Just “Doing Something”: A Tale of Autism

 

I was half a mile from home when my cell phone rang. “Hello?”

“Hi Mom. Are towels made of cotton?” My 13-year old and his questions. Always, questions.

“Yes usually, why?” I replied.

“I was just wondering.”

“Are you done with your math yet?”

Silence.

“So you’re not done with your math?”

“Not really. No.” As if I didn’t already know the answer to that. “Well I’ll be home in 2 minutes so get to work.”

“OK Bye.”

Just "Doing Something": A Tale of Autism

I clicked off my speaker phone and made my way home. I walked in to discover my son in the laundry room.

OH. Cotton towels. He was moving them from the washer to the dryer. Isn’t it funny how often we jump to conclusions? I really had thought my son was just stalling on his schoolwork, which is NOT unusual for him, but he was doing something.

That makes it okay, right?

But he’s always just doing something. 

Just checking the mail. Just feeding the dogs. Just getting a pen for me (because he heard me say something about not having one in the kitchen.) Just….

Always just SOMETHING. And it’s always so he can avoid something else.

Here’s the thing. He has Autism. He is attentive to a fault. The boy cannot simply turn off input. Any input. He knows what is happening in the house at all times. He hears all conversations (and acts on them, even if he was not asked to.) Due to this, he is probably the most distractable kid I’ve ever had, and we had six. 

He’s a joy and a challenge, all bundled up in a tall (taller than me!) boy with a gentle disposition and sweet brown eyes. The boy who is so innocent he honestly still believed in Santa and the Easter bunny until just the past few months. (I’m off the hook! Wahoo!)

How do you teach a kid what he needs to know to graduate high school when he can’t keep his rear in a chair or his head on any one subject for more than five minutes? How do we bring this young man through these last few years, assigning credits and accumulating work that proves his transcript, when he is limited to keyboarding ALL written work?

Welcome to my world. But I know it can be done.

I know it will be done, by God’s grace and provision. I have never been so nervous about taking on a high schooler as I am with this boy, but God’s plans for him will beat mine every time.

April is Autism Awareness Month. Do you love someone with Autism?

The Momma Knows

Dawn (22 Posts)

Dawn is still happily homeschooling after 16 years. She teaches her two sons, 13 & 11, enjoying every minute of "the second time around". She lives in Eastern Washington with her husband, the youngest 2 of their 6 kids, and an assortment of barking, squeaking, and clucking critters. She writes at her homeschool/parenting blog The Momma Knows and her new chapter, Dawn Marie Perkins. You can also find her on Twitter @DawnMPerkins, , and Pinterest.


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Top Ten Wednesday: Best Special Needs Blogs

HSBA-TOP-TEN-WEDNESDAYS

Each week, until April, we will be highlighting the Top Ten Bloggers from each category of The 2013 Homeschool Blog Awards. We understand the hard work that is involved in running a successful blog. Kudos to all who were nominated, all who made the top ten and to our winners!

This week we are highlighting the 2013 Best Special Needs Blogs!

Best Special Needs Blog

These are the moms that have the extra challenges – they go above and beyond to help their children succeed. These are the bloggers that you said you love to read when looking for ideas, support and encouragement.

Winner 2013 Best Special Needs Blog

Campfires and Cleats is our big winner this year! Chris blogs about her journey, homeschooling two energetic boys with her “handsome hubby of 16 years”. There is a lot of love, encouragement, and fun in those pages!

Top Ten 2013 Best Special Needs Blogs

In no particular order:

Winner-Best-Special-Needs-Homeschool

Top-Ten-Best-Special-Needs

Lisa Baldwin (59 Posts)

Disciple of Christ, Wife, Mother of Four, Homeschooler, Crafter, Designer (Graphics and CSS/HTML), Blogger. I share too much, laugh at the wrong things, and fall on my backside regularly. Thank goodness Jesus ignores all of that and loves me anyway.


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Hands-on Science that Makes Sense: Supercharged Science

 

We enjoy science in our homeschool, but I’m not always confident about the best way to teach it and make it really relevant and approachable to my kids.  If you’ve ever felt challenged teaching science, or if your kids really love science, you’ll want to read today’s post.   Plus, you’ll have access to 5 free really cool complete science lessons, including “self-teaching” how-to videos.  (If you can’t wait, CLICK HERE to get them now!)

Supercharged Science 5 free lessons for The Homeschool Post readers @hsbapost @destinyblogger

{This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Supercharged Science.}

When it comes to teaching science, so many parents ask as single question:
“WHAT DO MY KIDS REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SCIENCE?”

Maybe you can relate.

I mean the curriculum publishers list out the chapters in their program, the state says something different based on standards, and friends tell us yet another story.
This is actually a really common question. Finally, today, I’ve got an answer – but it’s a bit different than you might think.

You see, it’s not the right question to ask first. It’s like stopping at a gas station to ask for directions and simply saying “How do I get there?”

First, you need to know where you want to go. Then someone can give you directions.
Different people have different goals in having their kids learn science! I’ll tell you some of the most common ones and explain how to get there. Then you can decide which is right for you and your kids.

Here are the top reasons people want their kids to learn science:
1.     To gain a true appreciation for the wondrous world we live in
2.     To learn to think in a logical & methodical way
3.     To learn to appreciate and enjoy a topic that they can really use in their future (like for a career)
4.     To be prepared for college entry requirements
5.     To meet state science requirements

Which ones are your top goals for your kids?

The good news is that reaching a number of these goals at the same time is pretty do-able.

If you picked any of the first three as your top choice, then you probably want to focus on hands-on science with academic material to support what kids learn through doing experiments (the rest of the reasons might be important to you, but I’m talking about your FIRST choice here.)

Your kids’ time should be focused on things like building robots, launching rockets, creating laser-beam splitters and stuff like that first.  Then, after teaching each topic, by providing the academics to support it, and also giving your kids flexibility to continue learning extra in areas that they’re really excited about.

Of course this first approach usually prepares kids well for college too and can be tailored to meet state requirements.

If reasons 4 or 5 were your top choices, then you may want a more “traditional” textbook based approach. State standards and entry requirements are usually based on a public school education, so they test for what that kind of education usually provides. This is typically memorization rather than true understanding. Kids tend to have less fun with this approach, but you can pack more academic material into a shorter time period. Note that kids who learn this way are much less likely to become inspired or excited by science.

I recently learned all this from Aurora Lipper, who is a master science teacher at Supercharged Science (not to mention a real live rocket scientist who used to work for NASA, but is now a mom who devotes her time to sharing her love of science with kids). She has created an award winning science curriculum that teaches science this way.

Click here to try a free sample of it, or to get details on the complete curriculum.

It turns out that when kids do hand-on science, they get much more excited to learn it and therefore teaching it is much easier (not a big surprise, right).
By doing this, kids gain a true appreciation for the world around them, AND they learn the academics.  They also remember the academic material much longer than kids who just learned from a book (and know it on a level they can really use).
If you want to see this with your own kids, today I’ve got a collection of science lessons for you that are actually “self-teaching”.  They feature step-by-step teaching videos that your kids can go through on their own, plus a supporting workbook.

And they’re entirely FREE for The Homeschool Post readers!

Click here to download it now.

The idea is that if kids learn about hydraulics by building a working hydraulic robot.  Then, they think it’s so cool, they really want to learn the academic side of things, because then they can build even more cool stuff.
The point is, it makes them WANT to learn.

I can’t imagine too many kids reading a chapter in a textbook where they had to do a bunch of equations on hydraulic pressure and then say “Wow, that was so much fun, can I do some more equations?!”

I believe that kids really need to try things in the real world in order to genuinely understand and appreciate it!

Remember when you first learned to drive. You may have known what the steering wheel, gas pedal and brake did on an intellectual level. But, going out in traffic armed with just this knowledge would have been a pretty dangerous thing. You needed hands-on experience to really know how to drive.

The same thing is true with science. The books might have all the facts, but to really know science, you need to do LOTS of hands-on experiments and projects.

Here’s the BOTTOM LINE:
If you want your kids to have a true appreciation for the world around them AND be prepared for college and life, get a science curriculum that focuses on hands-on science activities first, and then introduces the academics to support them (not the other way around).

Regardless of what science curriculum you choose, PLEASE ask questions before you invest in any science curriculum or program you’re considering.  I know you want to do the best you possibly can for your kids.

To get the free “self-teaching” science lessons and the risk-free science curriculum trial CLICK HERE.

 

Sara (16 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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