people do, don't be aghast, is they have their kids watch popular television.  Someone was just telling me ICarly (I have no clue) can be good for girls.  I let my ds watch some tripe on Nickelodeon.  It's useful for them to see NT kid banter.  Someone had just been mentioning what the best (most disgusting) shows were for this.  I think they said Disney channel.  Totally not looking forward to that, lol.

Slightly OT, but I banned all Disney tween shows because the parent child banter brought about very annoying changes in actual parent child interactions.   ICarly and Jessie were the main two older DD was watching too.   I am not a ban-er either -- but the changes were so clear.  I could even tell when she had watched the shows over at a friends house.

 

She has watched other tween shows without that happening -- like Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,  H2O: Just Add Water, and the new Just Add Magic (i think those last two are just on Amazon maybe?) Note, I am not claiming these are better shows -- just they have not caused the oh so irritating attitude.    I haven't watched much of Sabrina or the H20 one -- but the Just Add Magic, the kids seemed more normal and less over the top  (Sabrina from what I remember watching it years ago would be more in the over the top camp  -- like the very stereotyped mean girls/cheerleaders from an episode I caught a glimpse of recently-- but maybe the child/aunt interactions are just not so full attitude? anyway so far so good with Sabrina)

 

(ETA -- I mention the over the topness because it seems like that might be what makes shows like that useful for social skills as OhElizabeth suggests?)

Edited by LaughingCat
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What you're doing is fabulous and on the right track.  As you do the materials with him, you'll be able to carry over the goals (perspective taking, etc.) to your literature, read alouds, current events studies, whatever.  

 

If you wanted a diagnosis, obviously you could pursue that.  You could have functional questions, like is that some attention showing up there, etc.  Sometimes having the right words for things helps.  He might have some processing speed issues or dysgraphia that you're wrangling with.  He sounds super, super bright.  You're right that social skills are the major determiner of employability, meaning they're where you want to put your time.

 

That's a great idea! I hadn't even thought about using the language we're learning to his other studies. I think that'll come more naturally as we go. 

 

Yes, I think testing might be in order eventually. The dysgraphia is definitely a possibility...  I'm sure I would be surprised either way. 

 

Your explanation of what you are looking for is great. It sounds like your son is intense and gifted. 

 

If he's interested in self-awareness and regulating his own responses, I think you should ride that wave! That's really awesome. The Social Thinking stuff is good, and zones of regulation is good. He might also just want more tools for making his own checklists--setting goals and not losing track of what he wants to accomplish, etc. Smart But Scattered might be good for that last piece.

 

I would also look at books maybe in this genre as well (these three books have been highly recommended--I have not read the first two, but others who have described exactly what you are talking about recommend them): 

http://www.amazon.com/Living-With-Intensity-Understanding-Excitability/dp/0910707898

http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Gifted-Kids-Successful-Children/dp/1593631790/ref=pd_sim_14_3?ie=UTF8&dpID=51I3RAI46kL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR104%2C160_&refRID=0VTEYHSN3A1RB9H7FZCE

http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Emotionally-Intelligent-Child-Parenting/dp/0684838656/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1454437716&sr=8-5&keywords=children+and+emotions 

 

Thanks so much for these recs! I  just ordered Smart but Scattered-- sounds like just what we need. 

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I don't know if you need another comment, but we had to scale back to the bare minimum subjects for my DD to make time to work on similar issues.  We did bring in speech and occupational therapists for evals, and went thru the public school for testing so to gain a better understanding as to what the root issues were.  It proved most helpful! Best to you!    

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