Homeschooling and Afterschooling High Functioning Kids on the Spectrum: Resources Part Two

Homeschooling and Afterschooling High Functioning Kids on the SpectrumIn part one I touched on parenting tips, behavioral issues, life skills and what I found to be the most useful character based curriculum for teaching my kids.

Support Groups for Parents of Kids with ASD

An invaluable resource, one you cannot do without, is asperger or autism support groups. Parents can provide you with much wisdom, insight, and encouragement. You may find various groups geared towards raising and teaching kids on the spectrum online and locally. I recommend finding both a local group that has meetings and an online group to take advantage of the wide variety of input. Most, if not all, local groups also have an online presence or an email group.

In regards to online groups, some prefer email groups to Facebook groups for privacy reasons. I have made use of both types of online groups. Parents who have been in the trenches can help you in more ways than you can imagine. Adults on the spectrum, especially adults who are now raising and teaching their own children with ASD, can give a unique perspective and provide effective problem solving strategies that may not typically be obvious to others.

I do not know how I would have navigated the difficult and confusing seasons without the wonderful moms and dads who were willing to share their knowledge and support. There is a reason I put this first here. You will need people. Don’t neglect to find your tribe.

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You will need people. Don’t neglect to find your tribe. (Tweet This)

*If home educating, you may also wish to take advantage of your local homeschool support groups and activities. These can be found by doing internet searches or asking local home educating families.

Brain Training

There are a plethora of different products and services out there that fall under the category of Brain Training. Some people say these work, and others say save your money. The very first brain training program I ever heard of was Audiblox  when I first began home schooling.

Beware of companies that offer brain training after they give you reduced cost testing. If the tests are not accepted by assistive agencies as legitimate, you may not be receiving an accurate assessment. Pay careful attention to the wording of the test descriptions and do your homework. Cheap, ineffective testing isn’t worth anything in the long run. It may do more harm than good, masking problems or misdirecting from the real issues and proper treatment.

We used a computer game called Earobics for auditory discrimination. One of my sons said it really helped him. This was the first edition computer software for older kids and adults I found many, many years ago. The company now makes more products in the line used in schools in addition to home versions.  You can get Earobics here.

Occupational Therapy-Sensory Integration Therapy

A program called Learning Breakthrough that seemed to have good results for my child who used it. We could not use the ball included due to latex allergy, but found an alternative. We used a plastic whiffle ball covered with a sock hung from a string! This program was easy to use and required no teacher prep. It is a structured occupational therapy program for sensory integration advertised as being useful for people and children with asperger’s, high functioning autism, ADD and learning difficulties.

The DVD speaks directly to the person using the program. The activities are actually quite fun and enjoyable. In my opinion, the product is quite sturdy and the instructions given on the DVD are clear and easy to understand. You can watch a video sample here.

Take A Swing Therapeutic Swing Sets

Here are some pretty cool swing sets for kids and adult sized people that are portable! These can be packed in your car trunk and can be used indoors.

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I hope some of these resources will be of use to you, helping you teach your asperger’s or high functioning child with autism.

What about you? What have you found that worked for you?

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Lessons That Matter

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My highschooler comes home from her new part time job, Tuesday through Thursday, at lunchtime. The chatter is non-stop for a while. I love to watch her as she talks.

She works as a pair of extra hands at a private school.

A helper was needed for two special needs kids, teenagers. When the job posting came up, I thought it might be of interest to her. Patience with certain children is one of her attributes, and she is not scared of different. I asked her if she was interested and she said yes.

Our homeschool schedule had to be adjusted, but that is fine. We can well afford to be flexible with the hours.
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Important lessons take precedence, and some things need to be experienced. (Tweet This)

I felt this would be an excellent opportunity for her.

After the first week she says to me, “I’m really surprised by how much I like it.”

“I knew you would.”

I am too smug. She wrinkles her nose at me, then rolls her eyes. I pretend to be affronted, and defend myself.

“Well,” I say, hands on hips and trying not to grin,“at least I didn’t say, ‘Told you so.’ ”

This earns me a skeptical sideways glance and a lifted eyebrow.

“OK,” I admit. “It’s kind of the same thing.”

“Kind of exactly.”

We laugh.

Over the following days I learn that The Wiggles and Minions are her students’ favorites, about words missed and corrected, and many other things.

I listen to it all.

We are in my room after she gets home one day and conversation goes as usual. She pauses for breath, hesitating.

“Do I talk about my kids too much?”

My kids.

I shake my head no. “I want to hear,” I tell her.

She smiles and speaks of how much her boy student likes to color all the pictures in, not just the right number to get the answer, of gentle tugs on her sleeve and sweet laughter finally earned. She isn’t looking at me as she describes the laughter. There is a particular light in her eyes.

When she still rested in the womb I placed my palms on my naked, swollen belly. With fingers splayed out across the roundness, I wept and promised her she could be who she was, not knowing what future would come.

Here it is. I watch an unfolding woman’s soul begin to enter into being.

“My kids,” she said.

Just when I thought she couldn’t get any more beautiful.

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Casualties

Any time you decide to break away from what’s expected, you will have fallout. It can be changing religions, or loving the wrong person, or simply choosing something different from the status quo.

We can predict some of those who will oppose us. We know their thoughts and opinions, and these we can prepare for. But there are often surprises.

It’s very difficult when you have been of one mind with a friend and grown used to leaning on them, only to have a thick black line drawn between you, to be pushed away and delegated to the land of Not Like Me. Wisdom tells me friends who behave this way were never really my friends at all, but it is still a loss. And it still hurts.

If you live your life with any passion or guts at all, there will be people who should love you who decide not to any more.

There will be holes. Spaces are always filled. Some of those who smooth over the gaps will be the core people, the ones you always hoped would be there. Others will wait on the periphery, treasures you never saw coming. They will step up and stand beside you.

They will say, “I trust you. Even if I don’t understand and may not agree, I have faith in you.”

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