If you are on Facebook, as most of us are, there is a great Autism discussion page that I am now following. This page discusses several topics associated with Autism, such as behaviors, anxiety, diagnosis, etc. Please check this page out.
I am homeschooling our youngest son with Autism due to his extreme sensitivity to environmental stimuli because of his Sensory Processing Disorder. He is unable to handle being in a regular school at this point in his life. Over the past couple of years, as I have been working with him, I have designed a program of sorts that seems to help him learn while addressing his sensory needs. I have learned that, in order for him to focus on the concepts I am trying to teach him, I must incorporate sensory activities into his learning. So, I have tried to get creative and provide activities that integrate learning, sensory activities, and even concepts his therapists are working on with him. So far, this approach seems to be working and he is progressing in his learning.
The most important lessons I have learned to is be flexible and not to have the same expectations for him as I do for my other two children in regards to his learning style. I cannot expect my youngest to sit in a chair and complete workbook pages for a prolonged period of time. He needs to move and get input in order for him to keep himself regulated.
Throughout this learning experience, I have thought about other parents who may be in the same situation that I am in: who are trying to teach their children at home. If you are on a tight budget, as we are, you might not have the money to buy all of the expensive teaching aids that are needed to help your child learn. I have tried to come up with learning activities that use things we already have on hand.
I thought I might start blogging about the activities I do with my little one and see if these ideas might help anyone else. I am not a therapist, but I do have a teaching degree, so I do have an educational background when it comes to creating some of these activities. Also, let me say that we do not do these activities every day. I adapt them to my son's mood, interests, behavior, attention span, sensory difficulties, etc. on any given day. What works one days sometimes will not the next, and vice versa.
So, here we go...
Counting Toys on the Scooter
My son loves stuffed animals, among other toys, and always wants to have them nearby when we are working. I have found that, instead of trying to keep the toys away from him while we work, it is easier and less stressful on us both to bring the stuffed animals into what we are learning.
I dump a pile of stuffed animals in the kitchen floor at one end of my kitchen and place a large storage container at the other end. I get my son's scooter (which I got online for under $20) and have him sit by the container. I have him roll to the stuffed animals, tell him the number of animals to pick up, then count with him as he places them in his lap. He then rolls back to the container and puts them inside. We repeat this a few times until all of the animals are inside the container.
You can vary the difficulty by changing the numbers you are counting to (we go to 10 right now). I also sometimes use two containers for him to put the stuffed animals in to work on his ability to follow directions by having him put the toys in the container I choose. You can change up the sensory input your child receives by having them run, hop, crawl, or gallop while moving the toys, too.
This activity does all of the following: reinforces counting, encourages following directions, provides sensory input, works on core strength, uses eye-hand coordination, works on gross motor movement, incorporates using the sense of touch(tactile), and probably works on some other areas I haven't thought of yet.
I hope you and your child enjoy this activity as much as we do. Have a great day!
I came across this article in my email today and I just had to share. This explains so much about my young son with SPD and Autism,
SPD Foundation Article
I have been researching private schools that cater to SPD or different learning styles. While researching, I realized that others may welcome this information. So, I found a website that includes a list of schools nationwide. I was also able to Google a certain metropolitan area and found other sites which also provide this information. The link to the nation-wide list is listed below. Have a wonderful day!
I needed this today. After a week filled with changing schedules, intense sensory therapy at home to try to help my son to keep his equilibrium, etc., I needed something positive. I hope you will find the speaker's words encouraging, too. Have a great day!
Rosie King: How Autism Freed Me
A friend of mine shared this website with me and I had to pass it along. It has several links to website related to SPD. I hope it will be helpful to you!
Sensory Processing Disorder / Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SPD/SID) -- resource links
I wanted to share this video. I wish there was something like this for me to watch 13 years ago. My oldest child would have had a much earlier diagnosis.
Early Signs of Autism
We just started ABA Therapy with our youngest son. I have heard good things about it, so I am hoping it helps him. He has regressed socially over the summer and gets physically ill now when we are around a lot of people in places like doctor offices, where we go fairly frequently. We kept him out of school this year in order to pursue ABA Therapy and to try to give him the tools he needs to cope with social situations in healthy ways.
We decided to use a picture schedule and communication cards to help with behavior problems. We have been using the picture/visual schedule for about a month now and we are having great success with it. It helps our little guy to know what is coming up during the day and he can go check it any time he needs to. Also, we have put up pictures instructing him on the steps for brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, washing hands, etc. We have placed several pictures for the foods he will eat on the fridge so he can point to what he wants if he is unable to tell us. Hint: Page protectors will prolong the life of your charts!
Unfortunately, I found few websites that had what I needed. I found several of my pictures, like for playing, grocery stores, restaurants, etc, on Google Images. It took some work, and some time to organize, but it has paid off.
Here are a couple of websites I found that were helpful.
Sites with information on using visual strategies, etc.
Using Visual Strategies
Have a great weekend!!!
I am a mom to three special-needs kids. Writing about my experiences is something new I'm embarking on. I hope my musings help, not only me, but someone else out there who walks in shoes similar to my own.