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Would you homeschool this kid?


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This is sort of a spin-off of some other threads about being done with homeschooling, and/or open to public schools. I'm looking for some outside perspective. There's no clear answer, but maybe writing everything out and getting feedback will help me think through it.

 

My 5 year old DS was recently diagnosed with Asperger's, or autism level 1. A year ago I was extremely overwhelmed (my kids were 4, 2, and colicky newborn, and I was struggling to recover from a c section). I've really wanted to homeschool for years, and was so looking forward to homeschooling kindergarten for him, but what with everything going on, it really made sense to put my two boys in preschool for this year. We didn't want to put DS5 in public school kindergarten. We felt like there was something quirky and unusual about him, and school would hurt his love of learning, and we thought it would make us less likely to homeschool in the future. DH especially felt this way, and didn't want me to give up on my dream (he doesn't necessarily feel the same way anymore as we try to evaluate what DS's needs are and where/how to best meet them). Now we know that the reason we felt that way is because DS has autism. So that's the background for why he's in private preschool for 5 year olds who qualify for kindergarten but aren't attending for whatever reason. It's 4 mornings a week and he's really thriving and making such great social progress. His teachers are so pleased with all the positive changes in him, and he wants to go to public school for first grade next year. I think he really appreciates the structure of school. I can only provide so much structure with a baby and toddler at home as well. However, school is also a stressor for him...more on that in a bit.

 

DS can be difficult behavior-wise. It's like he only has two moods, good and bad. There's a brief transition state between these moods and if I can recognize it sometimes I can head off the bad mood. Emotional regulation is a top priority for us right now. We're working hard to get him to recognize his emotional states and how to name them and regulate them in a healthy way. The problem with school is that he needs a lot of down-time afterward, because keeping everything together during school is stressful for him (there's a major up-tick in his tics and sensory behaviors when school is in session, which calm down during times like Christmas break), and by the time he gets home he's depleted. School isn't the only thing that stresses him...often on a non-school day he'll have a great morning and then a horrible afternoon, or vise-versa. But school heightens the effect. Also, this year he's not learning much academically...right now, for him personally, it's more of a social learning experience. But someday, if he goes to public school, he's going to have to navigate both social learning and academic learning. Also it will be a longer school day, which means more stress from keeping things together, which means a higher likelihood of bad behavior at home.

 

Things he needs: speech. In public school, OT (we did OT last year and after several months the therapist and I agreed I could handle it myself at home. However, in a school setting he would really benefit from it). I suspect some auditory issues, but he's too young for them to be diagnosed yet. In the meantime I want him to have some formal music lessons. I think understanding the logical structure of music  and actually making music himself will help him understand it. Right now I think most music just sounds like noise to him. If he's homeschooled, I think he'll need some sort of sport (the psychologist who evaluated him specifically mentioned something like karate or tae kwon do). And his biggest need is going to be social interaction with other kids. Specifically, one-on-one, set up for success, type of interaction. Our neighbor-friends are moving away, so we're going to lose all the impromptu playdates we've had over the years (although honestly these playdates did not set him up for success - they can stress him and put him in a mood). But it's going to be more important than ever, next year, to get him into positive social situations. I'm thinking a lego team or something if we homeschool.

 

So. My options:

 

Option A. Homeschool. Might put the younger kids in preschool a couple mornings a week so I can have one-on-one time with DS and really focus.

 

Pros: I really want to homeschool. DS is a joy to teach and work with when he's in a good mood. I've been doing the taking care of young kids thing for so long, and I'd love to change gears and get into the nitty gritty of teaching. DS has a very uneven IQ profile so I can take his strengths and weaknesses into account and probably come up with a better education than he'd get in public school.

 

Cons: No break from him. There could be more friction between us. I'd have to do so much driving to get his needs met (definitely speech, definitely social time, maybe some autism therapies, maybe music, maybe sports). I did tons of driving last year for some truly necessary therapies for him, and the thought of doing it again, probably lugging my younger kids along, makes me want to cry. I'd have to go out of my way to help him with friendships and such.

 

Option B. Public school.

 

Pros: school would handle most of his needs, like speech, OT, social time, maybe some autism therapies, so I wouldn't have to do much. He'd be doing crafts and games and other stuff he loves. I wouldn't worry too much about trying to get him into music, sports, or lego teams because he's already be doing so much at school. It would give him the structure he needs and loves. He'd be out of the house for many hours a day, so there would be zero friction between  us during that time. He's been thriving in preschool, and wants to go to public school next year.

 

Cons: school is a major stressor and it's hard for him to keep himself together for so long. He'll be extremely on edge by the time he gets home. Possibly lots of friction after school. I feel like I'll be getting the leftovers. This year he has a small class and two sympathetic teachers who understand his needs and how go guide him. There's no guarantee of how things will go next year. He has tics and quirky behavior and odd prosody that could make him a target for bullying. This year he's been taken under the wings of outgoing, popular kids, so he's protected from a lot of that. Again, who knows about next year. I'm sure he'll start getting homework. His working memory and processing speed are very low, and the psychologist who diagnosed him explained that it's going to be an extremely frustrating experience for him to sit in school next to kids who don't have these difficulties. At some point I'll probably have to strongly advocate for him and his needs. And while I obviously want the best for my kids and will put their needs first, it would also mean putting off my teaching dream again. Maybe I'll never homeschool. Homeschooling is popular in this area, so I'll be watching my friends and neighbors homeschool and wishing I could have the challenge and stimulation and joy of it too. And a minor con is that there are people in my life who will make fun of me for not actually going through with homeschooling when I've been wanting to for years. Whatever, jerks will be jerks, but there will still be a small sting.

 

Option C. There's a local hybrid school that takes a classical approach. The kids are in school two full days a week and do "satellite school" at home 3 days a week. We probably won't do this, but it is an option, so I'll just throw it out there.

 

Pros: out of the house two days a week. He could make friends there, and there would be structure, art, music, gym, etc. It could be a nice transition into full homeschooling while still meeting some of his needs for structure and social interaction.

 

Cons: This school places a huge emphasis on memorization at young ages, which is not going to go well. Based on the few times he's had to memorize stuff in preschool, he'll be by far the worst in the class. They require a uniform and getting him to wear it will be a battle. It's not an insurmountable problem, but shoehorning a kid with sensory problems into something they don't want to wear is not a hill I want to die on. And it's a fairly new school, and I don't want to be someone's guinea pig. They don't have the manpower to effectively deal with special needs students, so I'd still need to get him into speech outside of school hours. There would be no OT during school, and probably no accommodations for a kid who has trouble with memorization, since that's one of their values. I wouldn't be able to choose the curricula.

 

So. I don't know what to do. I'm open to opinions or just bouncing ideas around. I have to say that after writing everything out, public school is looking kind of nice, though not without drawbacks.

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Do we have the same DS?

DS6 has high functioning autism along with a high IQ. He has been in public school for K and 1st grade, mostly because I cannot give him the routine he needs and the therapies with my crazy work schedule. Overall, it's been good for him. He's blossomed socially and has had caring and understanding teachers in his special needs classrooms. That said, he isn't getting what he needs academically and I feel I can manage his mood swings better at home. Because of this we will be homeschooling him next year. DD4 will remain in public school for kindergarten(she is in full day pre-k) as she is excelling there both academically and socially.

 

The public school these last two years has been a good fit for us. I would have loved to homeschool, but DS6 needed more than I could give him at that time.

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I would not do Option C.

 

I think Options A and B can both be good depending on what you decide.

 

My 2nd grader with autism attends public school and it is a good fit for our family.

 

I think Option C sounds like a recipe disaster, but A and B are both solid options.

Edited by Lecka
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I can tell you what we've learned over the years having a daughter with Aspergers.

Having her in a brick and mortar school (public and charter), the cons outweighed the pros.

She had trouble engaging socially and was often picked on and/or made fun of. The LAST time she

was in public school, everything they were teaching her she'd already learned at home. We are now in her

senior-ish year of high school. I say 'ish' because it may extend to a year and a half or so for her to really master these

subjects. But I digress.

 

Being in a brick and mortar school IS stressful for the Apsergers kiddo. They ARE completely depleted when they come home.

Their brains are wired differently. They need more recovery time to deal with constant stimuli than neurotypicals do. 

 

His mood swings may be in response to various triggers/stimuli. Our kiddo NEEDS advanced notice when there is change to routine.

Abrupt changes in routine or environment WILL bring on a meltdown. Meltdowns and tantrums are different. Tantrums are a fit thrown because

a child doesn't get his or her way. Meltdowns are a shutdown due to processing overload: like if you give an older computer too many commands at once. It will either be REALLY slow or it will completely shut down. Aspies are ON all.the.time. If you had to exert enough energy to say, run continuously for 7 to 8 hours/day, wouldn't you be exhausted and need recovery too? 

 

To answer the original question, YES, I would homeschool this child. I do it every day! 

 

HTH!

 

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I don't know how much help I'll be. My ds was diagnosed with Aspergers at age 9 but we knew there was something going on at age 4 when he just started  changing. I didn't know about homeschooling so I put him in public school Kindergarten. It was awful. He was gone all day and would come home exhausted from having to hold it all in for so many hours. He'd melt down every afternoon when he got home from school. It took me about an hour to get him into a mood where he could function. He was fine through dinner but as it got closer to bedtime, he'd melt down again. He hated going to bed because it meant waking up and going to school. I was so relieved when I learned about homeschooling halfway through is school year. We brought him home and it was such a success we didn't even think about sending him back.

 

Yes, I had to make an effort for social opportunities. He had a few friends, most of whom we saw at weekly playdates. I put him in Tae Kwon Do around age 6. Actually our whole immediate family joined so we became regulars at the school and made friends that way too.

 

My ds was homeschooled for all his school career except for a 2 week try in 4th grade. That was a disaster. By the time he was a teenager, the only social opportunity he had was a teen Aspie meetup group that met for dinner out twice a month. He didn't click with anyone. I made sure he knew how to deal with people but I gave up trying to find him a close friend. Nothing we did worked and he's been perfectly content to just be with us. He did one year of college and did very well in a classroom setting even though he had been homeschooled for so long. Oh, he did take a couple of homeschool classes that were like being in school. They met only once a week but he learned how a classroom worked.

 

I wish I could help you decide. For us, homeschooling was the answer. He thrived at home. He had never been in any type of therapies though, so public school couldn't really offer anything that I couldn't provide at home.

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Since he wants to go and the public school can provide so many of the therapies, etc. that he needs, I would send him to the public school for next year and see how it goes.  With intense kiddos (I have one), sometimes you just need a break from them so you can put your energy into having managing them when they are home.  And you don't need everything to be a battle. as you said he cooperates "when he's in a good mood." If school doesn't work for him, then try homeschooling him.  

 

I would not do the 2-day per week school. Kids like this need structure and routine and switching back and forth between environments is difficult for them. Plus most schools of that type (speaking from experience) are not willing to make accommodations, be flexible for different types of learners, etc. 

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I agree with the others that C sounds like a poor fit. 

 

In a way, it sounds like what would be best might be something as close as possible to what he did this year, or some kind of half-day situation.  I might try to look for something that could work that way.

 

But I think both A or B could work.  I would try and find out more about what the situation in A would actually look like.

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Ds 19 in my sig was very like your ds at that age. We put him in ps and it was a great decision for us. The structure he needed was more than I could provide and he got speech and OT. He had wonderful teachers and I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

 

That said, I pulled him out after 5th grade (wish I'd done it after 4th) and I have no regrets about that either. Today he is off at college and doing great. He still has struggles related to his Autism, but he is super smart and enjoys the academic atmosphere. 

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if he needs what the public schools has to offer, don't be afraid to use them. If they turn negative, you can pull him. It doesn't even have to be a year, pull him the day you decide it is no longer the right place for him. On the flip side, if you decide to homeschool and that isn't working, you can enroll him any time you want. 

 

Don't over-stress on this. Make the best decision you can today and keep it open and flexible. You can change you mind. It isn't a lifetime sentence.

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My 7 (nearly 8) year old son has autism, ADD and anxiety disorder.  He sound very similar to your son, except that he did not thrive in preschool.  He attended for about 6 months when he was 4, and it was a very negative experience.  He was bullied by the other kids, he frequently had meltdowns over books being too scary or glue getting on his fingers, he struggled to hold it together for the 2.5 hours he was there and would then completely fall apart as soon as he was home.

 

I have homeschooled him for the last three years, and in general it has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.  Don't get me wrong, being around him all day, every day (along with his 5 and 3 year old brothers and 1 year old sister), takes a huge toll on me.  But, in term of his education, anxiety, social skills, executive function, personal growth, etc. I believe homeschooling has been a boon for him.

 

He is now half way through 2nd grade.  He is academically challenged (he is currently working on 5th grade math), but also supported in his areas of weakness (executive function, handwriting!!).  He interacts socially with groups of his peers (normally mixed age groups) about 4-5 days a week.  He has a friend!!  He spends 2 hours every afternoon playing quietly by himself and decompressing.  He has many opportunities to practice "real life" social interactions while I am around to coach him (negotiating with his siblings, respecting personal boundaries at his gym class, talking to a librarian, asking a friend over to play, etc).

 

He has no interest in going to school, and we have no plans to send him for the foreseeable future.

 

Wendy

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My son is able to take breaks at school and he misses some of the noisiest/most chaotic parts of the day.

 

Specifically he goes in the resource room for 10 minutes after recess (when there are lots of kids in the halls, waiting for the bathroom, and have to go from active play to quiet and standing still).

 

Then he goes in the resource room before school ends and stays for about 5-10 minutes when there is the most activity.

 

Now -- things like this might be options. If you tell school he is a wreck after school, sometimes they will allow breaks or a quiet place to eat lunch. Sometimes not.

 

And then some kids are more bothered than others by certain things.

 

My son is not just like scrapbookbuzz's and he doesn't have the Aspergers profile at all.

 

But I think sometimes there are supports available and sometimes not, and then sometimes things are different for different kids bc they have a different profile.

 

My son's profile in many ways is one that is more adaptable to public school.

 

He likes PE! It is one of his best times of day.

 

So I do think it can depend.

 

There are a lot of factors though and what is a good situation for one child could go poorly for another child.

 

It is hard to know.

 

But I have talked to parents not aware that some supports are available.

 

I think it can Ben worth bringing up a problem and maybe they will have some idea to help

With it at school.

 

It can be worth a shot.

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This is sort of a spin-off of some other threads about being done with homeschooling, and/or open to public schools. I'm looking for some outside perspective. There's no clear answer, but maybe writing everything out and getting feedback will help me think through it.

 

My 5 year old DS was recently diagnosed with Asperger's, or autism level 1. A year ago I was extremely overwhelmed (my kids were 4, 2, and colicky newborn, and I was struggling to recover from a c section). I've really wanted to homeschool for years, and was so looking forward to homeschooling kindergarten for him, but what with everything going on, it really made sense to put my two boys in preschool for this year. We didn't want to put DS5 in public school kindergarten. We felt like there was something quirky and unusual about him, and school would hurt his love of learning, and we thought it would make us less likely to homeschool in the future. DH especially felt this way, and didn't want me to give up on my dream (he doesn't necessarily feel the same way anymore as we try to evaluate what DS's needs are and where/how to best meet them). Now we know that the reason we felt that way is because DS has autism. So that's the background for why he's in private preschool for 5 year olds who qualify for kindergarten but aren't attending for whatever reason. It's 4 mornings a week and he's really thriving and making such great social progress. His teachers are so pleased with all the positive changes in him, and he wants to go to public school for first grade next year. I think he really appreciates the structure of school. I can only provide so much structure with a baby and toddler at home as well. However, school is also a stressor for him...more on that in a bit.

 

DS can be difficult behavior-wise. It's like he only has two moods, good and bad. There's a brief transition state between these moods and if I can recognize it sometimes I can head off the bad mood. Emotional regulation is a top priority for us right now. We're working hard to get him to recognize his emotional states and how to name them and regulate them in a healthy way. The problem with school is that he needs a lot of down-time afterward, because keeping everything together during school is stressful for him (there's a major up-tick in his tics and sensory behaviors when school is in session, which calm down during times like Christmas break), and by the time he gets home he's depleted. School isn't the only thing that stresses him...often on a non-school day he'll have a great morning and then a horrible afternoon, or vise-versa. But school heightens the effect. Also, this year he's not learning much academically...right now, for him personally, it's more of a social learning experience. But someday, if he goes to public school, he's going to have to navigate both social learning and academic learning. Also it will be a longer school day, which means more stress from keeping things together, which means a higher likelihood of bad behavior at home.

 

Things he needs: speech. In public school, OT (we did OT last year and after several months the therapist and I agreed I could handle it myself at home. However, in a school setting he would really benefit from it). I suspect some auditory issues, but he's too young for them to be diagnosed yet. In the meantime I want him to have some formal music lessons. I think understanding the logical structure of music and actually making music himself will help him understand it. Right now I think most music just sounds like noise to him. If he's homeschooled, I think he'll need some sort of sport (the psychologist who evaluated him specifically mentioned something like karate or tae kwon do). And his biggest need is going to be social interaction with other kids. Specifically, one-on-one, set up for success, type of interaction. Our neighbor-friends are moving away, so we're going to lose all the impromptu playdates we've had over the years (although honestly these playdates did not set him up for success - they can stress him and put him in a mood). But it's going to be more important than ever, next year, to get him into positive social situations. I'm thinking a lego team or something if we homeschool.

 

So. My options:

 

Option A. Homeschool. Might put the younger kids in preschool a couple mornings a week so I can have one-on-one time with DS and really focus.

 

Pros: I really want to homeschool. DS is a joy to teach and work with when he's in a good mood. I've been doing the taking care of young kids thing for so long, and I'd love to change gears and get into the nitty gritty of teaching. DS has a very uneven IQ profile so I can take his strengths and weaknesses into account and probably come up with a better education than he'd get in public school.

 

Cons: No break from him. There could be more friction between us. I'd have to do so much driving to get his needs met (definitely speech, definitely social time, maybe some autism therapies, maybe music, maybe sports). I did tons of driving last year for some truly necessary therapies for him, and the thought of doing it again, probably lugging my younger kids along, makes me want to cry. I'd have to go out of my way to help him with friendships and such.

 

Option B. Public school.

 

Pros: school would handle most of his needs, like speech, OT, social time, maybe some autism therapies, so I wouldn't have to do much. He'd be doing crafts and games and other stuff he loves. I wouldn't worry too much about trying to get him into music, sports, or lego teams because he's already be doing so much at school. It would give him the structure he needs and loves. He'd be out of the house for many hours a day, so there would be zero friction between us during that time. He's been thriving in preschool, and wants to go to public school next year.

 

Cons: school is a major stressor and it's hard for him to keep himself together for so long. He'll be extremely on edge by the time he gets home. Possibly lots of friction after school. I feel like I'll be getting the leftovers. This year he has a small class and two sympathetic teachers who understand his needs and how go guide him. There's no guarantee of how things will go next year. He has tics and quirky behavior and odd prosody that could make him a target for bullying. This year he's been taken under the wings of outgoing, popular kids, so he's protected from a lot of that. Again, who knows about next year. I'm sure he'll start getting homework. His working memory and processing speed are very low, and the psychologist who diagnosed him explained that it's going to be an extremely frustrating experience for him to sit in school next to kids who don't have these difficulties. At some point I'll probably have to strongly advocate for him and his needs. And while I obviously want the best for my kids and will put their needs first, it would also mean putting off my teaching dream again. Maybe I'll never homeschool. Homeschooling is popular in this area, so I'll be watching my friends and neighbors homeschool and wishing I could have the challenge and stimulation and joy of it too. And a minor con is that there are people in my life who will make fun of me for not actually going through with homeschooling when I've been wanting to for years. Whatever, jerks will be jerks, but there will still be a small sting.

 

Option C. There's a local hybrid school that takes a classical approach. The kids are in school two full days a week and do "satellite school" at home 3 days a week. We probably won't do this, but it is an option, so I'll just throw it out there.

 

Pros: out of the house two days a week. He could make friends there, and there would be structure, art, music, gym, etc. It could be a nice transition into full homeschooling while still meeting some of his needs for structure and social interaction.

 

Cons: This school places a huge emphasis on memorization at young ages, which is not going to go well. Based on the few times he's had to memorize stuff in preschool, he'll be by far the worst in the class. They require a uniform and getting him to wear it will be a battle. It's not an insurmountable problem, but shoehorning a kid with sensory problems into something they don't want to wear is not a hill I want to die on. And it's a fairly new school, and I don't want to be someone's guinea pig. They don't have the manpower to effectively deal with special needs students, so I'd still need to get him into speech outside of school hours. There would be no OT during school, and probably no accommodations for a kid who has trouble with memorization, since that's one of their values. I wouldn't be able to choose the curricula.

 

So. I don't know what to do. I'm open to opinions or just bouncing ideas around. I have to say that after writing everything out, public school is looking kind of nice, though not without drawbacks.

I am homeschooling that kid. His meltdowns are pretty much gone now. He is 15 now. I started homeschooling him after 2nd grade. My only regret is not starting sooner. His behavior is so much better now as is his mental health.

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My son is 7 now and was diagnosed at 4.  He has very similar issues to yours.  We pulled him from preschool at 4 1/2 and he's been home ever since.

 

At home:

 I have taken a "better late then early" approach with him.   I've never regretted delaying formal instruction until he's ready.  He has a much lower threshold for learning than his NT brother.  We do lots of breaks, and I have tons of sensory equipment for him at home.  (not expensive stuff- a trampoline that we got for $15, oral motor chews, things to fidget, heavy books etc.)  He has a list of tasks every day for school.  He really likes checking things off his list. I can't take a lot of rabbit trails or be as spontaneous as I might be with another kid, but a routine is important to him.  That said, kids can adjust a lot when they need to, even kids on the spectrum.  I would call our situation "routine chaos". 

On good days, we do sit down school and on bad days, we do one or two things and then let it go.  At five, I'd say he did about an hour of school tops.  At seven he can do about 3, which is plenty for grammar stage in my opinion.  

 

Outside of the home:

He is in a program for homeschoolers 1 day/week.  They have music, art, PE, history, science, lunch and recess.  This is a great thing for him, and he loves it but the teachers are particularly understanding of his situation and we have a lot of communication.  I can see how this may not work if the expectations were too high.  

 

He has speech and OT with a private therapist.  I'm not sure how long this will be an option due to insurance changes, but it's been very helpful.  

Whatever you decide, I would say that you-time is a must.  I have one evening a week that my husband knows I leave the house, got to Weight Watchers and then do some shopping or something.  My husband takes the kids to Boy Scouts.  I consider it an investment in everyone's health that I have time to myself.  But it took me a long time to get there.  

 

I'll admit, some days are just hard with lots of screaming and all we can do that day is just watch a movie and snuggle. However, my son is lovely and bright.  I have faith he will learn what he needs to learn even with setbacks like that.  It's not an easy thing at all, but over time I've worked out what we can and can't accomplish on a given day.  Honestly, that's the key for me:  let go of my own expectations and do what he can do right now, no more no less.  We take full advantage of good days and leave the rest.  It's hard for me, because I'm so excited about teaching and learning.  But he is his own person.  

 

Good Luck to you and remember you can always change your mind or adjust.  Either choice is a valid and good one.  What works for me or another poster may not work for you.  

 

ETA:  I wanted to add that I've gotten a lot of great insight from a group called Asperger Experts.  It was founded and is run by people with aspergers and they have lots of practical tips as well as online classes, support calls, videos, facebook parenting group etc for families.  They are very supportive in general.

 

Edited by Alexigail
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I have an officially diagnosed aspie with some ocd, odd, apd (for which he receives specific therapy with an audiologist),  anxiety (receives specific treatment).

 

what sort  of support would he have in a PS setting?

would he cooperate with music lessons?  (PS music =/= music lessons unless you have a VERY motivated child. even then . . . no.)

physical activity requiring bilateral coordination can be beneficial too (e.g. swimming, martial arts, yoga, etc.) - though getting cooperation can be problematic . . . .  (depending upon type, capd can affect that too.)

 

capd - nordic naturals ultimate/pro omega fish oil is helpful for the brain/neuro-based hearing issues (as opposed to organic with the ear itself.)  (I can't find the article that linked deficient development of the corpus callosum - one type of apd is linked to the cc - to lack of essential fatty acids starting in utero.  and that boys require 3X as many essential fatty acids as girls for the development of the cc.)

 

 

eta: how much of your time is required to get him to do anything?  will you have time and energy to care for your other children's needs and family responsibilities?

would there be a para available at the school to shepherd him through his lessons?

Edited by gardenmom5
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Another thing to throw out--what sort of speech therapy will he actually get? I remember when I was teaching in ps, and I had a group of three children who were all lumped together for speech. One was a severely traumatized child, one was severely mentally retarded (can't call him developmentally delayed as that implies he'd catch up. He's an adult and never did), and one just needed to repeat K, but by putting her back with an IEP, the ps got funding. Speech was UTTER WASTE of time for these children. No one could have made progress with the three of them together. So, before you count speech therapy as a plus, investigate and see what he'd actually get. Also investigate how soon these therapies would happen. I've seen far too many schools not get them all up and going until November. Your school may be more efficient. 

 

Formal music lessons? Ever sat in on 1st grade "music" lessons? Noise, nothing but. If you want formal music, you should investigate one-on-one piano or strings. If he's stressed by chaos, ps music lessons will likely be a nightmare. 

 

How much time will he actually have for those sports? Many ps have cut back PE to two days a week. And they often go from sport to sport. You'd probably find more consistency in one sport like TKD. You might look at one-on-one swim lessons. I think every child should know how to swim. If you do it during the day, it would be much less chaotic. 

 

Just some thoughts... 

 

:iagree:

 

When my son was in preschool (within the public school) he received speech therapy...sometimes.  The therapist was mediocre at best, the therapy was done in a group setting (and only for 25 minutes) in which DS did not get any one-on-one instruction and even though they were supposed to get him to therapy once a week, we were lucky if it happened more than once a month.

 

Edited to add: My son made a lot of progress in private speech therapy, partly because the therapist made sure I knew what he was working on, coached me in how to help him day to day and sent home games and homework packets for us to do between sessions.  DS graduated from private speech therapy at the age of 6.5, though sometimes you can still tell his usage, syntax and speech fluency are just a bit "off".

 

As for music lessons, my son would not have done well with them either in school or private at that age.  When he was 5 and 6, he needed a lot of structure, but very few requirements.  He loved playing around on the piano or a cheap guitar I bought at a yard sale, but if I tried to force him to take lessons or practice he resisted and melted down.  This was the same for most things: listen to read alouds about anything and everything, great. but try to get him to narrate back to me, disaster; play with math games and math manipulatives and draw math stories on the white board, great, but try to get him to write down answers to even a couple problems, meltdown.

 

Our life is and was incredibly structured, and all of my kids thrive on that, but a very important part of that structure has always been outside time, rest time, read aloud time, going for a walk time, work on chores together time, etc.  None of my kids, and especially not my ASD kiddo, can handle too much going and doing.

 

Wendy

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I must agree with Margaret in CO - my son was put into speech therapy with several other children.  It "counted" for his IEP requirements but he made no progress.  Same wtih ABA, which wasn't a good fit for him anyway.  Therapists in schools can only do so much.  The speech therapist he had in the school was great, but agreed that he'd benefit more from private therapy and said homeschool was a good option for him. 

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I agree with others and you yourself - option C doesn't sound like a good idea.

 

I did tons of driving last year for some truly necessary therapies for him, and the thought of doing it again, probably lugging my younger kids along, makes me want to cry.

 

He's been thriving in preschool, and wants to go to public school next year.

 

And a minor con is that there are people in my life who will make fun of me for not actually going through with homeschooling when I've been wanting to for years. Whatever, jerks will be jerks, but there will still be a small sting.

 

I don't know how far you'd have to drive, but even just getting the kids in the car, and then having to spend time with them while your oldest is in therapy or class or w/e is indeed stressful. I don't know what your climate is, and what things are near the therapies/classes, but entertaining little ones in a hallway or waiting room (and probably having to keep them quiet and well-behaved) is not on my list of fun ways to spend my time.

 

I would drop the thought that you have to do music and karate/tkd/similar. It's okay to not do those things, and it would save you from having to do more driving. You could always add those in a year or two or three later. You could also try to see if there's a music teacher willing to come to your house.

 

I'd wanted to homeschool since before my oldest was born. Yes, it did sting when I ended up putting him in PS at 3 years 3 days old (when he aged out of early intervention - he's got HFA with a major speech delay, though his speech is much better these days). But, he liked school. He was in mixed regular ed/special ed for the first two years, and then regular K, 1st, and 2nd grades, and homeschooled for 3rd and now 4th grade. The school did provide a lot of services - he had a full time 1-1 aide for the 2nd half of K (we moved in the middle of K - he had a part time 1-1 aide in the first half of K) through the end of 2nd grade, and the school was planning on continuing the 1-1 aide full time for 3rd grade as well. He had OT, PT, and speech therapy through school - for 3rd grade, the school wanted to give him iirc 1 hour of OT, 1 hour of PT, and 2 hours of speech per week. We went with a little less than they wanted to give us, just to see how it went, but we were at school 1.5 hours one day and 1 hour another day each week, and I'm grateful the school worked with me to set up a schedule like that, because they could've made us show up 5 separate times per week. He graduated from PT at the end of 3rd grade, but we did end up having to increase speech, so this year he has half an hour of OT (and he'll be graduating from that at the end of this year his therapist told me last week), and 2 hours of speech, so we're there 3 days a week. And, there's no end in sight for speech therapy - we're looking at 2-3 days/week of speech therapy for 5th grade as well, I think. This year, half an hour/week of speech is small group, the other 1.5 hours/week are individual.

 

Anyway, as I mentioned, he liked school, though he often was quite tired after school (and I flat out told his 1st grade teacher that he wouldn't be doing his math homework, because he already knew the math and was just too tired to deal with that after school... she wasn't happy, but w/e). He wasn't super happy about the idea of homeschooling 3rd grade, but, I figured that then was as good a time as ever. Plus, his classmates were starting to notice he was different - I overheard one of his classmates making some mean comments about him the last week of 2nd grade (not to his face, but... that did reinforce my decision to homeschool him for 3rd). And, he is fine with homeschooling now (was fine with it quite soon) - he just didn't know what to expect, having been in public school from 3 till just before he turned 8.

 

So, in a way it would've been nice if I could've homeschooled him from the beginning, but between his issues, his little brother being born less than 3 months after he started school (rough pregnancy), financial issues, etc, we chose not to, and we were lucky in having good schools. And when we decided that we were ready to homeschool him, we did, and that was fine too.

 

I think you basically should go to the public school, and talk to them. Some schools are great, doing evals and giving your services without you having to ask for them, etc. Other schools will fight you tooth and nail to give you minimal services and will make you and your kid feel very unwelcome there. Most are somewhere in between. You're going to want to know what you're dealing with. Once you know, that might help you decide.

 

Personally, I don't hate driving all that much (I've been a truck driver, and there are things like audiobooks), but I only have 2 kids (the youngest has never attended school), but I get a lot of my youngest's schooling done at the PS while my oldest has speech therapy, or at TKD, while the oldest is in class, etc. And sometimes the running around drives me a little crazy. So, if the thought of that makes you want to cry, then I'd be very hesitant to do that, unless your local school is bad (as in, bad for your kid - some 'good' schools can be bad about services and have bullying, and some 'bad' schools can be good about those things - the overall academic ranking of the school doesn't really matter).

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I must agree with Margaret in CO - my son was put into speech therapy with several other children.  It "counted" for his IEP requirements but he made no progress.

 

BTW, you write in an IEP what kind of speech therapy the kid will get. My oldest has in his IEP that he gets 1x 30 min/week of small group (1:5, meaning him plus up to 4 other kids), and 3x 30min/week of individual speech. They cannot legally put other kids in with his individual speech sessions. So, if you want something, make sure it's in the IEP, which is basically a legal contract.

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My son is VERY similar, and homeschooling works best for him. He can have the breaks he needs. He can have down time which he needs. We can keep lessons tailored to him. I am there for him at park days to intervene and model appropriate social skills. In fact, I can do that all day long, which made a HUGE difference in his aspergers. 

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I don't know how far you'd have to drive, but even just getting the kids in the car, and then having to spend time with them while your oldest is in therapy or class or w/e is indeed stressful. I don't know what your climate is, and what things are near the therapies/classes, but entertaining little ones in a hallway or waiting room (and probably having to keep them quiet and well-behaved) is not on my list of fun ways to spend my time.

 

I would drop the thought that you have to do music and karate/tkd/similar. It's okay to not do those things, and it would save you from having to do more driving. You could always add those in a year or two or three later. You could also try to see if there's a music teacher willing to come to your house.

 

:iagree:

 

I choose our therapies and extracurriculars very carefully, so they work for all of us.

 

I am "lucky" in that all of my kids have moderate/severe speech delays.  We do private speech therapy at a college where they can arrange to have all the kids (except whoever is the baby at the time) get therapy at the same time.  The baby and I can go downstairs and wait in the big, open common area where there is a small cafe, tables, space to walk, people to watch, etc.  Now that my oldest has graduated ST, he brings some independent work and sits at one of the tables and studies just like the college students.   :coolgleamA:

 

For a while, my oldest was only doing occasional extracurriculars in the evenings when my husband could take him.  Recently, a kids' gym opened up nearby and they are offering mixed-age homeschool gym classes for kids 3 and up.  All three of my boys can participate in the same class, and the gym offers a box of toddler toys in a semi-contained area where my youngest can play with other littles.  For the last couple years I had worried that my oldest wasn't getting enough time with his peers or practice participating in a group, but he was 7 when we started at the gym, and he has adapted fine - I think mostly he just wasn't ready until recently, and pushing him to participate before was just frustrating me and him (and honestly his coach and peers, because he really was slowing down the class).

 

Wendy

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As a special educator, who has worked a lot with kid with ASD around the preschool to elementary school transition, I find it very hard to predict which kids will do well, and which kids will struggle.  Some kids for whom I anticipated trouble moving from half to full day, found the structure of Kindergarten a blessing after play based preschool, and really engaged around the academics.  Other kids who had thrived in half day preschool, found the full day overwhelming.  I'm sure some of it was some characteristic in the kids that I couldn't put my finger on, but a lot of it was the quality of the teaching, and the dynamics of the classroom they joined.  I've seen special educators who were amazing at supporting kids in gen ed, and special educators who really struggled.  I've also seen school SLP's who had no problem managing a group with divergent needs, and helped kids make amazing progress, as well as school SLP's who were completely useless, and of course a lot in between.  

 

Based on what you say, I'd be tempted to try Kindergarten, with an open mind.  It sounds as though it has the potential to have many benefits and the only way you'll know if it will work is to try and see.  Kindergarten is a very natural entry point for kids, there's a lot of support, and a lot of attention to teaching the skills kids need to be successful.  Entering later is likely to be much harder.  I wouldn't consider skipping to first.  

 

However, I'd also keep a vigilant eye, and be prepared to change my decision pretty quickly if it didn't seem to be a good fit.  I wouldn't think of it as "we will do a year of K", I'd think of it as a six week trial, and reevaluate at least that often going forward.  

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Thanks for all your responses, you've all given me so much to think about! I "like" everything even if I didn't get around to pressing the button. I'll answer a couple questions now, maybe I'll get around to more tomorrow.

 

When he was diagnosed the psychologist said he'd "definitely qualify for an IEP." She recommended speech and OT. I'm not sure what else is offered, but I'm blessed with a lot of young Aspies in my circles, so I have a lot of people I can talk with. They make it sound like the schools have some good stuff to offer.

 

OTOH, I was talking with my friend today, who was a speech therapist for the county schools up until very recently (though she also has a lot of private practice experience), when she left to homeschool her kids (if you're on this forum, friend, :thumbup1: ). When I mention the Asperger's to people, even/especially people with kids with that dx, they'll say "awesome, this county has such great support and services!" But my friend was telling me that there's a bit of a dark underbelly to it. She said kids have to be a certain standard deviation below the norm to get services. Basically you first have to prove the kid is academically failing. Otherwise they don't care and the kids doesn't get services, and they're left to struggle on their own. She said this often snowballs and gets worse and worse each year, and then they're being labeled with things they wouldn't have had if they'd gotten the early support, and put in classes that don't meet their academic potential. She stressed that proper support in the early years in crucial. She can tell that he'll definitely get some sort of speech. I'm not so sure about the OT - he's somewhat of a minor case in that respect, so we'd have to see.

 

Basically I just need to call the school and deal with them one-on-one to see what kind of support he'll get. I know private speech in this area is better. They can treat a lot more issues and it's one-on-one, whereas school is in a group and only covers certain aspects of speech. However, the school is closer to our house. And the whole driving back and forth, keeping kids occupied in the waiting room, getting everyone in and out of the car thing...man, it gets old. I get the feeling he's going to need this for years.

 

As far as sports and music...I think I'll only do music if we can get someone to come to our home. We have a piano and he enjoys dinking around on it and I think he'd be happy to work with an instructor, especially someone who knows how to alter their manner and teaching style for this kind of kid, and who can teach him the logic of music. I know school music class at this age is a joke. I'm pretty sure he finds his preschool music class really overwhelming and noisy, and I don't expect any other group class to be different.

 

There's a tae kwon do place just around the corner from our neighborhood. DH really enjoyed taking karate classes with his dad and sister when he was a kid, so we'll consider doing classes as a family or half family while I get a break. Or maybe something different through the Y. Swimming at the Y last year went stupendously badly.

 

Here's a quick JAWM: I'm so stinkin' tired of being the bad guy. DS got into a mood this afternoon, screaming at me and knocking over chairs, over something minor. He clearly couldn't reason or calm down, so I sent him to his room. I gave him another chance or two after good long "quiet times." But he kept going back to the original issue and repeating the same behaviors. By the end of the day I was exhausted and just needing to rest, but DS and DH and the rest of the family were having fun playing games, some formal, and some silly made-up ones. Then they read poems together. Gah. I'm sick of getting his emotional leftovers. I'm sick of being the disciplinarian. I want to have some fun. I just don't know if PS would make it better or worse.

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About IEPs -- each school district is run differently, so it is good that you have someone to talk to. But each child is also different, so it's hard for anyone to say what help your child would qualify for until the IEP process is completed. Even the special ed department at the school may not be able to tell you. They may or may not be open to talking to you about what programs they offer, but they won't be able to tell you if he qualifies for them until he is evaluated by them.

 

You might see if you can get him evaluated by the school NOW before he enrolls. The schools are responsible for evaluating for learning disabilities in children once they turn age three. If the teachers at his preschool believe that he has some learning delays or shows social-emotional issues in the classroom, you have grounds for requesting evaluations by the public school.

 

Yes, it is possible for a child with autism to not qualify for an IEP. The law does not say that the child has to FAIL before getting an IEP; it says there must be some evidence of possible disability for evaluations to be warranted. There are different categories of disability for IEPs -- academic learning disabilities, social-emotional (which includes speech and social skills), behavioral, and autism (probably forgetting some). Having a medical diagnosis of autism does not automatically mean he would get an educational designation of autism, but having a diagnosis is part of the proof or evidence that you will present to show a need for evaluations.

 

Some schools do finagle their way into delaying evaluating students until they are really floundering. However, parents have the legal right to request evaluations, which many parents may not know. They may continually bring their questions to the teachers and be reassured or put off and think that since the teacher is not saying "this child needs to be evaluated" that they are at a dead end. So be aware that you as a parent can request that the public school can evaluate him. Educate yourself on your state law first (which has to follow federal law but may have additional regulations), and make your request in writing whenever you do it.

 

I'm suggesting starting the IEP evaluation process now, because the benchmark for qualifying for evaluations might be easier to meet as a preschooler instead of waiting and enrolling him in kindergarten first. And his preschool teachers now have had months to get to know him and his needs, whereas next fall the kindergarten teachers will not know him yet and will say, "let us work with him for awhile first."

 

By getting the evaluations now, you will better know what services the school may offer him. Which will better help you decide whether to enroll him.

 

 

 

 

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About speech. Does he have a speech delay, or are you wanting speech therapy for social needs? SLPs are the ones who do social skills therapy.

 

I know that the quality of services varies among schools, but I wanted to be sure to say that social skills therapy is really, really important. Social skills is the area that will eventually affect employability.

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Also, doing kindergarten next year is an option, I guess. He'll be waaay ahead of that academically, but academics are only a part of what he needs at this point in time.

 

Kindergarten is would be my last choice for a grade to skip for a kid with ASD.  The primary focus of the year is on learning how to "do school", self regulate, follow rules in a group, etc . . ., and skipping those experiences would be really hard. 

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About speech. Does he have a speech delay, or are you wanting speech therapy for social needs? SLPs are the ones who do social skills therapy.

 

I know that the quality of services varies among schools, but I wanted to be sure to say that social skills therapy is really, really important. Social skills is the area that will eventually affect employability.

 

I believe it's a phonological disorder. (maybe artic. I'd have to double-check) He's always had a lot of words, but it's difficult for people outside the family to understand, though it's improving with age and socialization.

 

His last SLP noticed that he had a need for social and pragmatic skills.

 

Everyone around here says private is way better.

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Kindergarten is would be my last choice for a grade to skip for a kid with ASD.  The primary focus of the year is on learning how to "do school", self regulate, follow rules in a group, etc . . ., and skipping those experiences would be really hard. 

 

The kid is in a preschool for 5yos though, so he has that school experience. Of course, it depends on how it is run, but it's not like he'd be going from home into 1st grade. Only OP would know how similar his current program is to public K or 1st.

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The kid is in a preschool for 5yos though, so he has that school experience. Of course, it depends on how it is run, but it's not like he'd be going from home into 1st grade. Only OP would know how similar his current program is to public K or 1st.

 

I'd say his preschool class looks a lot like my kindergarten days. Lots of structure, rule-following, learning how to "do" school, etc.

 

However, local PS Kindergarten is all day (7:30-2:20, almost 7 hours), whereas my kindergarten and DS's preschool are half day, or 3-4 hours depending on the day. He has a bagged lunch at school on the 4 hour days.

 

I don't really want to hold him back a year. He's bright in some areas and will be performing at a first or second grade level in the fall. But he has an early summer birthday so he'll be one of the younger kids in the class if we don't hold him back. Maybe he could use an extra year to mature socially...we'll have to think about it. I think a lot of kids in his preschool class are technically going to be held back a year too.

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I believe it's a phonological disorder. (maybe artic. I'd have to double-check) He's always had a lot of words, but it's difficult for people outside the family to understand, though it's improving with age and socialization.

 

His last SLP noticed that he had a need for social and pragmatic skills.

 

Everyone around here says private is way better.

One reason we went with homeschooling was to access higher qualify services than we could secure via public school. The school SLP and OT have a much more limited approach and significantly less time per kid. This varies from place to place. YMMV.

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My oldest daughter's birthday is in November.  She's always operated one to two grade levels ahead of her age based grade.  When we put her in school in fourth grade, we went with her age based grade.  I assumed she would be one of the oldest, since September 1 is the cut off date. 

 

She's actually on the younger end for her class.  Not much, and there definitely are kids much younger, but the way things are spread out, she is in the younger half of the grade, which shocked me. 

 

My younger daughter is an aspie and has a sky high IQ coupled with some pretty significant learning disabilities.  When we put her in school (at the same age we put her older sister in), we put her back a grade because she was already struggling academically with the learning disabilities.  However, the main reason we did so was because of the emotional immaturity.  She didn't have behavioral issues, but she's just young....very imaginative, very much in her own world, and we wanted her to get the benefit of the doubt of the younger grade.  Her birthday is end of April, and it worked out well.  She is the oldest in her class, but really only by about a month or so.  MOST summer birthday kids are held back around here. 

 

I would pretty much never recommend a summer birthday boy go "on time," no matter intelligence or how far ahead academically.  I would ESPECIALLY never recommend a summer birthday autistic child go on time.  The social and developmental stuff is just so important.  Public school kindergarten is so academic these days.  I just really think it's a bad idea to skip to first grade. 

 

I don't know whether or not you should homeschool next year.  I would visit the school and visit both the kindergarten and first grade classes.  I would start the IEP process and see what is offered.  That's what would make up my mind.  If it's a fantastic program, send him and try it and see how it goes!  If you think....I don't know about this, then homeschool.  You're not going to know unless you visit. 

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My older son had speech in school, and his speech teacher confidentially that I should get him private services bc he wasn't making progress with her.

 

My younger son has a wonderful speech teacher at school and bc she is specialized I could

not get someone as good privately. (I know what my options are and this reflects options in my town.).

 

My older son's school OT has been wonderful. He had a wonderful private OT who also worked in the schools part-time. Some specifics he couldn't do at school but could do privately.

 

My younger son ----- I just don't really like his OT. But she has taught him to tie his shoes and I am grateful. I don't have good private OT options for him locally bc the only ones who would be possible only work through a center that prefers kids to get all their services there, which makes sense but is not what we are looking for.

 

The OT I loved for my older son wouldn't be good for my younger son, and the speech clinic that was great for him would not be better than the speech therapist he has at school. She also sends home many packets to work on at home. Older son's speech therapist at school

never did.

 

It can vary a lot between kids even at the same school and getting the service.

 

My younger son gets 1:1 speech sessions but my older son never did.

 

You just have to see.

 

And I hear a lot of misinformation too, bc unless people are working closely with my younger son's level they don't know what kids are getting.

 

I have heard statements of "we don't have that" about things that my younger son is getting.

 

I think everybody doesn't know what is in every kid's IEP.

 

There are kids at my son's school, where he is doing well, who just aren't doing as well.

 

I agree it is hard to predict.

 

We also got a surprise that my son did better in 1st than K, and found out it is easier for him to sit at a desk than on the floor! I had thought it would be harder on him but it was easier instead.

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I would pretty much never recommend a summer birthday boy go "on time," no matter intelligence or how far ahead academically.  I would ESPECIALLY never recommend a summer birthday autistic child go on time.  The social and developmental stuff is just so important.  Public school kindergarten is so academic these days.  I just really think it's a bad idea to skip to first grade.

 

Thing is though, that if kids are bored academically, they might act out more behaviorally. Or just zone out and not pay attention. A couple of weeks after we moved in the middle of K, Celery's teacher was talking about him repeating K... and then closer to the end of the year, when I asked her about it, she was horrified at the thought and denied ever making that suggestion.

 

Realistically, autistic kids aren't just "a little immature". An extra year isn't going to make them the same socially. Even if you kept them back 2 years, they'd probably still have social deficiencies. And a bright kid then has the added challenge of having to use simpler vocab so their younger classmates can understand what they're saying.

 

But, I'm sure it all depends on the kid and the school. My HFA August birthday boy was not redshirted, and it wasn't an issue. He's different, yes. He'll probably always be different. Different isn't bad.

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Just going to jump to the end here and say my little bit, then I'll go back and read more. :)  My ds is 8, also diagnosed ASD1, and I can tell you that it's not a question that gets easier. I need to be nice here, but your reasoning on why you would homeschool him, for some of the points, is bizarre. (considering what your neighbors or peers are doing, that kind of thing) It AIN'T gonna be romantic, not in any way. He's going to be exactly the child he seems now, and he's going to blossom and be that MORESO. 

 

So anything oppositional or non-compliant will still be there. Anything exhausting will still be there. Any sensory issues, sleep issues, you name it, are ALL going to be there. They aren't going away. 

 

My ds is quite intense, very challenging. Does your ds have any SLDs as well? My ds has the three SLDs (math, reading, writing) in addition to his ADHD/ASD and apraxia. It makes for a mess, because things are so hard but still needing to be advanced at the same time. I just ordered him 4th grade science, but what he wanted was the 7th grade. But I took him to Disney and put an engraved tag with his phone number, because he can't say his phone number. Not any phone number. And we've been working and working and working on it!  Like when people say hang it up on option C, it's really not a joke. Give up on that one and don't even consider it.

 

My ds is astonishingly hard to work with. Actually he's dangerous to work with, truth be told. I could never work with him if I had other kids. I sent my dd away this semester to live with a friend, because I could not give her the attention she needed AND take care of my ds. He sucks all my time and energy. I have ABA workers come in 4 days a week now and a behaviorist.

 

I hope the quality of your ps services are good. Really, a lot rides on that. If you visit them and find them to be properly trained and acceptable and skilled in the areas he needs, you might as well enroll them. When you say advocate for him, what you really mean is fight the IEP process. I have for two years, and we'll probably go back at it again soon. Very stressful, not the most fun thing ever. Sigh.

 

I don't think your idea of sending your others away is unreasonable, but it doesn't seem very satisfying. Besides, they might also have ASD. Not being morbid, just saying. 

 

I think your structure concern is real. I go through that same conflict of what is more valuable, the structure or the academics or... And I was asking myself again today that same question WHY am I homeschooling him?  In reality, it's not enough to say you're homeschooling to keep him out of the ps. It's HARD and that just won't be enough reason. And you think you're jealous of your friends? Well think of how even more jealous you're going to be when you realize your ds is spitting nails WAY HARDER to work with than anything they EVER deal with. Think about that. 

 

It ain't romantic. It's wearying and astonishing. My ds wakes up ON and goes to bed ON. He's extremely self-determinant and non-compliant without compliance drills. If someone isn't working with him, he can either get into danger or regress into himself. That's why I have workers now so many days, because I try to make sure he doesn't have down time alone. When he's down like that, he goes back into his shell and we lose him. And it doesn't take long. Just a few hours and he's really, really hard to get back. There's a lot that normal homeschoolers can do that we DON'T do with autism kids. Masterful play? Nope. Cuz then he's alone, retreating. So I'm always, always thinking who is with him, is he getting interaction, is he staying connected. It makes THAT much of a difference.

 

I don't really have a horse to grind either way. I'm with Lecka, seeing pros and cons. Obviously I must still have enough pros in the homeschooling column, because we're still doing it. But it really will be much harder than you think. Imagine your worst case scenario and double or triple it, and you'll be accurate or at least somewhat prepared. It will be as hard as you think.

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Thanks for all your responses, you've all given me so much to think about! I "like" everything even if I didn't get around to pressing the button. I'll answer a couple questions now, maybe I'll get around to more tomorrow.

 

When he was diagnosed the psychologist said he'd "definitely qualify for an IEP." She recommended speech and OT. I'm not sure what else is offered, but I'm blessed with a lot of young Aspies in my circles, so I have a lot of people I can talk with. They make it sound like the schools have some good stuff to offer.

 

OTOH, I was talking with my friend today, who was a speech therapist for the county schools up until very recently (though she also has a lot of private practice experience), when she left to homeschool her kids (if you're on this forum, friend, :thumbup1: ). When I mention the Asperger's to people, even/especially people with kids with that dx, they'll say "awesome, this county has such great support and services!" But my friend was telling me that there's a bit of a dark underbelly to it. She said kids have to be a certain standard deviation below the norm to get services. Basically you first have to prove the kid is academically failing. Otherwise they don't care and the kids doesn't get services, and they're left to struggle on their own. She said this often snowballs and gets worse and worse each year, and then they're being labeled with things they wouldn't have had if they'd gotten the early support, and put in classes that don't meet their academic potential. She stressed that proper support in the early years in crucial. She can tell that he'll definitely get some sort of speech. I'm not so sure about the OT - he's somewhat of a minor case in that respect, so we'd have to see.

 

Basically I just need to call the school and deal with them one-on-one to see what kind of support he'll get. I know private speech in this area is better. They can treat a lot more issues and it's one-on-one, whereas school is in a group and only covers certain aspects of speech. However, the school is closer to our house. And the whole driving back and forth, keeping kids occupied in the waiting room, getting everyone in and out of the car thing...man, it gets old. I get the feeling he's going to need this for years.

 

As far as sports and music...I think I'll only do music if we can get someone to come to our home. We have a piano and he enjoys dinking around on it and I think he'd be happy to work with an instructor, especially someone who knows how to alter their manner and teaching style for this kind of kid, and who can teach him the logic of music. I know school music class at this age is a joke. I'm pretty sure he finds his preschool music class really overwhelming and noisy, and I don't expect any other group class to be different.

 

There's a tae kwon do place just around the corner from our neighborhood. DH really enjoyed taking karate classes with his dad and sister when he was a kid, so we'll consider doing classes as a family or half family while I get a break. Or maybe something different through the Y. Swimming at the Y last year went stupendously badly.

 

Here's a quick JAWM: I'm so stinkin' tired of being the bad guy. DS got into a mood this afternoon, screaming at me and knocking over chairs, over something minor. He clearly couldn't reason or calm down, so I sent him to his room. I gave him another chance or two after good long "quiet times." But he kept going back to the original issue and repeating the same behaviors. By the end of the day I was exhausted and just needing to rest, but DS and DH and the rest of the family were having fun playing games, some formal, and some silly made-up ones. Then they read poems together. Gah. I'm sick of getting his emotional leftovers. I'm sick of being the disciplinarian. I want to have some fun. I just don't know if PS would make it better or worse.

 

Working backwards through your list. 

 

-bad guy, good guy--What you're technically seeing there is that you make demands and they don't. So by reducing demands, they avoid the behaviors. However reality is you HAVE to make demands. School will make demands. So why is this child not getting ABA? That's why we brought in ABA. That's what you're saying you need. No matter where he is schooled, you need help with this, and that help is called ABA.

 

-swimming--I kept my ds in the preschool track at the Y for several years with their permission. Like from ages 5-7.5. Seriously. Tiny classes with the best teacher. My ds basically needed 4X whatever anyone else needed to get to the same place. Like I CRIED the whole summer watching everyone else succeed and him fail class after class. But after 2 years, he looked really good with all that attention! Now he's on swim team and having a ball. Also, he has to wear a wetsuit, even in the warm pools. He can't regulate his body and keep warm, so then we get behaviors. If your ds is cold, it's something to attend to. My ds wears a 3/2 mill wetsuit, one rated for like 60 degree ocean water. And even with that he's cold. Then he has a cap from the diving store, one out of the thick material. It was maybe $20. With both of those, he's survivable. It's worth it, because he LOVES going fast. Like speed is totally, totally huge to him. So I say don't give up on swimming. He may need 4-6X more instruction and more personal support, but he may make some progress. See if they have adaptive aquatics if regular isn't cutting it.

 

-sports--Well I'm HUGE on this. You're going to hit a lot of social with sports. I keep ds in team swimming and gymnastics. In the summer we put him through camps for tennis, soccer, etc. However he had had some ABA at that point. If you start ABA now, he might be ready for things by summer, dunno.

 

-IEP--Yes, your friend is correct that the ps will not put ASD as his disabling condition or offer services unless it affects his ability to access his education. They're perfectly willing to have undiagnosed ASD walking the halls, so long as the kids seem to be accessing their education. It's total crap, because by definition anyone diagnosed with ASD needs intervention, HELLO. But they don't care about that. So yes, if he slides by, he'll get nothing but maybe the speech. If he has been in preschool and not having problems and been in a K5 without incidences, odds are he'll slide right into 1st. You might see more, but on the other hand if he's been doing well maybe you won't, kwim? At that point, you're asking for your insurance to cover ABA, social thinking interventions, etc. Our local ps says flat out that they don't give IEPs to kids with ASD1, only ASD2 or 3. Chew on that. Your ds might benefit from services that he will not receive. Doesn't mean you can't do it privately.

 

-worn out--I hear you. Bring in help and have a plan. You'll get nothing more done tomorrow than you have another day this week. Nothing changes just because he turns 5 and you turn in your notification form. He's the same child, challenging, intense, non-compliant, disabled. Your day is going to be eaten up doing the most pressing things and hoping to do some things. I find with my ds that amazing things happen in spurts and that most of our day is pretty bizarre looking. Like we might play games, do compliance drills, play more games. One of our ABA workers was like hey we ought to be doing history, why never any history? Well then they started going through the comprehension questions in the SOTW activity guide and realized he could already answer all them. I had read him some stuff here or there. He collects things. So it's NOT normal homeschooling. 

 

I really like working with my ds. He's more fun intellectually than my dd (only ADHD), and I enjoy his energy. I'm not distracted by lots of littles. I don't know how that would work, and I think you have to search your soul. I can tell you I spend a lot of time thinking through how to maximize what my ABA tutors use with him. Like even bringing in help doesn't make it easy. I have corresponded with my behaviorist for quite a bit today and have more to go yet. I keep needing to learn and step up my game. She wants to make our behavior plan more complex. The questions and issues keep getting more complex, and the way we have to think through things has to stay ahead of him, to anticipate how he'll respond and not be simplistic. 

 

Because my ds has the SLDs, I think I'd ultimately regret putting him in school. I don't think they'd do as good a job on behavior as we're doing at home, not when you compare our *particular* ps district and what we're doing at home. And I KNOW they can't do the academics as well. But I agree the structure is an issue. He has a dedicated office, whiteboards with lists for every worker, blah blah. Like it's a real production bringing in enough energy to keep up with him, kwim? But we've made a lot of progress. Not perfect. We have a long way to go. 

 

So if no SLDs and a really really positive, good ps, maybe go that way. If not comfortable with your ps, think through what it would take to bring in enough private help, like whehter you'd have the resources. Nothing says YOU have to do the homeschooling. You can pay others to come into your home and do it. Then he can have an office and workers while you work with your other kids. That would be viable.

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Hmm, holding back. You could ask the psych. Like the others, I was told my ds is behind more like 2 years, meaning one year of retention would do nothing. Main thing is to get social thinking intervention, get Zones, get ALERT, get ABA, kwim? 

 

We kind of vary where my ds is placed. He goes age/grade for Sunday School. Awana we gave up on because of the memorization. For sports, he blended in for a long time with the preschool and never noticed. He was a total freak of nature when we moved him up with the kids his age. By that point he was really good, so he was this oddity, so young but doing a really high class with much bigger/older/more mature kids! Even the kids his age were more mature if they were in that class. He enjoyed staying with the younger kids.

 

For gymnastics and sports, he's usually in with a mix. If not, we lean toward the olders so they're able to keep up with him physically. He did a running (speed skills) class with older kids and was good. His behaviors were immature, but he fit in speed wise.

 

I think the VARIETY is good. We found that only being with youngers wasn't giving him peer models, but being only with olders was stressful. He also was really, really provoking to older kids when his social skills weren't good enough. So he'd cut in line and do really inappropriate things and drive older kids CRAZY. But on the other hand, we were seeing the behaviors and able to work on them, kwim? If you keep him with younger kids, the demands won't be as high, meaning things won't get worked on.

 

Remember, to me, I'm putting him in sports partly to work on social. So I WANT to see behaviors and what's going on.

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Thing is though, that if kids are bored academically, they might act out more behaviorally. Or just zone out and not pay attention. A couple of weeks after we moved in the middle of K, Celery's teacher was talking about him repeating K... and then closer to the end of the year, when I asked her about it, she was horrified at the thought and denied ever making that suggestion.

 

Realistically, autistic kids aren't just "a little immature". An extra year isn't going to make them the same socially. Even if you kept them back 2 years, they'd probably still have social deficiencies. And a bright kid then has the added challenge of having to use simpler vocab so their younger classmates can understand what they're saying.

 

But, I'm sure it all depends on the kid and the school. My HFA August birthday boy was not redshirted, and it wasn't an issue. He's different, yes. He'll probably always be different. Different isn't bad.

 

This is true.... 

 

BUT, I taught for a ton of years before I had kids.  I homeschooled and then put my kids in school.  I've seen this play out a lot of ways.  Even the little boy with the 150+ IQ and no spectrum or social issues or learning disabilities who had an August birthday, went to school on time, eventually they wound up pulling him and homeschooling and then putting him back in a grade behind because of the social maturity issues.  As they get older, those become more of a bigger deal.  I'm not saying there's never a case where putting them in as the youngest in the class is the right thing to do, and with the commonality of red shirting, that's what it will be.  If he goes to first grade next year, he will in all likelihood be the youngest child in the class.  I'm just saying, I think your odds are better when your child is on the older side. 

 

My Aspie child has the vocabulary of a grad student and has since she was at least seven.  Like, tested on the Peabody Vocabulary Test.  Being with kids a grade ahead wouldn't make that much difference in terms of the fact that she knows and uses words they don't know.  But she still does better with the slightly younger kids.  Is it enough?  No.  She's still different.  She's still the weird kid.  But it gives her a bit of breathing space, more in terms of the expectations of adults than anything, but also with there being LESS of a delay (and really it's more of a difference than a delay, in her case) between her and the other kids.  It is the difference between hiding under the desk and actually being a leader behaviorally and just kind of out of sync on the playground.  That's a pretty big difference. 

 

Especially when we're talking about not just where to slide in but whether to make kindergarten or first grade be the entry point.  Academics are really the least important thing with six year olds.  Kindergarten is the natural entry point.  I bet most of the kids from the preschool class are going into a kindergarten class next year.  Kindergarten will still work on social skills.  It will be long and hard and demanding, but there will also be a lot more tolerance for a kid whose having a hard time coping with it.  Kindergarten is focusing on school skills.  It just doesn't make sense to me to skip that one.  I'd skip first grade before I'd skip kindergarten. 

 

I think Elizabeth has an exceptional YMCA.  We didn't have a lot of success with our Y swim lessons.  The teachers just didn't know what they were doing enough.  Cat didn't require private lessons, but she did do a lot better with very small (no more than four kids) and a teacher who was VERY experienced.  We found that privately.  Just wanted to throw out there that just because your Y swim lessons didn't work out well doesn't mean swimming can't.  Our Y just didn't have the training and support for the instructors that my kid required. 

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I just read through the options again. I'd say:

 

No to option C

 

The homeschool option -- The cons list is right on. We had all of those issues. They are real and significant. And there will be more cons you haven't predicted. Having two little ones thrown into the mix is going to add many tricky things that you haven't mentioned.

 

The public school option -- The cons list looks larger as you list it out, but a lot of that is guessing about what might happen. When we sent our kids to school, some of the things we worried about turned out to be issues, and others just weren't a concern after all.

 

The afterschool meltdowns, yes. Expect that. But remember that you will have had a break from dealing with the behaviors while he is at school. Use that time, or at least some of it, to prepare yourself for the afternoon, in whatever way that works for you -- prayer, exercise, a hobby, preparing dinner in advance, whatever your list might be. You might consider sending the little ones to preschool,even if you enroll him, so that you can have some time to recharge and take care of yourself. This will depend on your personality type and how much down time you need, personally.

 

If you decide to homeschool, having the younger ones in preschool may be a good idea. But also consider how it affects the routine of your day, because you will need a lot of structure, and interruptions to drive to the preschool can disrupt that.

 

Things are going to be hard, regardless. Now that my kids are in school, I've found that it's been really helpful to have a team of people, instead of trying to do it all myself, as I did for so many years. Yes, we had some outside therapy, but the transportation logistics and figuring out what to do with my other children during those sessions meant that the therapy didn't make things easier for me to manage. It was important, but the times that he was in speech and OT and counseling was not any kind of break for me.

 

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I've graduated my Aspie from homeschool high school. He's doing just fine in college. Were there challenges? Sure. But in our case they weren't insurmountable.

 

We focused a lot on routine. Not on schedules , which are tied to the clock. I gave a lot of notice on transitions.

 

I got flack from others for jumping on micro signs of an impending meltdown but it really helped. If I could see signs of sensory or emotional overload then I would be proactive about doing calming routines. Once a meltdown starts then his brain shuts down and there is no way to reason him out of it. You can not discipline someone out of a meltdown. It's not willful. It's a physical reaction.

 

We worked a lot on scripts. Social scripts. Scripts on how to handle frustration. You wouldn't believe how many times every single day for over a year I would warn him "you might get frustrated. If you do, we say 'Oh well. Let me try again. '". And one year later he said "oh well. Let me try again. ". It wasn't all better from then on, of course, but we were making progress. We talked through calming techniques. I learned to back off and let him deal with it on his own as he got older. Now he can recognize when he's starting to get overloaded and calm himself down most of the time.

 

I'm trained as a special ed teacher. I know that if I were in even a smaller special ed classroom that I wouldn't have been able to focus on routines instead of schedules. I wouldn't have been able to intervene as quickly before meltdowns because my focus would have been divided by all the other students. I wouldn't have been able to work consistently on scripts for handling things.

 

There were rough patches but there were cozy times with read alouds and science experiments and laughing at movies. We have a strong relationship because of it.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Just going to jump to the end here and say my little bit, then I'll go back and read more. :)  My ds is 8, also diagnosed ASD1, and I can tell you that it's not a question that gets easier. I need to be nice here, but your reasoning on why you would homeschool him, for some of the points, is bizarre. (considering what your neighbors or peers are doing, that kind of thing) It AIN'T gonna be romantic, not in any way. He's going to be exactly the child he seems now, and he's going to blossom and be that MORESO. 

 

 

Oh, I am waaay out of the sweet sappy honeymoon period, don't worry about that. I'm the one down in the trenches raising him every day and bearing the brunt of it all. I fully expect homeschooling to significantly increase our friction as I take on and juggle two roles, mother and teacher. But after-school meltdowns and advocating for services may be worse.

 

My personal preference is to homeschool. My non-exhaustive list noted some, but not all, of my feelings about it, since I'm the one who will be dealing with the situation either way it goes. That is all. Thanks for being nice.

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My number one piece of advice is to structure a routine that incorporates all the kids as much as possible.  I have four kids, and the older two (7 and 5) both have mental health/behavioral issues.  I simply cannot count on any of the kids to reliably complete anything (school, clean up, self care, playing with siblings, etc) independently.  As soon as they are unsupervised I have to expect them to lose all focus and self-control, so the game plan is always to move through tasks as a group.

 

None of my kids are allowed out of their rooms (except to go to the bathroom) until 7am.  This is a huge struggle for my 7 year old who has autism, but it is very important to me to hold firm on that boundary.  He is allowed to turn on his lamp and read at 6am, but if given too much freedom he will be waking us up at 2 in the morning to discuss going to Mongolia some day to search for the remains of Genghis Khan.

 

By 7am, I have already been up for a couple hours and have done a couple chores and gotten breakfast on the table.  I go upstairs and shepherd everyone through getting dressed and tidying their beds.  During breakfast we write the day's schedule on the white board so everyone knows what to expect.  Then my oldest, who is a speed eater (it is hard for him to focus on eating before his medication kicks in) starts his piano practice and assigned reading nearby while the rest of us finish eating. My goal is for all the kids to be done eating, brushing teeth and doing their morning chores (mostly tidying the kitchen and starting a load of laundry) by 8:30.

 

Once we are all ready, and the kitchen is clean, then we start school.  In the past, though, we have all played together in the playroom for about an hour before school.  Both schedules have worked during different stages.

 

We do our "together school" first.  That is anything that can be remotely accomplished with the younger kids around.  We do handwriting and Spanish everyday and then either science, history or art depending on the day.

 

By then it is time to give everyone a snack (protein, protein, protein all day long), read a couple picture books and pop the younger kids upstairs for either a nap or a quiet, independent play time in their child-proofed rooms.  

 

I work with the older kids on their subjects that require more concentration.  Next year, for my 6 year old, that will be: phonics (transitioning into spelling when he is ready), writing and probably alternating between problem solving and typing.

 

School is done around 10:30 (except for math, which we do later), right about when the baby is waking up.  Between 10:30 and noon is when we often run errands, schedule appointments, go on outings, meet friends at the library, etc. 

 

Lunch at noon and then we go straight to math - the 3 year old works on a busy bag on the living room floor, the 5 year old does his math at the kitchen table and the 7 year old does his math at the dining room table.  The baby and I walk back and forth supervising and guiding them all.    

 

When math is done, we work together on our daily chore.  One day we change all the sheets, one day we dust and vacuum the main floor, one day we dust and vacuum the upstairs, one day we clean the bathrooms and change the towels, and the fifth day we go to homeschool gym right after an early lunch, so our chore is to spend 10 minutes when we get home tidying the van.

 

As soon as that is done, the kids go into their rooms for mandatory nap/rest time simply to save my sanity.

 

At 3pm I grab the two big boys and read aloud from a chapter book for half an hour.  At 3:30 I grab the two little kids and we all sit around and eat a snack and play a board game (an important social skills activity for my older two).  Around 4 o'clock, the boys are all released to go have screen time and the baby hangs with me in the kitchen finishing up dinner (which I mostly prepped during rest time).

 

DH comes home, we eat dinner, have some family time, bathe the kids, read a bunch of stories and then get them to bed early, because we have found their behavior deteriorates significantly if they are not getting 11-12 hours of sleep each night.

 

Lather, rinse, repeat, with very little variation day to day or week to week.

 

Wendy

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Quick side note, since some of you have brought it up - I know that homeschooling with the younger siblings underfoot is going to difficult in a lot of ways (even if they do morning preschool a few times a week, because DS struggles with transitions). I guess I just took for granted that it would be a barrel of monkeys and didn't even mention it on my lists!

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Everyone, what does a structured day look like for you at this age? At the very least I need to brainstorm how to survive the summer. My kids will be 6, 3, and 1 then.

Like a PP, we had a time when they could come out of their rooms in the morning.

 

Then it was "morning routine ". I had this on a chart using words and rebus pictures: breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, make bed. (I can't remember the order. And some things like "make bed" were very loosely defined. I might have even had "use the toilet" on there. It was necessary at one point. )

 

Then we had "chore time ". Even my toddlers helped "carry something for Mommy ". I think chores at that age were things like feeding the dogs and dumping the recycling into the big bin outside. We would put on music and would do it all together.

 

There was a period of time when we watched PBS for a half hour in the mornings just so I could take a quick shower and get dressed.

 

Then we had our school routine. I think we did math first. I know that I tried to alternate hands on learning with seat work. For years I was guaranteed a meltdown every time we did spelling or math - both subjects where there is only one right answer. I would have to take a deep breath before those subjects but we did them anyway.

 

We did read alouds while having lunch.

 

We had quiet time after lunch. (The 1year old would have had a morning nap as well. )

 

Then we had outside play time and errands time if I had the car.

 

While I made supper we had more PBS.

 

We took a family walk every night after dinner. Dh and I would get some alone time by sending the kids ahead of us but still within sight.

 

Then it was evening routine: brush teeth, jammies, prayers.

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Thanks the the ideas for structure. I grew up with huge chunks of free play time between meals. It was a great fit for me - I got to explore so many things and go down so many rabbit trails. Huge part of my development. I tend to parent the same way, but it's becoming more and more obvious that DS needs more guidance in this area.

 

That's not to say that we have no structure in our lives. An unstructured afternoon in particular has always been a recipe for disaster in this house.

 

What if your kid hyper-focuses on going down a rabbit trail? Do you gently transition to the next thing before they're ready? Or let them keep going and run the risk of all the problems that can arise from a break in routine?

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This is not something that we really do, to be honest, but if he might follow a visual schedule, it is possible that if he doesn't structure his time for free play, maybe you can put play items on a visual schedule to help provide the structure.

 

This can go into weak executive functioning making it harder to structure time and start and stop activities, and plan ahead.

 

So if you did want him to "play with toys" or "play outside" sometimes people make a picture schedule (or written for readers) that they talk about and plan out "first you can do this, then do this, then do this," for whatever number of items and length of time is possible. 

 

And then ideally that transitions into independent play. 

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0096QRKP2/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

 

This is the book I got from the library.  And I haven't really "done it" but I have used some ideas, and I think it is worth a check-out from the library at least! 

 

It is not really for "how to structure the whole day" but if you did want him to have 15 minutes (or less or more) where he did something more independent as part of the daily routine/schedule, it might give some ideas :) 

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I just saw the more recent post.

 

I think you get to make some parenting choices. 

 

You don't "have" to always stop a rabbit-trail, but neither do you always have to wait. 

 

You can pick and choose when he needs to stop, and when continuing is fine.

 

For me for my son's age (younger child) I have always had some things to schedule around based on my other kid, so I have never been able to follow his desired schedule.  So I have always had times of interrupting.  But I also have had times when there is no need to interrupt just for the sake of interrupting.

 

The resources I look at are not so much Aspergers but might still be helpful.

 

I have a favorite blog post about helping with transitions, and there is a LOT out there for transitions and autism.  B/c to some extent this translates in autism lingo into "transitions." 

 

I will look for the blog post. 

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http://marybarbera.com/2016/10/04/why-do-students-with-autism-have-such-a-difficult-time-with-transitions/

 

This is a blog post about helping with transitions. 

 

I have some favorites.  Offering choices is extremely helpful for my son.  Extremely, extremely. 

 

Then giving warnings is pretty effective and using a timer.  Something we do is give a choice between 4 minutes or 5 minutes.  Oh, we offered a choice there!  My son is just gleeful to pick 5 minutes, like he is getting one over on us.  Then if using the timer I definitely give a one-minute warning and maybe a 30-second etc. warning. 

 

If you want a schedule that includes free time then you can schedule in free time, and then for me at a certain point, I have something that I can't wiggle around and so I do my pre-transition stuff ahead of time and then we make the transition.

 

I am interested in what other people say, I always get good ideas :)

 

Edit:  Also I will be honest and say I use snacks.  My son is frequently much more willing to end something when he knows a snack is coming up.  It is a good transition.  If I know he is doing something that is harder to transition away from, I can do that prior to snack.  Then he will probably have a lot easier time transitioning to snack than he would transitioning to something else (or just stopping without thinking of what comes next). 

 

So I schedule that way.  I know favorite things and I know what things have natural end points (like snack when the food is finished) and what things don't have natural end points, and I do think about the order, b/c it is easier. 

Edited by Lecka
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