Friday, January 16, 2015

Homework. Math. Ugh.

Homework.  Who likes homework?  Yes?  Then you are the minority.  Lol.  My daughter complains everyday about it.  My son hears it and then stresses over it because she stresses over it.  He is autistic and works really hard on his academics when he is in school. When he gets home, that's a different story.

Back in 2013 I wrote about how he voluntarily, wanted to do his homework and wanted absolutely no help.  It was a fantastic experience because I heard him actually read for the first time.  "In His Own Time"  ((Bragging here but that very blog was also included in a book called This Extraordinary Life by Rachel S. Quatkemeyer along with many other bloggers.  Click on the link to purchase.))

Back to his homework.

Homework has been getting more difficult.  Some nights are better than others.  Last night when I opened his folder and pulled out his homework, my heart sank.  Math.  We're talking addition, subtraction, money and multiplication all on one worksheet.  He gets stressed over a sheet of just addition and now there were all these other problems. 

He is remarkable because he remembers when has homework.  I never remind him.  I let him choose when he wants to do it.  Either immediately after school, right before bed or in the morning.  He chose in the morning.  Ugh. 

What goes through my head is 'there goes his school day if he gets frustrated', right?  So, as patiently as I could, I waited for him to say, "Time to do my homework."

Oh boy, here we go.  Pencil ready.  He saw the worksheet and immediately became stressed.  Pulled on his hair.  His face became red.  The whining started.

Quickly, I grabbed a blank sheet of paper, covered up the worksheet and was careful to only show one line at a time.  This calmed him down somewhat.  When he was done with a line, I would move the blank sheet down.  He eventually got through the entire sheet and was so relieved when it was all was I.

He did it.  He got through it.  So proud of him. 

Addition, Subtraction, Money, Multiplication

Thursday, January 8, 2015

An Inclusion Perk

My son has been in an autistic support classroom all of his young life.  This is what he needs in order to learn.  One on one learning is key for his education. 
He also needs to be with other NT children so he can learn social behaviors from them.  (All the good ones hopefully.)  With inclusion comes so many challenges but so far he is doing well. When he is in his inclusion classes, which consist of all the specials, science, social studies, and homeroom, he is challenged with his speech and social skills.  He does his best to fit in and pay attention to his peers.  This is exhausting to him. 
Have you ever walked into a room with people you don't really know and have to try to break into conversation?  It is difficult for typical adults to do let alone a child.  Where do you start with small talk?  What do you have in common?  He has been working hard on circles of communication.  This is the back and forth we NTs call conversation.  This has been a difficult task for my boy.  He tries very hard and is getting better. 

Back to the classroom.  Fifth grade can be brutal.  Remember those days?  The social pressure.  The teasing.  The 'wonder what she's saying about me' times?  OK.  Maybe not for you but for me, I didn't really like school.  If it wasn't for my very best friend always being by my side I'd be a wreck!!  (Love you Janel.)  Anyway...... my son.  He is in the inclusion classroom 39% of his day.  All of the classwork is modified for him, love his school and teachers.  When the room is divided up into small groups, he also goes off into one of those groups and always has partners.  Last year he was included in a PowerPoint presentation lesson and worked well with his group.  PowerPoint!  I don't even know how to do that. 
He doesn't get invited to birthday parties.  He doesn't go to a friend's house after school.  If you ask him who his friend is he answers his sister or his uncle. 
Where am I going with this? 
I opened up his backpack this morning, the day after his birthday, and took out a notebook I never saw before.  In his inclusion classroom, each child wrote my son a note.  Most of the notes were about him being a good friend.  How the kids enjoy his company.  Think he's funny.  And more importantly, hoping he gets a really good gift.  Lol.  This was an inclusion perk I really appreciated.  I read through them and started to get teary eyed.  (Can't stand being mushy!!)  I've included some samples of what the kids wrote.  I love each one.  When he is feeling down, we are going to bring this notebook out and read them. 

By the way, he said he had an awesome birthday and came to me at 12:30am, crying to tell me he wishes his birthday didn't have to end.  Or in his words, "No more birthday.  I have to wait for next year.  Bye birthday."  Then he sobbed his way to sleep.