Special Needs - Placement & Using MFWK (author response)

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum
Mom of two boys
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:36 pm

Re: Questions before I order my K Curriculum

Unread post by Mom of two boys » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:19 pm

Poohbee wrote:Hello! Welcome to MFW and to homeschooling!
Thank you for your encouragement! I will take your advice and wait on the math curriculum until after I have a chance to go through MFW, which is set to deliver on Friday! :-) I really like your idea of using stickers instead of drawing. I was starting to think about what we should do in those instances, and I think that could work out really well. I'll probably pick up some bingo dotter thingy's too. I know that he uses them at school a lot.

Also, I think it's a really great idea to set aside a day for therapy. I'm still not sure how I want to go about doing that next year. Our only option that is completely funded is to bring him to the local elementary school, so a lot of it's going to depend on scheduling on their end. I can't see driving him there sporadically throughout the day/week, but I'm kind of expecting that to be what they offer us. If that is the case, I'll probably pull him out of speech therapy and put him in a private social skills class that meets on Saturday mornings. His expressive language is nearly age appropriate at this point, so I think that would suffice. I was planning on dropping PT as well, until last week when he fell on his teeth - so now I'm not feeling as good about that idea. He'll keep OT of course, but I might try to switch him over to a private OT that works with my 18 month old (who is currently in therapy 5x per week) because she is incredible and very dedicated. I'm going to have to be very organized about scheduling their therapies, to make sure they don't take over all of our time! Thankfully, my younger sons therapists either work with him at the YMCA or they come to the house, so that's fairly manageable for me.

I like your idea of taking trampoline breaks. I have a hard time getting my boy to actually USE his trampoline (super distracted), but maybe I can offer him some kind of incentive to get him on the thing. We just mounted some ihooks in our play room for my 18 month old's swing, so hopefully I can get some kind of platform swing or something in there too before we start. That would be awesome.
MelissaB wrote:Hi, Mom of two boys. We have two girls. :)
Thank you! I will take your advice and wait until I get MFW in my hands before making any decisions about math. I might even *try* it first ;) But this is strictly due to everyone's confidence in the MFW math lol. It's hard to argue when I've never taught a math lesson in my life :-)

Thanks again :)

MelissaB
Posts: 368
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 10:01 pm

Re: Questions before I order my K Curriculum

Unread post by MelissaB » Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:27 pm

Jen - that is one of the most thoughtful, informative and encouraging posts i think i've ever read.

Our daughter had the same experiences with handwriting. We also used Handwriting Without Tears and found that, ultimately, handwriting comes when the child's ready - no matter how many tools we purchased.

Homeschooling our children is such a blessing. Thank you for your reminder to trust the Lord, worry less, and enjoy the journey. It goes by so fast!

You're going to do great, Mom of 2 Boys! :-)

Blessings to you all! ~
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4

Poohbee
Posts: 394
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: North Dakota

Re: Questions before I order my K Curriculum

Unread post by Poohbee » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:11 am

Melissa--Thanks for your kind words. :-)

Mom of Two Boys--I absolutely understand not wanting therapies to consume your life! When my son was first diagnosed, we were doing 2 ST, 2 OT, PT, and Early Intervention each week. They came into our home 2 days, and we went out to therapies 2 days. So, even though we were home 2 days of those days, 4 days a week, we had interruptions to our day with therapies. We live in a small town, and the therapies are a 1/2 hour drive away, so that is an hour in the car plus therapy time. I tell you, it was crazy! I don't know how, but somehow I was able to accomplish school with my two girls in the midst of the therapies. Yes, when homeschooling, you can be flexible for therapies, which is a blessing, but you have to work it out so that they don't completely take over your life. You have to work with the people doing the therapies on scheduling, but they have to work with you too! :-)

For us, it has helped that my son doesn't need quite as many therapies anymore, but we still have one day devoted to therapy, and a second day when I take him to our local elementary school for speech therapy. On Wednesdays, when I take him to the elementary school, I have been so blessed by the administration and teachers in our school! They have been so good to work with us and to try to do what is best for my son and for our family. I know not all schools are like that, but ours has been wonderful to work with! For outside therapies, I set Tuesday aside as therapy day. I don't do school with my son that day, and for my daughters, that ends up being our light school day.

We have to get creative with our schooling, too. We have therapy in the morning at from 10:30-12. We listen to audiobooks on the 1/2 hour drive there and 1/2 hour home again, so that's 1 hr. of car school. I purchased Story of the World and some of the missionary biographies on audio so we could listen in the car, and we borrow books from the library to listen to in the car for read-aloud time. My daughters do a little work before we leave, and I plan work that is easy for them to take and accomplish in the therapy office while we sit there for 1 1/2 hours. Knowing that we have therapy on Tuesday mornings and we are "in town" that day, I also use Tues. afternoons for any appts. too...dentist, doctor, orthodontist, etc. That way we aren't having to interrupt our day for appts. on other days. We use Tues. afternoons as our library day and sometimes field trip day, as well.

When scheduling, I just decided that I needed at least 3 days at home with no interruptions so that we could accomplish school, do field trips, etc, and I remained firm in keeping those days free from therapies and appts. The other two days we could work around therapies and appts. It does take some creative scheduling, but it can be done.

I can tell you are already trying to think of ways to make it all work for your family. That's great! I'll be praying that God will help you work it all out! Just stand firm when scheduling so that you can guard a few days for your family. :-)
Jen
happily married to Vince (19 yrs)
blessed by MFW since 2006
have used every year K-1850MOD
2018-2019: Adventures with 9yo boy

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Two weeks in, need advice

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:35 pm

Mom of two boys wrote:
Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:30 pm
Hi there, we're two weeks into homeschooling for the first time, and I'm kind of having a difficult time figuring out what works for our family. I'm not expecting this to happen overnight, but I am looking to at least make some basic improvements to reduce stress as soon as possible.

I have an almost 5 year old and an almost 2 year old. My husband and I decided to homeschool year round because our 5 year old has autism and it also looks like our toddler is heading towards an autism diagnosis. Both of our children struggle with routine changes, so it seems like the best option for them. My son spent the last 3 years in special needs preschools. He "graduated" from preschool on June 24th, and we started homeschooling the following Monday in order to start establishing a new routing as soon as possible. I still feel this was the best thing to do, but I'm running into a couple of problems right off the bat.

(...remaining message content quoted below...}

Anyway, I'm getting tired...very tired, very quickly! Does anyone have any ideas? Thank you!!
Hello and <<hugs>> for being in a hard place right now. There is a lot to think about as you get started with homeschooling (as you well know). I just have a couple of thoughts/to start out.
Mom of two boys wrote:First of all, my son is already reading, so I'm having to skip an awful lot of work. When I say that he's already reading, I mean that he's hyperlexic and learned (taught himself) the phonics materials in the MFW K package when we was two years old. I might be able to use some of it as spelling words as we get further along, but to be honest, I think he's already figured out how to spell on this level.
I am wondering about this. There is a big difference between a child who has taught himself to read and a child who has taught himself phonics. My youngest knew how to read before kindergarten and so his teacher just handed him books to read during lesson time. When I brought him home in 3rd grade, I found that he knew nothing of phonics, didn't even know the alphabet well enough to alphabetize. He was simply a great memorizer and had memorized hundreds of words as whole units. Is it possible your son still needs some of the kindergarten phonics and alphabet work, even though he reads amazingly well?

One way to figure this out is just to present the basics of the lesson and ask him what he knows about the different sounds (not letter names), and where the letter is in the alphabet, etc. I created a game for my son with index cards for each letter and he had to jump to a letter I called out - so I could see whether he really knew which "direction" to go in the alphabet :) If your son knows something, then you can move on, but presenting something he knows shouldn't be distressing to him if he feels successful?
Mom of two boys wrote: Also, during the creation unit (which we condensed to 5 days due to lack of work since a lot of it is pre-reading skills), it became very clear to me that my son really hates doing art projects. He did NOT enjoy coloring the numbers or making the creation book. It got to the point where I had to give him stickers to use (instead of drawing) just to get him through it.
There is nothing wrong with stickers! Did he comprehend the creation story and retell it in his own (brief) words? To me, that is the value of making a creation book - both owning the Bible beginnings for himself (Bible is the most valuable part of K, in my mind), and learning to organize his listening and speaking skills to the level that he can comprehend and retell through some kind of illustration or possibly words (excellent composition skills).

I'll stop there for now. Just wanting to be there for you and help you think this through.
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Poohbee
Posts: 394
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: North Dakota

Re: Two weeks in, need advice

Unread post by Poohbee » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:00 am

I can see why you are tired. You have a lot on your plate right now and a lot going on in your family. I don't know if I'll be much help with all of it, but I thought I'd comment on a few things.

My 7yo son, too, has autism. I replied to a previous post of yours and told you about my son in that post. Like yours, he taught himself to read before I started school with him. He doesn't get all unfamiliar words right away when he's reading, but if you tell him the correct pronunciation once, he has it down. Even though my son is reading, I still did the MFW K and MFW 1st phonics lessons with him. Well, now that I think about it, I didn't do some of the early blend ladder work with him. I only did the blend ladder the 2nd time it was scheduled each week. It was not so much for the reading, but it was great practice in writing for my son, because writing was, and sometimes still is, a struggle for him. In 1st grade, they mark the vowels and read the words. Even though my son can easily read all of the words already, I still have him go through the exercise of marking the vowels and then reading the words. As Julie said, it is important that they have a good phonics base for tackling harder and unfamiliar words rather than just memorizing words. So, if you have just skipped the phonics because your son can read, perhaps give it a try. It will go fast for him, and it will be easy for him, but that's okay.

Also, my son does not care much for coloring, either. For his Creation book, I ended up pretty much making it for him. He helped glue the sentence strips in and stick some stickers on, but that was about it. For me, it wasn't about him making it, at that stage, but it was more about him understanding the concepts within the book. Even though I made the book, we put his name on the cover, and he LOVED his creation book. We read and looked at it together time and time again. Throughout K, whenever drawing was required, we pretty much used stickers. That was fine. Also, when coloring was required, I sometimes asked him to color just one or two items, or we used do-a-dot dotters to add color. Just adapt it to your son, and that is absolutely fine. There will probably come a time when he will be willing and able to draw and color. With my son, as we did our first grade curriculum, I knew that Drawing with Children would be to much for him, so I started doing drawing lessons with him once a week using an Usborne I Can Draw Animals book. He surprised me and did really well with that. Now, about halfway through the 1st grade curriculum, he has done a couple of drawing exercises in his workbook, and it has surprised me that he has wanted to do them and has done okay with them. :-) Be sure you at least offer the activity to your son, even if you think he won't want to do it, because he may surprise you.

Since your son seems to finish the work early and wants extra time with you, I have an idea for something to add. Do you have many games? Does your son like to play games? I have a bunch of kids' games that I can play with my son. Sometimes we pull my older daughters in, as well. Perhaps adding some games to your day might help.

Also, do you block out time in your day that is just for school? I view educating my children as a job, just as I had a job when I was a public school teacher. I couldn't do personal stuff while I was on the job. I try to block out from 9-3 as our school day (keep in mind, I have older kids, too, so our day is longer than yours would be). Perhaps make sure you are setting aside that school time and keeping it just for school, which includes playing games, doing nature walks, and other fun stuff. At the kindergarten age, they are not ready to be independent. They pretty much need mom with them right there all the time. That is especially true for kids on the autism spectrum or kids who are easily distracted (like my son is). :-) You probably won't be able to turn your son loose on an assignment or project and leave for a bit just yet. He will need you there to keep him focused the whole time. Yes, you may have to pause school to deal with your little one, but that happens sometimes. It is not only for the kids that I keep our dedicated school time, but it is for me, as well. I know that when we are done with school, the kids are free to play and pursue their own interests, and I am free to do my housework and personal things, as well, such as checking email, etc.

Know that your kids are young. It takes time to train them how to "do school" and what your expectations are for them. Give yourself grace.

That's all I have time to write for now. I'm off to therapies with my son. I'll pop in later with more ideas as I think of them. Hang in there. It takes time to establish a routine, for you and for the kids. Have a blessed day!
Jen
happily married to Vince (19 yrs)
blessed by MFW since 2006
have used every year K-1850MOD
2018-2019: Adventures with 9yo boy

Mom of two boys
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:36 pm

Re: Two weeks in, need advice

Unread post by Mom of two boys » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:55 pm

Julie in MN wrote: I am wondering about this. There is a big difference between a child who has taught himself to read and a child who has taught himself phonics.
Thank you for responding! I know that he doesn't understand all phonics yet, but I'm certain that he's beyond this level. Just to be sure, I went ahead and tested him, and he definitely knows the alphabet like the back of his hand, sounds and all. He even gave me the long and short vowel sounds when I got to "o". I also reviewed a bunch of random three letter words with him today and he read them without any issues and asked if we could stop, so we did. But you're definitely right about the need to go through and formally teach him the rest of his phonics. I think that he may have sort of absorbed some of it by exposure, but there are gaps (beyond kindergarten level), and I'm not sure where they are yet.
Julie in MN wrote:If your son knows something, then you can move on, but presenting something he knows shouldn't be distressing to him if he feels successful?

I wouldn't call it distressing, but he cannot cope with the boredom. He either starts misbehaving or just asks if we can stop.
Julie in MN wrote:There is nothing wrong with stickers! Did he comprehend the creation story and retell it in his own (brief) words?
He did comprehend it, and he could retell it, but he did not enjoy it. It was very clear to me that this was just not the best way to present information to him. He was asking in depth questions, such as "when God created the water, was there land under the water? (bottom of the sea)" and "does God have God in HIS heart?" He's also constantly trying to understand WHERE heaven is and HOW God hears us when we pray to him if he's in this place that I cannot even give him a location for. He wants specifics and I don't even know how to begin to answer his questions. This is the level that he's thinking on, and then I tell him to make a sky out of cotton balls and wonder why this is not working! I agree with you on the bible part of K though, I see the value in it, and I really do want to teach him these concepts. I'm just having a hard time navigating these bumps that we're hitting.

TriciaMR
Posts: 998
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: Two weeks in, need advice

Unread post by TriciaMR » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:46 pm

I wonder if this book http://www.apologia.com/who-is-god/216-who-is-god.html would help with his questions about God? And it's okay to tell him you don't know. I have no other advice on dealing with your issues, though. {Hugs} and prayers for you!
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
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Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Two weeks in, need advice

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:42 pm

Mom of two boys wrote: there are gaps (beyond kindergarten level), and I'm not sure where they are yet.
One option is to do Kindergarten quickly with him, since he seems so gifted in some areas.

However, I might sit down with dh and set some goals for him this year (if you haven’t already). Goals help you see success on stressful days, and they remind you that you can't accomplish everything. You may find your goals have nothing to do with academics (especially since he seems to be doing fine in that area). Once you have thought through your goals for this child, you might find that the K materials will meet goals such as following a short routine at home every day, following instructions, learning character traits at his level, learning chores, and doing activities with his younger brother. You might decide to put off 1st grade until these more basic goals are met.

And I totally agree with Poohbee that dedicated school hours -- mentoring them by going alongside them all during the school day -- is one of the best things you can do for them. You are not only his teacher but also his classmate, the only shoulder he can look over to figure out what to do.
Mom of two boys wrote:I wouldn't call it distressing, but he cannot cope with the boredom. He either starts misbehaving or just asks if we can stop.
It is possible he’s bored and needs more. I’ve heard of that.

However, another possibility is that he’s behaving like many K-aged little boys I’ve known. There’s something alluring about workbooks at that age – a sense of accomplishment or something. Years ago, I had a Sunday school class and the director kept giving me coloring pages for kids who finished early. I found that it was the boys who finished early and not a one of them wanted to color LOL. They did well, however, when I wrote out little math equations for them or made little word-finds. They wanted to accomplish something, not decorate something :)
Mom of two boys wrote:He was asking in depth questions, such as "when God created the water, was there land under the water? (bottom of the sea)" and "does God have God in HIS heart?" He's also constantly trying to understand WHERE heaven is and HOW God hears us when we pray to him if he's in this place that I cannot even give him a location for. He wants specifics and I don't even know how to begin to answer his questions.
I have had a very concrete child. Unfortunately, God is outside of space and time, so He isn’t in the kind of tidy box enjoyed by a concrete thinker.

I don’t know if your little guy would relate to this analogy, but I always think of God as me, and I think of me as a cat. I ask myself whether, no matter how hard I tried, I could ever explain how the telephone works to the cat. It isn’t that the telephone isn’t real or can’t be understood, but it’s just that there’s only so much a cat can figure out about a telephone because he’s a cat. A cat isn’t a human… and we aren’t God. We never will understand everything about Him in this lifetime. But we can still love Him, and He has not only created us but loved us and even forgiven us.

Well… it works for my brain :) And Trish’s book idea might be great, too.
Mom of two boys wrote: I try setting him up with activities, but he just seems to gobble them up and then he's completely finished with them, either that or he plays with them inappropriately, requiring supervision, which completely defeats the point of trying to have him entertain himself! He runs around the house going a million miles an hour all day. He's running, he's jumping, he needs a drink, he's hungry, he had a potty accident, he's bothering his brother, his dumping toys out onto the floor, etc. etc. etc. It's constant, and it's intense. I get him outside at least once per day when possible, and I send him to his room to take rests twice per day, but it's just not enough.
I also wanted to chat about this from your original post. You are a busy mama! I’m glad you’re getting him outside, and quiet time seems like a great idea, too.

One other positive result from Poohbee’s idea of school hours is to help him understand when he has your full attention and for how long. You might tape up an index card next to the clock with school times and therapy times, so he can start to rely on that routine.

And when it's time to entertain himself, this thread might help you prepare for that. http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 9758#p9770

Hope something in there helps a bit,
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

mshanson3121
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 7:05 pm

Re: Two weeks in, need advice

Unread post by mshanson3121 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:11 pm

Mom of two boys wrote:I have an almost 5 year old and an almost 2 year old. My husband and I decided to homeschool year round because our 5 year old has autism and it also looks like our toddler is heading towards an autism diagnosis. Both of our children struggle with routine changes
Hi :) I have a 9 year old son with Sensory Processing Disorder which tends to mimic ASD in many ways, and then our 6 year old daughter does have ASD, along with health issues, so I get the struggle. So, we actually just got back from a huge seminar with several of our daughter's therapists, so I'll share some info :)

My children are both the same way with routine, and my daughter especially is very rigid/inflexible. So, they said that the best thing to do is to give them a good daily routine - and then constantly switch it up to teach them to handle change! Whatever their "deficit" skills are (such as not adjusting well to change) are the things you need to practice even more. So what she suggested was getting a visual schedule and letting them see the plan for the day. And then, gradually work at changing things (so maybe you need to switch snack time with chore time, or switch math and reading). Every time they handle the change well, use positive reinforcement (whether it's verbal, a sticker reward chart, a treat etc...). She said to start slowly at first, but to work up to where you are switching something on a daily basis.

This is the chart that we use, you can write on it with dry erase markers:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/16041 ... UTF8&psc=1
Mom of two boys wrote:First of all, my son is already reading, so I'm having to skip an awful lot of work. When I say that he's already reading, I mean that he's hyperlexic and learned (taught himself) the phonics materials in the MFW K package when we was two years old. I might be able to use some of it as spelling words as we get further along, but to be honest, I think he's already figured out how to spell on this level. Also, during the creation unit (which we condensed to 5 days due to lack of work since a lot of it is pre-reading skills), it became very clear to me that my son really hates doing art projects. He did NOT enjoy coloring the numbers or making the creation book. It got to the point where I had to give him stickers to use (instead of drawing) just to get him through it.
When it comes to this sort of thing - not liking crafts etc... just go with it. If he doesn't like them, he doesn't like them. However, maybe you could find an activity he does like? There are oodles of coloring sites online where the child can actually color the picture on the computer, maybe he'd prefer something like that? Or maybe he'd prefer painting to coloring? Finger painting to painting with a brush? Cutting out pictures and pasting them instead of coloring etc? And then maybe he just hates all crafts and that's okay for now, too. My daughter didn't really get "into" crafts until she was around 5.5.

As for the fact that he's already reading, have you read through the TM on what to do when your child is already reading? Is he enjoying the lessons? If so... don't worry about it. Do the lessons as written, and then he can read extra books after.
Mom of two boys wrote:It was around this time that I started questioning whether or not he was even ready for Kindergarten - and that very same day, he just happened to answer that question for me by asking for MORE schoolwork. Since then, he's been asking for school work in the evenings and on the weekends even!! That being said, I have started supplementing with extra handwriting work sheets and a clock manipulative, but even if we're also reading 2 or 3 of the suggested books per day, this is still not enough for him, and he is bored and asking for more work, and I just do not know what to do with this kid. I've already condensed the 6 day weeks into 5 day weeks, and now my husband is suggesting that maybe I should further condense it into 4 day weeks. I'm hesitant to do that because at this rate, we're going to finish the entire curriculum around January, and I'm not sure if he'll be ready to start first grade work that soon. I'm starting to question whether MFW is a poor fit for him.
So, I'm a big fan of better late than early, but studies actually show that this is even more important for children with special needs/high IQ. Would you let him gorge on cookies just because he wants them? No. So, you will need to limit school for him too - both for his sake, and your sake. It'll eventually lead to burn out for both of you. I don't think there's anything wrong with adding in some extra things (are you using the Cuisenaire Rods, what about adding in Pattern Blocks?) however, 1. I would make it clear that school work is limited to x-time (say 9-12, M-F). Not on evenings or weekends or afternoons. Again, the visual schedule might help with this. 2. I would try and add in more hands on items, experiential learning so all his learning isn't sit down and do worksheets. Kids on the spectrum get fixated on things they like, and it's up to us to force them to expand their palate.
Mom of two boys wrote:That leads me to my next problem - he's BORED and driving me crazy during the times when I cannot sit and do school with him. He's doing well with doing a few chores in the morning, and I don't really feel he's ready to take on any more than what he's currently doing. I try setting him up with activities, but he just seems to gobble them up and then he's completely finished with them, either that or he plays with them inappropriately, requiring supervision, which completely defeats the point of trying to have him entertain himself! He runs around the house going a million miles an hour all day. He's running, he's jumping, he needs a drink, he's hungry, he had a potty accident, he's bothering his brother, his dumping toys out onto the floor, etc. etc. etc. It's constant, and it's intense. I get him outside at least once per day when possible, and I send him to his room to take rests twice per day, but it's just not enough.
Have you ever heard of a therapy approach called Activity Schedules? You can get a book on Amazon (about $5 with shipping if you buy used) but you might want to look into it. It may really help you with this. It's whole design is to teach the child to be more independent. But the general idea is you create a binder for them with "tasks" they have to complete, if he can read you can use written instructions, but if not you can use picture cues. It can be anything from school work, chores, even playing. So, for example if you need 1 hour of uninterrupted time, you might give him an Activity Schedule to complete that goes something like:

- 2-3 chores
- A game or puzzle that he can play independently (my daughter loves Mighty Mind) for 10 minutes (set a timer)
- Do a couple worksheets that you set out for him
- Online learning activity (does he like websites like Starfall, Reading Eggs, Math Seeds etc? I know for my daughter with ASD this can easily buy me 30+ minutes)

And so on. As he completes his schedules, again, use positive reinforcement. Praise, a sticker, a treat, 10 minutes of your time, maybe 15 minutes of screen time etc... You might need to start with shorter schedules that might only take 30 minutes and then work up to 1 hour, 2 hours.

Also, have you considered that he may have either ADHD, or vestibular or proprioceptive sensory issues - both are very often co-morbid with ASD. It may be worth looking into. If it's sensory issues, a proper sensory diet will go a long way in helping calm him down, and gaining some sanity back for you.
Mom of two boys wrote:To add to this, I've got my younger sons therapists coming in 5x per week right now to work with him. At first I was trying to include my 5 year old in his therapy sessions, but this was going very poorly and he was creating a lot of chaos, so we started doing school while they're here. I think this is going to work, but I'm still finding that it's adding to my stress knowing that they're constantly coming over and feeling like I always have to make sure the house isn't a complete wreck. My 5 year old is starting a couple of activities during the week, and this is just further complicating the therapy appointments.
I feel your pain, it's intrusive to have them there every day. However... this is something you're just going to have to learn to let go of. Trust me, there is NO mess, no disaster, no meltdown, NOTHING that can happen at your home that they have not already seen or witnessed many times before.

As for the activities for your son - what are they? Are they necessary? How are they interfering with therapy?
Mom of two boys wrote:Aside from that, my toddler has some communication delays, which are starting to lead to intense tantrums throughout the day. I'm trying to get him set up with a basic communication app or something, but I don't even have the time to find one and figure it out right now.
See above my question on the activities for your 5 year old. Sometimes, as much as we want our kids to do fun things, they just can't be done. Your sanity is more important, as is maintaining as much rhythm as possible in the home. Do you have anyone that can come stay with the kids for a few hours even one afternoon a week, so that you can have time to deal with stuff like this?
Mom of two boys wrote:Also, he's been insisting on being in our school room with us while we do school, which in itself isn't a problem, but he seems to completely hate every single "busy bag" I made for him before we got started. He wants to color, but he's eating the crayons when I look away. He needs something literally every two minutes from me no matter what I try. If I give him a puzzle or something, he just throws the pieces at us. He'll eat some cheerios for a few minutes, but then he starts throwing those at us too. I try to "involve" him in school, like if we're reading a book or something, but he just throws an all out tantrum because he wants to hold it (where no one can see it). I know that homeschooling with younger siblings is a common problem, but this is just beyond distracting. Oh, and he will only take a nap ON me or in the car, so that idea's out.
So he is definitely an oral seeker. Have you looked into/tried chewelery for him? That might be an option. Also, I thought you said you were doing your school during his ABA therapy time? If that's the case - you need to be in separate rooms, period, and take that up with the therapist. He'll likely throw fits for awhile, but this is one of those "oh well" times. He'll get over it. And if you're not doing school during ABA therapy time, then start doing it then (in separate rooms). That will help you and your oldest for now. There will be time to transition him into doing lessons together at a later date. For the rest of the day, what sort of activities does he like? I would make sure you have those on hand.

manyblessings
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CLE vs. MFW Kindergarten?

Unread post by manyblessings » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:34 am

mshanson3121 wrote:
Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:22 pm
I'm torn on what to do for DD for grade 1. Background: she just turned 6, and has high functioning ASD. Socially/emotionally she is on par with a 4.5 year old. Her therapists told us that they feel that our focus this year should be social/behavioral skills this year, more than academics. We largely took last year (Kindergarten) off and I didn't really do anything formal with her at all, except around February, she asked to learn to read, so we worked through with McGuffey's Primer. She was doing well, and was learning CVC words, so we decided to try CLE's Learning to Read program.

We're taking it slow, splitting each lesson into 2. What I like:
- I love that the TM has questions in every lesson for auditory discrimination (ex. saying a bunch of words and asking her to clap when she hears ones that start or end in "n", or auditory blending so saying c-a-t and having her blend it into cat). She has been weaker on those skills and needs them.
- Lots of worksheets which she enjoys.
- Stories in the TM that I read to her with comprehension questions to be answered.

What I don't like:
- Not enough work on blending visually (as in seeing the letters and blending it into a word)
- It's spiral so I find it's a faster pace
- The lessons are REALLY long. The whole lesson takes us almost an hour, just for phonics. Now, the lesson is to be separated into two sessions (though done the same day), but we've been separating them into two days.


I'm torn on continuing with CLE, or if she might do better with MFW K (I would just start her part way through, where the blending/reading work starts). She can read sentences like: "Nan got the mat" or "The fat cat sat on the mat." So one on hand... maybe she's already past MFW K? And yet, I think the blend ladder approach would really help her, as she tends to be a visual memorizer, so she sees a word and tries to memorize it, but then when she comes to a new word she's unsure of, she's slow trying to sound it out/blend it. She also still struggles with remembering a couple short vowel sounds (o is one), and she still struggles a bit with the auditory discrimination of the middle sound in CVC words (ex. so if I say, "Raise your hand if you hear the /a/ sound in the word", she can have a harder time with that). And I was thinking maybe the shorter lessons would be better for her.

Thoughts please?
I tend to be on the side of "later is better", so you can take my words with a grain of salt :)

I think if you want to focus on emotional/social development, MFW K is a great pick. It is developmentally appropriate for a child of about age 4 to 5 (and you said she falls between here emotionally). There's nothing wrong with letting academics take a back seat while you work on other things. She sounds like a very bright child, and I don't think anything will be lost by taking academics more slowly for now. Besides, there is so much more to MFW K than academics, such as creative thinking and character development. These are important for any young child to learn before academics get harder.

Lastly, I would recommend you call the MFW office-they have so many years of experience, and would be great at helping you think through your options.
Julie in MN wrote:
Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:34 am
I totally agree :)
mshanson3121 wrote:Her therapists told us that they feel that our focus this year should be social/behavioral skills this year, more than academics.
manyblessings wrote: if you want to focus on emotional/social development, MFW K is a great pick.
Lourdes
Mom of 4 adults, 1 daughter-in-law, 1 son-in-law, 1 in 1st, and
3 in heaven 8/11/06, 8/18/10, and 9/13/13
Married to my soul mate since 6/20/09
Past: MFW K, ECC, AAAT, VOD, GCA, LGS
2019-2020: ADV

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