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
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.