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vcoots

Curriculum suggestions for 6yo poss HFA

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I need help picking curriculum for my just-turned 6 yo son. I know this is a classical forum, but im definitely not¬†limiting¬†suggestions to classical if something better fits him. ūüė䬆I‚Äôve stressed over this boy for years, and I feel like I need to get a plan and put it in motion.¬†

Quick history: last year I had him evaluated by a psychologist and after spending literally five minutes with my boy he said, ‚Äúall the questionnaires you filled out point to¬†autism, the speech and language evaluations point to¬†autism, and the vb-mapp done¬†at the autism center points to autism. But this boy is too social to have autism.‚ÄĚ So, I needed to get a second opinion, but instead I‚Äôm just trying to get¬†him what he needs.¬†

I purchased the ablls and am also reading Teaching Children with Learning and Behavioral Problems. So I’m hoping to put an educational plan in place to teach all the skills he needs, but I also need a program or curriculum to guide me. He is good at math. He picked up addition facts on his own just by doing a rod and staff workbook. He seems to be beyond k math, but I don’t know if I should focus strictly on phonics/reading, or if I should also be working on math at his pace. 

My main need right now (i think)¬†is which reading¬†program to buy. He knows most of his letter sounds, but it isn‚Äôt super quick recall like it should be. He really has to think about most of them for a few¬†seconds. He is a visual learner, and probably needs hands-on/movement type of stuff. It‚Äôs¬†hard to get him to sit still for five minutes (unless he‚Äôs¬†playing Minecraft ūüôĄ).¬†

So, I guess my question is what reading and math programs will work for a possible HFA/adhd struggling learner? And I‚Äôd really love to throw in something fun like science, history, or bible. I want to feel like we‚Äôre ‚Äúdoing school‚ÄĚ instead of me just showing him a few flashcards and asking what sound the letter makes.¬†

 

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I'm not an expert on autism by any means - I'm sure others will chime in with their experiences.

If it were my child, I would continue doing math at his pace. Ronit Bird math books are a huge favorite around here, and I love them, too. I think RB's approach really helps connect the language and vocabulary and "real-ness" of math to the representation of math (written numbers/symbols). My elementary-aged students with language processing challenges have lots of trouble with the language parts of math - perhaps your son will, eventually, too. For any child, I think it's important to be comfortable using language to talk about what's going on when they work with math.

Reading... do you suspect he has a problem learning to read, or are you just looking for a good program for young kids? You could investigate his phonological awareness skills, and practice the skills he needs. This is a super foundation for decoding. http://www.readingrockets.org/article/development-phonological-skills

I have not used Rave-O before, but I have heard it recommended as an evidence-based intervention for children who need help connecting phonics, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. It says it's for grades 2 and up, but perhaps something to have on your radar in a year or two:  https://www.voyagersopris.com/docs/default-source/literacy/rave-o/natl_raveo_overview.pdf?sfvrsn=1034f5ee_2

 

 

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Definitely get a second opinion. My son has always been social and he has always had ASD. I think you are wise not to limit yourself to classical materials. Use what works for you. Also, it was around first grade that I started to realize exactly how much ds struggled to pay attention. He could sit for about ten minutes at the very most.  We started attention meds a year or so later and it helped quite a bit with both comprehension and retention. 

If he is doing well with Rod & Staff Math, why not keep using it, at whatever pace feels comfortable to you & him? My son with ASD thrived on the R&S approach (while floundering with other math curricula) and is currently completing Algebra I successfully this year, in ninth grade. I can confidently say he would not be where he is without the rock solid foundation he received from this curriculum. The structure and ongoing review was just what he needed and the program was very easy to teach from and adjust to his rate of learning.  We have loved, loved, loved R&S Grammar as well. Those two programs have been our spines for years now. 

My son could not read at all after a year of whatever they were doing in ps kindergarten. I yanked him and for reading we used the Calvert curriculum reading program in first grade. He was reading at near grade level in two months. Although the rest of the program was a bust, their approach to reading was so successful for him I will always be grateful. They had phonics practice every day, and that was key for him. The other big help was the series of Houghton Mifflin readers starting with the book, Here We Go! I think there are four or five books in the series. They contained fun stories with featured sight words. So we would do phonics every day, read the stories in the readers, and set up a "word wall" to practice the sight words featured in the readers. Both my sons loved the HM books so much that we still own them and they are currently 15 and 12! I can't recommend buying an entire Calvert level just for reading, (though you can pick up the HM books used if you wish) but would advise a mix similar to this one. If you don't mind Bible stories, the R&S reading program would probably work very, very well. It also has the virtue of being inexpensive. 

Also: at that age I would also have classified my son as a visual learner who needed a lot of movement. When I bought curriculum tailored to that, it was a mistake. He needed predictable, structured lessons that could be lengthened or shortened as needed, with lots of review, far more than manipulatives or great illustrations, which were distracting and unnecessary for comprehension.  My advice is to save the movement/sensory needs for play. Give him lots of fine & gross motor stuff to do and a trampoline, leave the visually distracting stuff until middle school or later. 

Aside: Sigh. We are neither conservative nor especially devout, so R&S upper level Reading, Social Studies, and Science aren't good fits for us, but their approach works so exceptionally well for my oldest (and pretty darn well for my younger ds too) that I start to wish we were every time I look over the Milestone Books website, lol.  I can't do it though. 

If I could go back and reteach content at the elementary level, I would have used Core Knowledge materials, but I discovered those resources too late in the game for us.

 

Edited by Mrs. Tharp
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15 hours ago, Mainer said:

I'm not an expert on autism by any means - I'm sure others will chime in with their experiences.

If it were my child, I would continue doing math at his pace. Ronit Bird math books are a huge favorite around here, and I love them, too. I think RB's approach really helps connect the language and vocabulary and "real-ness" of math to the representation of math (written numbers/symbols). My elementary-aged students with language processing challenges have lots of trouble with the language parts of math - perhaps your son will, eventually, too. For any child, I think it's important to be comfortable using language to talk about what's going on when they work with math.

Reading... do you suspect he has a problem learning to read, or are you just looking for a good program for young kids? You could investigate his phonological awareness skills, and practice the skills he needs. This is a super foundation for decoding. http://www.readingrockets.org/article/development-phonological-skills

We have spent over a year trying to learn the alphabet and letter sounds. Even Leap Frog videos don't help! Lol. He finally caN point to the letter that makes the whatever sound, but he only knows about 15 well enough to come up with the sound himself when looking at the letter. So it makes blending almost impossible; we definitely aren't ready for that. I will pursue phonologic awareness skills. 

I have not used Rave-O before, but I have heard it recommended as an evidence-based intervention for children who need help connecting phonics, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. It says it's for grades 2 and up, but perhaps something to have on your radar in a year or two:  https://www.voyagersopris.com/docs/default-source/literacy/rave-o/natl_raveo_overview.pdf?sfvrsn=1034f5ee_2

 

 

 

10 hours ago, Mrs. Tharp said:

Definitely get a second opinion. My son has always been social and he has always had ASD. I think you are wise not to limit yourself to classical materials. Use what works for you. Also, it was around first grade that I started to realize exactly how much ds struggled to pay attention. He could sit for about ten minutes at the very most.  We started attention meds a year or so later and it helped quite a bit with both comprehension and retention. 

If he is doing well with Rod & Staff Math, why not keep using it, at whatever pace feels comfortable to you & him? My son with ASD thrived on the R&S approach (while floundering with other math curricula) and is currently completing Algebra I successfully this year, in ninth grade. I can confidently say he would not be where he is without the rock solid foundation he received from this curriculum. The structure and ongoing review was just what he needed and the program was very easy to teach from and adjust to his rate of learning.  We have loved, loved, loved R&S Grammar as well. Those two programs have been our spines for years now. 

The main reason I don't continue with R&S? His sister is in first grade and she will absolutely shut down if she realizes he is doing the same level work as her. Is that a good enough reason to switch from a math program that is working? Lol. But I've actually been thinking of finding something different for her, so maybe he could stay where he is with math...

My son could not read at all after a year of whatever they were doing in ps kindergarten. I yanked him and for reading we used the Calvert curriculum reading program in first grade. He was reading at near grade level in two months. Although the rest of the program was a bust, their approach to reading was so successful for him I will always be grateful. They had phonics practice every day, and that was key for him. The other big help was the series of Houghton Mifflin readers starting with the book, Here We Go! I think there are four or five books in the series. They contained fun stories with featured sight words. So we would do phonics every day, read the stories in the readers, and set up a "word wall" to practice the sight words featured in the readers. Both my sons loved the HM books so much that we still own them and they are currently 15 and 12! I can't recommend buying an entire Calvert level just for reading, (though you can pick up the HM books used if you wish) but would advise a mix similar to this one. If you don't mind Bible stories, the R&S reading program would probably work very, very well. It also has the virtue of being inexpensive. 

Also: at that age I would also have classified my son as a visual learner who needed a lot of movement. When I bought curriculum tailored to that, it was a mistake. He needed predictable, structured lessons that could be lengthened or shortened as needed, with lots of review, far more than manipulatives or great illustrations, which were distracting and unnecessary for comprehension.  My advice is to save the movement/sensory needs for play. Give him lots of fine & gross motor stuff to do and a trampoline, leave the visually distracting stuff until middle school or later. 

Aside: Sigh. We are neither conservative nor especially devout, so R&S upper level Reading, Social Studies, and Science aren't good fits for us, but their approach works so exceptionally well for my oldest (and pretty darn well for my younger ds too) that I start to wish we were every time I look over the Milestone Books website, lol.  I can't do it though. 

I am conservative, and although I don't seek it out in our curriculum, it wouldn't be a downside. I will check out their other materials. I thought R&S only had English and math. Lol

If I could go back and reteach content at the elementary level, I would have used Core Knowledge materials, but I discovered those resources too late in the game for us.

I just checked out the core knowledge website and they have some good resources.

 

 

Edited by vcoots

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On January 26, 2019 at 10:41 AM, vcoots said:

the speech and language evaluations point to autism

You need to back up and look at these again. Between whatever these indicate and the ABLLS, those ARE your academics. Everything else is a distraction.

Does he script? What did the SLP find? If he has been learning language whole to parts, then the reason the phonological processing is not clicking is because his brain is not thinking in terms of "parts" of words. Did anyone do a test like the CTOPP or TILLS on him to assess his phonological processing? He may end up needing explicit, multi-sensory, OG-style instruction. However you have language COMPREHENSION and will merely make a hyperlexic reader if you push the phonological side and don't work on the language. My ds is diagnosed dyslexic, but that's what happened, that he became hyperlexic. Comprehension is a huge issue in autism.

Did the psych explore support level? I agree he's being obnoxious on the social thing. All that really means is you're doing a good job and giving a really high level of interaction and that it SHOWS that he's getting that high level of interaction. It's clearly autism and the sooner you get the paper trail the sooner you get funding. 

On January 26, 2019 at 10:41 AM, vcoots said:

I‚Äôm hoping to put an educational plan in place to teach all the skills he needÔĽŅs

Does he work that way now? He's going to be the same person in 3 months as he is now. Maybe a little more compliant or a little better at checkers or something, but the same person. You're not going to be able to foist a whole "school" paradigm on him if that's not where he's at. If he's at all oppositional or challenging, you're going to want to harness how he already works well with you and continue what already works well. With my ds that means LOTS OF GAMES. Lots of play. Lots of teaching that looks like play. Alternating demands and things that are more motivating. LOTS OF PLAY. 

Have you read the Play Project book yet? Your math, narrative language, beginning reading, all of it can be taught with play. Science kits are play. History will depend on language, which is why you go back to that SLP report. If his language isn't there, you're not going to be able to just use whatever. He might not be ready to comprehend it. What I've done for gravy subjects is go to the library and get picture books on a level he could completely understand. Then we'd read and notebook them. Doodling is AWESOME for this age/stage, so notebooking fits with that.

But mainly, don't try to "do school." Instead look at how he's already learning and how he's already working with you and what already works with him and do more of that to teach the skills you want to work on. Now if he loves school and thrives on that structure and bookwork, KNOCK YOURSELF OUT! But if he's own his own grid, that's ok too. What doesn't work so well is a battle to turn someone into something they're not. 

On January 26, 2019 at 10:41 AM, vcoots said:

I want to feel like we‚Äôre ‚Äúdoing school‚ÄĚ

I use whiteboards and we have a list/plan. I try to have 3 things for each thing, so 3 things for LA, 3 things for math, etc. I use a pile of read alouds for science, history, etc. I need to check what we were doing at 5, but I'm pretty sure we used the visual schedules from Christine Reeve. We also did her "structured work system" with bins. So we used the structure, but then what we put in the bins varied with his developmental level. For us, more interaction was really good, so working on independent work should only be like 5-10 minutes but having plans and doing stuff together for 3- hours a day, that's really great. And it doesn't have to be all academics! Doodling, puzzles, games, going outside, cooking together, anything. Make a list of like 7 things and have play breaks in between and work the plan! Then increase the plan as he's successful. 

The preschool activity cards from MFW are really good and will hit some skills that overlap with your ABLLS. 

The language is a BIG DEAL because language holds back everything. I would hone in there. 

I really like Ronit Bird for math, but whatever you do try to do it multiple ways so it generalizes. Like don't just do worksheets but also do it with candy and at the store and in the car and with another type of manipulative. That way the skill generalizes. I've gotten a LOT of great stuff from LakeShore Learning. Snoop out their website and see what calls to you. If there's a store near you, you can get their text coupons. A lot of their kits have been winners for my ds.

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Bible will be held back by narrative language deficits. See what happens, but if he's having trouble that might be why. Can he recite simple verses? The ability to repeat a sentence is actually directly connected to language level and a major clue of language difficulties needing intervention. So like for my ds, if we work on a Bible verse a week, he can, at the end of the work, repeat it when given in 2-3 chunks. Not recite but repeat. Age 10. He has a pretty significant language disability, in spite of being very verbal overall, which is why his support level is 2. HFA/low-functioning is meaningless for him. Someone could be ID and more severely affected and actually be a lower support level or more straightforward to teach. That's why you just have to roll with what you've got.

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First of all, you ask if you should work with him on math or focus just on reading, and I say, yes, work on math.

Secondly, if he and your daughter are working at the same level, but you want to use different curricula for each of them, I suggest taking a look at CLE for one of them. I would choose which if them would transition easiest to a different program, switch them to CLE, and continue with Rod and Staff for the other.

I agree with exploring math in multiple ways and not just getting through a curriculum and considering it done. Make sure that try understanding is there, and practice the concepts multiple ways.

You said that he has picked up math facts just by doing the Rod and Staff. Does that mean he has been doing all math independently so far? I would up the instruction and interaction, if so. Also, keep in mind that memory of math facts can sometimes come easily, so it can seem that the student is naturally mathy, but then trouble understanding math concepts can crop up later (this happened with DS). That may not be the case for your son, but it's something to watch for and is one of the reasons why I suggest working with him closely, even if he seems to be catching on quickly.

You can keep all lessons short -- perhaps alternate working with each child, while the other either has a break or does some work independently. I found that sometimes giving play breaks backfired, because it was hard to get back on track. If you find that is true, you can keep the child working but alternate tasks and subjects and add multisensory and movement into lessons, so that it is not all just sitting at a desk.

I agree that game are great, especially since you have two at the same level and can all play together.

I agree that he sounds like he would benefit from an OG approach to reading instruction. You might check out Barton reading (people on the boards -- not me -- have used it, so you can search for past threads about it or feel free to ask questions.)

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Also, one of the things to think about is that at this age, perhaps the one most important thing you can do to pave the way for future success while homeschooling is to work with him in such a way that he will be willing to have instruction from you and not oppose learning from you.

It's very hard to teach a child who is resistant to instruction. If you have that element, I would prioritize building relationship and routine and positive associations over moving forward in academics. Continue learning, of course, but now is the time to build that foundation of him trusting and accepting you as his teacher.

It likely won't work to try to impose a teacher-student structure. For example, expecting a lot of sit down work and saying, "You have to listen to the teacher, because that is the right way to behave," may backfire. Speaking from painful experience, here. If it is hard for him to sit and work at the table, for example, yes work on that, but for only short periods of time and make sure you do something FUN while sitting there, so that he has fun things to look forward to. Not that everything needs to be fun, but incorporate things that he likes into his schoolwork, and give him things to look forward to, like sticker rewards. Or snack time right after math is done.

Edited to add: I am not assuming you have these table work expectations; just sharing what did and did not work for us.

Edited by Storygirl
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4 hours ago, PeterPan said:

You need to back up and look at these again. Between whatever these indicate and the ABLLS, those ARE your academics. Everything else is a distraction.

Does he script? What did the SLP find? If he has been learning language whole to parts, then the reason the phonological processing is not clicking is because his brain is not thinking in terms of "parts" of words. Did anyone do a test like the CTOPP or TILLS on him to assess his phonological processing? He may end up needing explicit, multi-sensory, OG-style instruction. However you have language COMPREHENSION and will merely make a hyperlexic reader if you push the phonological side and don't work on the language. My ds is diagnosed dyslexic, but that's what happened, that he became hyperlexic. Comprehension is a huge issue in autism.

i don‚Äôt know what you¬†mean by ‚Äúscript‚ÄĚ? I had forgotten (until I read my old posts on here and looked through emails) that the slp did the celf and determined ‚Äúimpairments in receptive and expressive language‚ÄĚ. Plus he scored 2 deviations below normal (if I‚Äôm¬†saying that right) on the Goldman fristoe test of articulation. He probably does need explicit OG instruction for phonics...what would that be? AAR?

Did the psych explore support level? I agree he's being obnoxious on the social thing. All that really means is you're doing a good job and giving a really high level of interaction and that it SHOWS that he's getting that high level of interaction. It's clearly autism and the sooner you get the paper trail the sooner you get funding. 

The psych did nothing further except to recommend speech and language therapy and social skills class. 

Does he work that way now? He's going to be the same person in 3 months as he is now. Maybe a little more compliant or a little better at checkers or something, but the same person. You're not going to be able to foist a whole "school" paradigm on him if that's not where he's at. If he's at all oppositional or challenging, you're going to want to harness how he already works well with you and continue what already works well. With my ds that means LOTS OF GAMES. Lots of play. Lots of teaching that looks like play. Alternating demands and things that are more motivating. LOTS OF PLAY. 

Have you read the Play Project book yet? Your math, narrative language, beginning reading, all of it can be taught with play. Science kits are play. History will depend on language, which is why you go back to that SLP report. If his language isn't there, you're not going to be able to just use whatever. He might not be ready to comprehend it. What I've done for gravy subjects is go to the library and get picture books on a level he could completely understand. Then we'd read and notebook them. Doodling is AWESOME for this age/stage, so notebooking fits with that.

i haven’t heard of that book but I’ll check it out  he does well with things that resemble play.

But mainly, don't try to "do school." Instead look at how he's already learning and how he's already working with you and what already works with him and do more of that to teach the skills you want to work on. Now if he loves school and thrives on that structure and bookwork, KNOCK YOURSELF OUT! But if he's own his own grid, that's ok too. What doesn't work so well is a battle to turn someone into something they're not. 

I use whiteboards and we have a list/plan. I try to have 3 things for each thing, so 3 things for LA, 3 things for math, etc. I use a pile of read alouds for science, history, etc. I need to check what we were doing at 5, but I'm pretty sure we used the visual schedules from Christine Reeve. We also did her "structured work system" with bins. So we used the structure, but then what we put in the bins varied with his developmental level. For us, more interaction was really good, so working on independent work should only be like 5-10 minutes but having plans and doing stuff together for 3- hours a day, that's really great. And it doesn't have to be all academics! Doodling, puzzles, games, going outside, cooking together, anything. Make a list of like 7 things and have play breaks in between and work the plan! Then increase the plan as he's successful. 

The preschool activity cards from MFW are really good and will hit some skills that overlap with your ABLLS. 

The language is a BIG DEAL because language holds back everything. I would hone in there. 

I really like Ronit Bird for math, but whatever you do try to do it multiple ways so it generalizes. Like don't just do worksheets but also do it with candy and at the store and in the car and with another type of manipulative. That way the skill generalizes. I've gotten a LOT of great stuff from LakeShore Learning. Snoop out their website and see what calls to you. If there's a store near you, you can get their text coupons. A lot of their kits have been winners for my ds.

 

4 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Bible will be held back by narrative language deficits. See what happens, but if he's having trouble that might be why. Can he recite simple verses? The ability to repeat a sentence is actually directly connected to language level and a major clue of language difficulties needing intervention. So like for my ds, if we work on a Bible verse a week, he can, at the end of the work, repeat it when given in 2-3 chunks. Not recite but repeat. Age 10. He has a pretty significant language disability, in spite of being very verbal overall, which is why his support level is 2. HFA/low-functioning is meaningless for him. Someone could be ID and more severely affected and actually be a lower support level or more straightforward to teach. That's why you just have to roll with what you've got.

Sadly, he can not recite verses. I gave up months ago bc it just wasn’t happening. He can’t even recite the alphabet, or sing the alphabet song even though I’ve sang it to him literally every single day since he was a toddler. 

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2 hours ago, Storygirl said:

First of all, you ask if you should work with him on math or focus just on reading, and I say, yes, work on math.

Secondly, if he and your daughter are working at the same level, but you want to use different curricula for each of them, I suggest taking a look at CLE for one of them. I would choose which if them would transition easiest to a different program, switch them to CLE, and continue with Rod and Staff for the other.

i will look into cle math. My daughter would probably enjoy getting a brand new math book. ¬†ūüėĄ

I agree with exploring math in multiple ways and not just getting through a curriculum and considering it done. Make sure that try understanding is there, and practice the concepts multiple ways.

You said that he has picked up math facts just by doing the Rod and Staff. Does that mean he has been doing all math independently so far? I would up the instruction and interaction, if so. Also, keep in mind that memory of math facts can sometimes come easily, so it can seem that the student is naturally mathy, but then trouble understanding math concepts can crop up later (this happened with DS). That may not be the case for your son, but it's something to watch for and is one of the reasons why I suggest working with him closely, even if he seems to be catching on quickly.

You can keep all lessons short -- perhaps alternate working with each child, while the other either has a break or does some work independently. I found that sometimes giving play breaks backfired, because it was hard to get back on track. If you find that is true, you can keep the child working but alternate tasks and subjects and add multisensory and movement into lessons, so that it is not all just sitting at a desk.

I agree that game are great, especially since you have two at the same level and can all play together.

I agree that he sounds like he would benefit from an OG approach to reading instruction. You might check out Barton reading (people on the boards -- not me -- have used it, so you can search for past threads about it or feel free to ask questions.)

 

2 hours ago, Storygirl said:

Also, one of the things to think about is that at this age, perhaps the one most important thing you can do to pave the way for future success while homeschooling is to work with him in such a way that he will be willing to have instruction from you and not oppose learning from you.

It's very hard to teach a child who is resistant to instruction. If you have that element, I would prioritize building relationship and routine and positive associations over moving forward in academics. Continue learning, of course, but now is the time to build that foundation of him trusting and accepting you as his teacher.

It likely won't work to try to impose a teacher-student structure. For example, expecting a lot of sit down work and saying, "You have to listen to the teacher, because that is the right way to behave," may backfire. Speaking from painful experience, here. If it is hard for him to sit and work at the table, for example, yes work on that, but for only short periods of time and make sure you do something FUN while sitting there, so that he has fun things to look forward to. Not that everything needs to be fun, but incorporate things that he likes into his schoolwork, and give him things to look forward to, like sticker rewards. Or snack time right after math is done.

Edited to add: I am not assuming you have these table work expectations; just sharing what did and did not work for us.

after reading through a book on educating children with behavioral difficulties, I have started working on getting him to sit for longer periods and then rewarding him with something he enjoys. 

 

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1 hour ago, vcoots said:

i don‚Äôt know what you¬†mean by ‚Äúscript‚ÄĚ? I had forgotten (until I read my old posts on here and looked through emails) that the slp did the celf and determined ‚Äúimpairments in receptive and expressive language‚ÄĚ. Plus he scored 2 deviations below normal (if I‚Äôm¬†saying that right) on the Goldman fristoe test of articulation.

Scripting means repeated language, memorized language, vs. original language. So he might recite lines from movies to answer questions. My ds recited whole paragraphs from audiobooks because he was memorizing the audiobooks. So yes, your SLP is identifying significant, significant language issues there. I'm surprised he's intelligible given the amount of articulation problems there. He should be screened for motor planning problems of speech. 

1 hour ago, vcoots said:

Sadly, he can not recite verses. I gave up months ago bc it just wasn’t happening. He can’t even recite the alphabet, or sing the alphabet song even though I’ve sang it to him literally every single day since he was a toddler. 

So yes, he has a significant language disability. You can call it a delay, call it what you want, but it's significant. Honestly, this kid should be diagnosed and be getting ABA. His language issues are significant enough that you alone are NOT LIKELY to meet them. I mean sure, try, but WHY NOT have him diagnosed and get him ABA? Then a whole team could be working on it. He could have ABA hours and language goals and he could have 30-40 hours a week on it. With what you're describing, he'd probably go ASD2 and be listed for 30+ hours of ABA a week. If your insurance would cover it, that would be INVALUABLE to you. Doing it yourself/alone is NOT the way to go for this.

The ONLY reason I've done language stuff myself is because I have a background in linguistics and TESOL and can. Even then, I've tried to find SLPs to work with him. There aren't a lot of SLPs kicking butt on language. A lot of it gets done in these early years as ABA, which is why time is a wasting to get this diagnosed and get ABA started. Every minute you're trying to do it yourself is wasted time. You are ONE PERSON. If you get him ABA, you'll have 30-40 hours a week of people trying to help you do it. So the same stuff you're trying to do will get done, but MORE will get done because you'll have HELP. 

I'm a total do it yourselfer kinda person, but I'm just saying help is good. This is going to be a lot more involved than you imagine and you'll be very glad for good help. He will eat up the attention and the hours.

As far as behavior, it's very hard to engage if you aren't understanding the language. If he seems frustrated, that might be why. Imagine sitting through the wowowowawawa of the teacher on Charlie Brown, not understanding, but being told to sit there or else. His behavior can be telling you he's not understanding and hence wants to leave.

There's a lot of turf war between your ABA and SLP people. The SLPs (in general) don't think behaviorists and ABA teams should be doing language. Oh well, if the SLP could be funded at 30-40 hours a week we wouldn't be having this discussion. His need for language intervention is going to go one beyond the measly one hour a week the SLP will be allowed to provide. And remember, you've also got some kind of articulation delay or apraxia (motor planning of speech) problem going on. So no SLP can treat both of those huge areas in one hour a week, not really. That would eat up 2-3 hours a DAY and then still not be overkill. Seriously. So be realistic and fight for more hours, more funding, and ABA. Get sorted out whether the articulation is a motor planning problem.

I'm sorry it's hard. Btdt. 

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Our¬†insurance won't cover aba therapy even with the diagnosis. ūüė쬆we can barely afford the one hour a week for speech therapy. He def has¬†the oral¬†motor issues, and he was also diagnosed with specific motor function disorder (or something like that) by an OT. And it all sounds terrible on¬†¬†paper, but everyone in my family thinks he's a completely normal six year old. ūüôĄ

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My son is also six and is having his first real ASD evaluation in a few weeks.  He is also quite social, but my friend who has worked as a school psychologist (not a PhD though) agrees he is on the spectrum.  I don't know why there is so much misconception that autism means anti-social.  My son can be quite social in some settings, but his behavior is so social, that he ends up being anti-social...(like today, he met a new boy at church and refused to say "bye" as a typical child might and kept repeating the same thing over and over because he didn't want him to leave.) In any case, we have had a lot of success with CLE.  The structure of the light units and then having 4 lessons, a quiz, another 4 lessons, a quiz, and then another 5 lessons, and a test, have been amazing for my son.  Even though it sounds like it could be stressful, the quizzes are actually way shorter than a normal lesson, and so is the test.  So...my son looks forward to that progression and the completion of light units.  My son has abnormally high reading ability as one of his symptoms so I don't know what their early reading programs are like but we have really liked everything we have used so far.  We used Alphaphonics for reading and it worked well for us.  Also, the curriculum's reading and language arts program really reinforce social skills and study skills.  I have read a criticism of that because it might bore other children, but my son really likes it and I know that the reminders help him.

Also, for history, we are doing A Child's History of the World.  I put together a workbook to go with it (that I just finished) if you are interested in checking it out.  Its a workbook format, but could definitely be completed out loud/as narration: http://www.lulu.com/shop/serena-bingle/a-workbook-and-study-guide-to-a-childs-history-of-the-world-by-virgil-m-hillyer-with-answer-key/ebook/product-23952599.html.  

Good luck!  

 

Edited by nwahomeschoolmom
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2 hours ago, vcoots said:

Our insurance won't cover aba therapy even with the diagnosis.

Then can he be on the state medicaid or can you move to another state? I must be reading into it, but what you're describing is pretty dire. With zero ABA access and possibly apraxia (motor planning of speech), his outcome will be poor without access to services. You're not talking about ASD1 and no language delay and kids who mainstream and get by. You've got a dramatically harder situation. This might be the time to have the real talk with your dh about what you have to do to get access to services. 

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Just another couple of recommendations for curricula: Sharon Hensley's book Homeschooling Children With Special Needs might be helpful, and you may wish to check out the Simply Classical Curriculum at Memoria Press. The readiness assessments could be useful for you and Cheryl Swope, the author, formerly taught special education, has a child with ASD, and makes herself available for support on their forum. 

I'm afraid I'm not much help when it comes to developing language. I was lucky; ds spoke in echolalia at 3, but responded exceptionally quickly and well to 1-2 hours per week of speech therapy, and, as I have related, was ready to read at the same age as his NT peers. He never had the kind of pronounced narrative language difficulties PeterPan describes. We had a poor experience with ABA, and never pursued it further. The people I know who pursued it successfully for their kids have had exceptional financial resources and/or great insurance at their disposal. 

I second the idea of discussing your options with your dh with regards to accessing services. I live in a liberal state, but services for and access to special education is terrible. I've had friends move to Massachusetts and California to access better services, and if I could go back and do it over, we probably would have moved too. It's much easier to do that than it is to constantly fight for access to basic services elsewhere. Dh has also deliberately tried to select companies with decent benefits, with mixed success. 

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Just a note about CLE. I love their math, but I don't recommend their language arts, and I wouldn't recommend their reading program at this level for your situation.

I actually like the reading and LA programs in the late elementary years, but they are different for first and second grade and are not what you are looking for.

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I'm sorry about the insurance coverage, and that your psych dismissed autism despite acknowledging that he met all of the criteria. That would be so frustrating!! Honestly, I would pursue a second opinion, when you are financially able, because getting the diagnosis is more likely to open the doors to therapy and perhaps some financial help.

Or I would go back to the psych and argue with him. Seriously. We've had three of our kids evaluated by three different neuropsychs, and for one of them, we made our point about them not diagnosing something, and they agreed that what we said was valid and amended the report. So it's possible, though it's also possible your psych would dig in his heels.

I'm wondering when he said that your son is too social if that was a personal observation he made, or if he felt he did not meet the social impairment criteria laid out by the DSM. That is point you could press him on. If he meets the DSM criteria, the psych should diagnose him, and his personal thoughts should be set aside. Some of the process of diagnosis is subjective, yes, but if he meets the criteria, he meets the criteria.

Here are a few ideas for you to explore:

* As PeterPan mentioned, many states do have extra medical coverage for patients with certain conditions, and autism is often covered. Make sure you know what is covered in your state. You may or may not qualify for certain things without the ASD diagnosis. Knowing what you might qualify for with it may help you decide how the finances will work out; over the long run, that kind of help could make up for the cost of any reassessment you would need to do to get the diagnosis.

* Check with your county board of disabilities. This really varies by location, but they may be able to assign a case worker to help you figure out if he would qualify for any county services. And they should know what is available through the state or elsewhere and be able to connect you.

*The county may, in fact, be able to guide you toward a way to get better and/or less expensive evaluations for the autism.

* Consider all of the possibilities of the local schools. There are actually some public schools that do well with intervention for autism, and there are even public schools that will screen for it. And there are some that will not (or own public school does not, but they are actually working on being able to).

* And there are private schools for autism. You may think that you can't afford to think about private schools, but many offer financial aid, and some states actually offer disability scholarships that can offset tuition. Some private autism schools also offer therapy to students who do not attend there. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what schools are available in your area, if they are not widely advertised, but you can start researching.

* There are also often local support groups. Sometimes community based and sometimes linked to the public schools. Even without a diagnosis, you could go. Even without being enrolled in school, you should be welcome at the school-based ones, because they are meant to be a community resource. I think they can be a great way to learn more about what is available to help you, because you can connect with other parents who have been down the road already. (Speaking to myself here, as well, because we recently moved to our community, and I need to find more ways to get connected).

Even if your gut reaction is that you are committed to homeschooling and don't want to look into school options, it's good to know what is available in your area. And often these schools have a desire to help the wider community and are willing to talk to you about resources you may not know about that are not part of their school. The people who work there will often know what services are out in the community and how people who lack help from insurance end up financing things.

I am an extreme introvert and find it hard to reach out to connect and network like this, but I wish I did it more, and I encourage others to try. Gathering information and connecting with others who know things are great ways to find help you didn't even know existed.

 

 

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