I have a 6 year-old Autistic son and we just started home schooling. He has been receiving services since he was 3 and has made wonderful progress. I want to ensure that the progress continues. Are there any other parents here that have Autistic children and any pointers for a newbie?
Anyone with Autism?(12 posts) (6 voices)
My 12yo son is mildly autistic, and we have always educated at home. Back when he was 8 and first diagnosed, we were enrolled in an online public charter school, so he received speech and occupational therapy for a couple of years, plus online tutoring from a special ed teacher. He made progress, but there was still too much of the public school agenda going on, things that weren't helpful such as standardized testing at his enrolled grade level instead of the levels he was working at in math and reading. Of course he did not score well on a 5th grade test when he was actually learning 2nd grade math....but we had to go through the motions as most every public school child does.
Last year, we went back to traditional homeschooling, withdrawing from the online public school, and we began using Charlotte Mason methods. The short lessons have been a good fit for all of the kids but especially my son. He is making progress, just slower than neuro-typical kids would. I have also been able to utilize the suggestions that were made by the speech and occupational therapists and have found helpful suggestions online as well. One site that is helpful is http://www.diannecraft.org/. I also belong to a yahoo group for autistic homeschoolers, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PREACCH/. PREACCH stands for Parents Rearing And Educating Autistic Children in Christian Homes.
If you have been receiving services through your local public school district, you might contact them to see if they have any programs or policies in place that would allow you to continue receiving their services. I am in Ohio, and we do have an Autism Scholarship Program that provides grant money to either pay tuition for your child in a private school that has a specialized autism program or pays for services from private providers while you homeschool your child. We needed to have our local school district write an IEP in order to qualify for this, but they gave us a lot of trouble including the services he had already been receiving, and I was frustrated with it, so we decided against it. I was also concerned about allowing the government school system to have too much access to our little homeschool. We're rather private people, as many homeschoolers are.
If you have any specific questions about homeschooling or using CM methods with an autistic child, I (and others on this forum) would be happy to answer them as best we can, largely drawing upon our own experiences.
My youngest has autism. We diagnosed her when she was four years old. I've been trying to use as many CM methods as possible with her over the years. (She's 13 now.) She has auditory processing disorders and several other developmental delays as well, so for many years I wasn't sure whether she was even comprehending what I read to her. However, now that she can verbally communicate, I'm seeing peeks into her mind and every once in a while I get a glimpse that those books are in there! So I would encourage you to continue reading aloud in short segments with plenty of time to digest in between.
Here are some random thoughts about implementing CM:
Short lessons have been perfect.
Copywork has worked well.
Because of her communication delays I didn't start requiring a narration until a year or two ago. She can sometimes give me one sentence, and usually it is in the form of a question, but it's a start!
Picture study and music study work well.
She loves to draw in her nature notebook for nature study.
I modified her Bible lessons a bit because she is very visual. I set up a BIble felt-figures scene for her to look at as I read the Bible story. That modification seems to help her anchor the story in her mind. (And she asks for her Bible lesson every day.)
She can't yet recite our Scripture memory verses with us, but she listens so I know the Word is getting into her mind.
Her sisters have taught her some handicrafts, which she enjoys doing.
Over the past couple of years, I have started to add some Brain Gym exercises to help her organize her thoughts. Those work quite well.
Do you have any specific questions? I'd be happy to share our experience if it would help.
Thanks all! I'm not exactly worried per se, just want to ensure that I am doing this correctly. My main concern is a schedule with him. I was able to obtain the schedule his teacher used at his school. I'm using it as more of a guideline though. I was just wondering what all of you were using as a schedule and how you conducted their work throughout the day.
I do however get to speak with special services next week regarding his speech therapies. That helps. Any information you have will be most helpful and appreciated, thank you.
Thank you for all the great ideas and pointers! I am taking notes. I do have a couple questions about what you mentioned though. I am confused as to what you mean by music study. For picture study you mean "studying pictures", correct? Does that go for music as well, studying music? Do you mean as in lessons, or simply listening to music? And is Brain Gym exercises a website that I can visit? Thanks again for the help.
Thank you all for your input and help. It is greatly appreciated.
From the SCM site:
Art appreciation was one part of Charlotte’s “spreading the feast” before her students; and her method, as always, was gentle and inviting. Display a picture and mention the artist who created it. Have children look at the picture until they can see it clearly in their minds’ eye. When all children are ready, turn the picture over or close the book and ask them to describe the picture. When their narration is finished, display the picture again and notice together any new aspects. Summarize any accompanying information if desired, but be careful not to interfere with each child’s forming his own relationship with the artist’s work. This study is not a lesson in art criticism. Display the picture in a prominent location in your home so children can look at it throughout the week.
Continue to study works by the same artist for several weeks until the children become familiar with that artist’s style. If possible, read a short biography about that artist sometime during your study of his or her work.
Music appreciation is done in much the same way as art appreciation. Simply listen to the music of one composer at various times throughout the week. Tell children which composer you’re listening to. You could play the music in the vehicle while running errands or play it at home in the background during a meal. Be sure to begin the CD or tape at different songs to make sure the children have a chance to hear more than just the first selection.
Continue to listen to pieces by the same composer for several weeks until the children become familiar with that composer’s style. If possible, read or listen to a short biography about that composer sometime during your study of his or her work.
Here is the link to the list of Charlotte Mason's methods:
We just choose an artist and do what it says above. Here is a link to the Bookstore picture study kits:
http://simplycharlottemason.com/books/picture-study-portfolios/ We are enjoying these very much. They are beautiful and convienent. I have also gotten artist books and free pictures from these sites:
Links for some music ideas are here:
This site has been recommended for free music downloads etc: http://www.classicsforkids.com/
I got CD's of the classical artists for .01 + $3.99 shipping on Amazon. I have also used the helpful year plans at Harmony Fine Arts to help me get this planned and started in our home. lol
Here is the link: http://www.harmonyfinearts.com/ She has art & composer studies. She also has Nature Study ideas here: http://handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com/p/summer-nature-study-outdoor-hour.html
We love all these studies - they add so much to our lives. I hope this helps until Sonya chimes back in. =)
By the way, I forgot to say that Music Study as referenced here is not taking lessons, although that could also become part of your schedule at some point.
Anyway, http://www.myaudioschool.com/ has several audio books that you can listen to online, while looking at the original artwork. There were several about great artists and one that is called "Great Composer" by Thomas Tapper. It has some interesting stories about 10 different compsers like Mozart, Chopin, Wagner, Verdi, etc. I know that you can also get this free online from librivix.org (I just think that myaudsioschool is easier to navigate) and Project Gutenberg has the text for free download as well. Those sites are worth looking at for almost any subject of book in the public domain. I am not sure if your son can handle the audio, but with the pictures online he may really enjoy them.
I haven't noticed any connection between the picture study and music study and her improvement. Mostly I'm taking it on faith that "it can't hurt" and that it will enrich her spirit like it does mine. In my mind it's part of viewing her as a person and educating her whole person.
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