Friday, February 5, 2016

Homeschooling Autism



It's hard to write a post like this because each child with autism is different. What works for one, may not work for another. So with that disclaimer in mind, I'll share what works for us.

First and foremost, I do not use LARGE books. I will make copies, tear out pages, or something similar in order to give him a day's worth of work at one time. Otherwise, he feels overwhelmed as if he has to complete the entire book at one time.

I also let go of grade levels. I do subject levels instead. He may be on a 5th grade level in one subject, an 8th grade level in another, beyond high school in one, and still at a 2nd or 3rd grade in one. I make sure to look at the table of contents to see what will be covered. Sample pages are also great to look at to see if it is going to be challenging enough to cause progression, but not so difficult as to cause frustration.

Math:
Math is difficult for us lately. While his brand of autism leads to a greater understanding of math, it's does nothing to bolster organizational skills or memory. He has a very difficult time with carry overs and borrowing. To combat that, we use graph paper. You can buy packs of loose leaf graph paper, notebooks, or even print your own. Using colored pencils can also be beneficial, and many have great results with Legos, using them to give a tangible representation of place value!

Reading: 

My son LOVES to read. So really, this isn't a big issue with us. Some basics are troublesome, such as making inferences, or fact vs. opinion. We do a LOT of practice and reinforcement on areas that give him issues. Such as foreshadowing or making inferences. He will ask me a question on something that has nothing to do with reading, "why did so an so do that..." and I'll ask him why HE thinks....what led him to think that way, etc. Then I tie it all in with his reading. "This is similar to your reading activity today when the question asked why Alex thought the teacher was angry with him over his forgotten homework. etc...etc...etc..." I also allow him to read what he prefers. As much as I long for him to love reading fiction, he's just not that into it. He prefers non-fiction fact or informational books.

Language Arts:

Language Arts bore him. Simple as that. We work on necessary elements such as proper sentence formation, writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. I can't think of a single time in my adult life where I've needed to diagram a sentence. I don't expect him to need it either. We use a lot of different things for Language Arts. IEW Phonetic Zoo is GREAT. He loves it, it's fun, it's fast...I call win. Dynamic Literacy WordBuildOnline is amazing. It's timed to 15 mins per session, so he can see the count down. It's fun, engaging, and multi-sensory. I also use SuperTeacherWorksheets and SchoolhouseTeachers.com to print worksheets.

Science:

HANDS ON! Need I say more? Seriously, hands on is awesome. He loves science. He's always reading science texts, so I don't worry about it too much. He takes a class at the local university, we use Masterbooks Elementary Zoology, and we have an armoir full of science kits. Go with what they are into at the moment. Build on interests!

Social Studies:

He prefers hands on here, too. We LOVE Homeschool in the Woods and Masterbooks! Early on, I made us of various holidays. President's Day we studied presidents, Ground Hog's Day we looked into ground hogs and the like. Halloween, we looked into the history of the holiday, various cultural tradtions, etc. Christmas we studied Christmas traditions around the world and through time. Now we are using the Bible to go from Creation to present day. Again, we are using Masterbooks Elementary World History You Report.

The important thing is to remain fluid. What works one day may not work the next. Be willing to change and go with the flow as needed. A multi-sensory approach is the best in my opinion, and you may find your child does better with a mix of traditional paper and online styles. Don't get so caught up with one method over another, since one method may work in one subject, but not another. So long as you keep that in mind, you'll be ready to tackle homeschooling and autism!



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3 comments:

  1. Its wonderful that you have found some program and ideas that work for him. That makes all the difference in the world! Thanks for sharing what is working. - Lori

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  2. Thanks! It can certainly be trial and error!

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  3. Thanks! It can certainly be trial and error!

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