Teaching autistic son


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  • flowersbymo

    Hello everyone. I am looking for son help and guidance. My son is 9 and on the autism spectrum. He also has pervassive demand avoidance which is s feature of autism. I am confused about how to proceed with hos learning.

    I have early years picture books which we have already read. I have a couple of phonics curruculums. I have done my own planning for the last few years but I have hit a wall. He was evaluated and he has the development of 4-5 year old. I would say that’s fairly close. I thought he would be ready for more advanced pictures but he shuts down easily if something is too hard or challenges him. Our learning is very gentle. He jist learned the alphabet last year but his working memory is poor so phonics lessons havent progressed very much. He shuts down if he makes a mistake.

    I have been looking at Simply Classical by Memoria Press. It looks so tempting to have everything put together for me. I am going through so much doubt to figure out what to do.

    I was told to go through a program called Visualizing and Verbalizing to help my son’s expressive and receptive language even prior to phonics. It will easily be around $500 to have it shipped to me ; materials included.

    I am just going through decision fatigue and doubt right now. Thos is what we have been doing regularly.

    Bible with narration from NIV

    Picture study

    Delightful Reading-phonics

    Making Math Meaningful

    Penmanship on chaulkboard





    Daily outdoor playwith our pets



    Simple songs


    Picture Books-he loved the book The Kitchen Knight which is a longer read than Stone Soup. This is an area that I would add to.


    Music appreciation

    Thank you for anyone one who can help me figure this out.


    I just had a daughter with issues also diagnosed with things that cause learning issues. It is so stressful to work for years without much result and to truly question what you are doing! I am sending you big hugs. 🙂

    My daughter has many similar educational problems to your son, although she is not on the spectrum. I have been worried about her for some time, then after reading the report from her testing, I realized that what I am doing for her is the best thing she could have even with her challenges.

    This week, Cindy Rollins hosted a conference called Back to School. It is available from her website. The speakers were Cindy Rollins, Karen Glass, Thomas Banks, and Angelina Stanford. It was a fantastic conference – the talks were all so full of helpful reminders for this heart sore, weary, concerned mama.  🙂

    Cindy said “Education is not what the teacher does, it’s what happens in the heart of the student or the mind of the student.” As Charlotte Mason repeatedly states, “Children are born persons.”  If you believe that, your curriculum should be concerned with what you are putting into your child’s life – the best books, living ideas, good habits, and relationships. Your child is more than his handwriting or math. Your input via living ideas is more important than his output on demand skills, although sometimes it is hard to reconcile that in the world around us.

    I think your plan looks appropriate for his level. Regarding Memoria Press: don’t spend a ton of money for color and checkoff lists. I am not putting down their products (I use some of them), but you already know what he needs. Regarding the language program, I can’t give any advice as I have no experience with it.

    I wanted to recommend a book called “A Picture Perfect Childhood” by Cay Gibson. Not only does she explain the true place and value picture books have in school life (even for teenagers), it is a wonderful book chock full of lists of beautiful, lovely picture books that spread the feast. She has lists for monthly studies which cover math, language arts, history, science, geography, Shakespeare, art, cooking, sports, etc. Actually, she has lists for dozens of topics, studies, etc. I think that it might be a valuable resource for you as you expose your son to new things in a very non-threatening way.


    Sonya Shafer

    It looks like what you’re doing is wonderful! I would encourage you to take the reading lessons slowly and don’t get discouraged at his level for his age. Focus on his developmental “age.” Go at his pace. My daughter with autism and pervasive developmental delays started reading when she was 11 biologically, but it was the right time developmentally.

    Some of our autistic kids are very visual and struggle with “sounding out” words phonically. Mine did. She’s starting to use that technique with unknown words now that she is reading at a third grade level, but that thing that got her going was teaching words by sight. You might try making some little word cards that feature words of things in the room that he sees often. Then tell him what the word is and eventually play a game of seeing if he can put the correct card on the correct object in the room, or hide something in one of those places and hold up the correct card to tell him where it is. In other words, you might experiment with sight-reading and see if that approach comes easier to him. But please don’t worry and don’t push, since he is at a 4–5 year old level.

    I know it’s hard, but you’re doing everything right, my dear! Just be faithful . . . one day at a time. You can do this.

    And celebrate the growth that you see in any area of life—not just academics. The goal of education is growth. Look for it. Celebrate it!

    Karen Brown

    Hi there! We have used both Simply Classical, and Visualizing and Verbalizing-though we bought the homeschool version that they were selling a while back which had a cheaper price tag. The Charlotte Mason method is a wonderful method for ASD children. I am a member of both Special Needs Charlotte Mason groups on Facebook and I highly suggest checking them out if you are on Facebook. Amy Elizabeth Bodkin is an educational specialist who has a specialization in ASD, and homeschools her ASD children with Charlotte Mason method. She does consults at a reasonable rate through the Charlotte Mason Plenary. She has also written a developmental form guide, some of which is really helpful and some of which needs a bit more editing in my opinion. I’ve found other resources more helpful for my child’s situation.

    The Simply Classical Curriculum is classical and includes a number of wonderful book choices. We have enjoyed especially the enrichment for pre-K through grade 1. I did not choose to use the phonics or math that they suggest. I preferred the approach Delightful Reading and Charlotte Mason Arithmetic take at the time. I currently have the teacher guide and most of the read alouds for level B if you would want to purchase it used. I don’t feel it made life easier per se, but we enjoyed most of the books and eldest who is NVLD syndrome-quite similar to Asperger’s-was engaged with it at the time. I also have the manners curriculum, great books, but perhaps does too much of the thinking for the child. It is a far more didactic-direct instruction-method.

    Visualizing and Verbalizing is great. When we started it I felt very much that it is in similar spirit to Charlotte Mason’s picture study. The images however are much simpler, far fewer details to verbalize than in most art prints. So it’s like taking a step back, at least in the first stage. You do NOT need everything in the classroom kit which is designed for multiple students. Amy Elizabeth Bodkin has used VV with her 2 ASD kiddos as well with great results. She did not use it exactly as prescribed, she went a bit slower as have we. Homeschooling provides that luxury. She has great advice on which items you absolutely need-like the teacher guide. This reduces the cost significantly. And while you can take a training, I personally feel the teacher guide is thorough enough that you can do it without the training. The neuropsychologist who recommended it to us did say it should only be implemented by a trained tutor, but there is an element of liability involved when a professional gives advice. I would perhaps consult Amy, or just take a look yourself.

    I also recommend having your child draw or illustrate the passages you read to him. It is another mode of expression and can help connect the visual and verbal.

    I know that our state requires students to make progress according to their age and ability, so we have some flexibility in making that progress. We can move at DD’s pace which I loved. There are a few articles to be found in back issues of the Parents Review Magazine from Charlotte’s day regarding the teaching of what were then termed ‘backward children’ that I have also found encouraging. Two or three of these have been reproduced and can be found on Ambleside Online’s website. One makes mention of a man named Seguin who did work in what would now be considered Occupational Therapy. One article paints a picture of what a CM education might look like with a particular child, I appreciated it because it definitely slows thongs down and focusses on the development of the child. Verbalizing is definitely a skill that takes more focus and other subjects like history and geography are left off until the child’s communication skills are better developed. I love that Charlotte Mason is so developmentally minded in philosophy. It takes a lot of the pressure to meet standards of neurotypical children.


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