Need Some Help for My Friend's Son with Aspergers ........

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Momslittleangels, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. Momslittleangels

    Momslittleangels New Member

    My friend has a 10 year old son that has Aspergers and ADHD. Over the past couple of months, he has had been unable to complete one full day in class without having meltdowns. He spends most of his time in the office with the Counselor or Principal. Today, his dad actually sat in the classroom to see how his son functioned and found that he is having very hard times transitioning and the kids are being "over the top" cruel to him. These are obviously some reasons for his meltdowns. He has an IEP and they have been patient with him, but he is barely getting an education because of the troubles he is experiencing.

    Ever since they added modified testing (more time, separate room to avoid distractions) to his IEP, he has been scoring off the chart on his scores (on the high side), but he can't ever seem to get his homework turned it, etc......typical organization problems.

    My friends are at a loss and want to find schools that can work with him better, but there aren't many out there. He has to get an education, so what type of things can they do to get their son to complete an entire day? Are there other types of schools or programs that can help these kids?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    It sounds as if he needs a self-contained classroom in his current school or an Asperger's program in his school district. Surely he can't be the only child with AS in his entire school district. It sounds as if your friend needs to ask around and find out where all the kids with AS are. She might also benefit from talking with an educational advocate who can advocate to have this child's needs met.
  3. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    My difficult child was put into a self-contained classroom at the end of 5th grade. It was the single most important thing the school has done to help him. He's finishing the 8th grade tomorrow, having been in this type of classroom now for over three years. He loves it! It's almost a one on one class, he transitions out of that class for things like band and PE only. That gives him more interaction with his peers. He has never made a C on his report card. He also has NO homework, ever. Our homelife was too much of a battleground and the lead psychologist with the school district suggested he have no homework. It's worked!
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son didn't even act out but we chose to put him into self-contained for half the day so he could do his work in a quiet environment...lots of kids and distractions are very hard for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) chidlren. He also got so much 1-1 that his academics skyrocketed, he became a leader in the class, helped others, and his self-esteem really went up as did his social skills. He learned how to transition, take notes, print (he still can't write), keyboard and socialize to the point that he does have friends. He is pretty much mainstreamed now. I think his type of schooling was great for an Aspie. I don't think most do well in regular class all the time.

    As for the teasing, I am so fortunate. Because our school has Special Education and all the kids are used to the Special Education kids and because they are included in all school functions nobody teases them. In fact, when L. is at school, kids shout "Hi" at him, smile, and give him high 5's. It's a smaller, but public school. The kids may fight amongst each other, but they go out of their way to help all of the kids who are in or have been in special education. They are very kind and helpful to them, especially the girls. I'm very pleased. He nver melts down BUT he had a lot of intervetions early on that really helped him cope. I will miss his school when he graduates, which will be in two years. One last note: I would not and never have put L. into a behaviorally disturbed class or a class just for autistic spectrum kids. The kids were all diverse...some were just slower, some were Aspies, a few were Downs (he loved the one Downs girl and really protected her) and some are brilliant but can not focus (severe ADHD). There were about fifteen kids, a good number, with a teacher and an aide.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We found that difficult child 3 didn't really begin to make good academic progress until we had him at home. At first he was home for what at the time seemed a series of physical health problems but which alter turned out to be extreme anxiety. He was actually throwing a fever with anxiety. Now he is in a correspondence school which has been marvellous for him. It is increasingly a struggle academically, but the school is doing its best for him. We are currently going in to the school once a week for face to face lessons on a one-to-one basis. The biggest argument that was fielded against us removing difficult child 3 from mainstream was, "What about socialisation? He NEEDS social contact!"

    In actual fact, we realised that he does NOT need the sort of social interaction he was getting in mainstream. It is artificial - when else in a person's life is he going to have to be part of a group of children with a single adult in a position of authority? Now, we've found that with difficult child 3 learning at home, he has better access to a wider range of humanity. Just going shopping with him exposes difficult child 3 to the people we meet in the stores; the customers, the shopkeepers, children and adults of all ages, sizes, shapes and abilities. That is life; that is humanity. That is appropriate and relevant socialisation.

    We found that exposing difficult child 3 to the negative stuff in the classroom was actively teaching him inappropriate social skills. He was learning bad habits, undermining anything positive we could teach him. it's all very well to have a school rule that says, "respect others; do not hit others," but when difficult child 3 actually observed that rule was not applied fairly, he interpreted it as "respect others except for difficult child 3. Feel free to beat him up verbally and physically, you will not be punished for it but instead he will be the one blamed because of course it is right to attack the weird kid."

    These wrong rules can take a long time to unlearn. When difficult child 3 was attacked about three years ago, he believed he had provoked the attack by speaking to the other kids as they ran up to him excitedly saying, Let's get him."
    What did difficult child 3 say that was so provocative, that he blamed himself for? He had said, "Leave me alone."

    It may be possible to find the right placement. It certainly should be possible, morally. But in reality - life doesn't work that easily.

    So be prepared for the likelihood that the best placement, at least for a while to help him catch up and find his own feet academically, and also to have some breathing space - is to learn at home.

  6. Momslittleangels

    Momslittleangels New Member

    Thank you all so much for your stories and advice. I know my friend has considered homeschooling as well, and that may be the direction they have to go. In the meantime, they are pleading with the Special Education director to find additional supports, so he doesn't spend his entire day in the office.

    Fortunately, he has a little bit of time to learn some new coping skills and hopefully get mainstreamed in the future. For now, the large classrooms are just way too much for him to handle.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    On the subject of learning new coping skills - it's not that easy. The expectation in the system is, "these kids can cope because they have the capability of learning new coping skills. They are, after all, highly intelligent."

    The trouble is, being highly intelligent does not mean their brains are mature enough to make the leaps that are sometimes expected of them. Sometimes it's a matter of waiting until they have matured sufficiently. Some things can't be forced.

    For example, you may observe that you have a highly intelligent toddler, but that toddler is still unable to formulate complex algebraic equations. That, even if you force it, is going to take a few more years. Firth the child has to learn to count, then to read numbers, then to recognise the validity of abstract representation by pronumerals, then to understand mathematic operators... you see? There are steps which have to happen and they have to ALL happen, when the brain is ready. Generally a toddler is focussing on learning how to walk without falling down the stairs...

    We had this problem with difficult child 3's English teacher in Grade 9. A lovely lady, determined to help. But she was expecting far more of difficult child 3 than he was capable of. Yes, he could read fluently with a vocabulary at university level. But it was all concrete. hen she asked a question such as, "Why do you think Bob reacted the way he did, to what Jim said about his mother?" the question was not only too abstract, it was too far removed from difficult child 3's own understanding. Theory of mind - look it up. difficult child 3 is able NOW to understand theory of mind when he stops to concentrate, but in a panicking situation, his mind snaps back to instinctive, and theory of mind goes out the window. The English teacher would say things to difficult child 3 like, "You're a clever kid. I know you understand more than you let on. You've got your other bluffed, but you can't fool me."
    difficult child 3 would grin in embarrassment (I can read his body language) and the teacher would take this for acknowledgement that she was right and that difficult child 3 was admitting to it. In reality, difficult child 3 was smiling because the teacher was smiling, and because her focus on him was so intense that he was embarrassed. He would look away - another symptom of guilt, as far as the teacher was concerned. And she was so convinced that nothing I could say would persuade her differently. It was very frustrating.

    These kids will give you the answers they think you want to hear. You can even get an Aspie to admit they did something they didn't, to make the intense interrogation stop. These kids have to be questioned about things in a very impartial, detached way that does not prompt the answer, or you will never get the truth. Not tat the child is naturally deceptive - they tend to be truthful especially as they get older, because they are so bad at lying that they generally get aught out if they try it. But sometimes in their own minds, the truth can become what they think you want to hear - and then in the child's mind, that becomes defined as "truth".
    For example when difficult child 3 was in Grade 3 and he reported to me that a group of boys were hassling him and tripped him over in the playground. His friend witnessed it and backed up the story to me as I applied the dressings to the bleeding knees. But when I reported the incident to the teacher, who didn't want to be bothered having to deal with it, the teacher "interrogated" difficult child 3 and said, "Now you know it didn't happen that way. All those boys agree, you tripped over your own feet. Your friend was just lying. So you made a mistake, didn't you? Because of your autism you sometimes don't see what really happened, you can get it wrong."
    difficult child 3 came home to me and said, "Mr K said I must have seen things wrong because of my autism. And I was so sure I saw L stick his foot out and his mates laughing. I guess I must have seen it wrong..." he was really puzzled and confused, because the teacher 're-wrote' the story and it didn't gel with his own senses, but the teacher must be right, by definition. I spoke to friend - he had clearly been 'disciplined' by the bullies and would not speak about it at all, since the last time he told me the truth he had got into trouble - with the teacher, and then with the bullies. Poor kid. A bad lesson for him, that's what you get for sticking up for what is right and asking a grown-up for help.

    I was furious - but damage done, too difficult to un-do. It was the last time I tried to enlist help from that teacher. From that point on, I knew him to be unreliable, untruthful, expedient and a waste of space. And I could do nothing about that incident - the witnesses had been cowed and tainted, the truth re-written.

    This happens to Aspies and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids. it happens far too much. It happens THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME. Not just occasionally. You wonder why your Aspie child is increasingly aggressive and your discipline or social lessons are not working - it's because out there away from you, society is conspiring against your child. he is different therefore must be attacked.

    I don't know if you can get your hands on a copy of the film "The Black Balloon" on DVD, but in the Special Features there is an interview with the main actors (neither of whom have autism) about how they practised for the role by going out in public "in character". Luke Ford, who played the profoundly autistic brother, told how in public as someone with autism, he was horrified to find himself being deliberately baited whenever he was alone even briefly. And this was coming from people who should have known better, although he said the worst offenders were male and under 25. He said it gave him a new respect for the problems these kids have to face every minute of every day.
    There is a harrowing scene in the film of this sort of goading and bullying as well as the misunderstandings that so often happen when adults come to the rescue and attack the wrong person. Despite that, it is a very uplifting film, especially for the easy child siblings to see. It's also got its funny bits - because when you live with this, you have to keep your sense of the ridiculous.

  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    We have traveled that road and it is hearbreaking and stressful for the whole family. The concept of homeschooling to protect the child is "sometimes" a knee-jerk reaction. Making the school accountable is difficult but when it is possible, in my humble opinion, the child is more apt to integrate into society as a whole later on. In the case of our ADHD/ASP grandson he started off in all Special Education classes when he came to live with us in 5th grade. He graduated last year and only had one hour in a Special Education class that helped assure he was up to date on assignments etc.He never became, and likely will never become, a popular person but he was exposed to hundreds of other students and felt like a part of the student body.Following graduation he went to live with his Mother again and spends most of his time in his room and interacting almost solely with neighbors on his block. The lack of stimulation (and further education) is quickly erasing the progress made during those six years in school.It's a hard road. Not all of these kids are extremely bright. Almost all are "quirky" and lacking in social skills. If your friends live in a community (or near a community) with services and/or choices, I'd strongly suggest that they seek help in self-esteem building activities and find a qualified therapist of psychiatrist to help him. It will be worth the expense and effort. DDD
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I actually agree with the latter post.
    In the US there are good interventions in school for our spectrum kids...and they also learn to relate to other kids (at least my son did). He became, and still is, an important member of his school class and has done all the "normal" things they do plus some activities with his class as well. I think school is the better option here in the States. However, you do have to fight for your interventions and that's what I'd do...

  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We have good interventions here too. I think the operative term on making the school accountable is "when it is possible". It all depends on so much - the school and how effectively you can work with them, or even against them if necessary, to make them accountable and functional; the child and how adaptable he/she is to the change and the difficulties; the degree of damage done already by the school as well as the social problems caused by the other kids. Of course if a child can be kept in a mainstream setting and it can be made to work, then you do it. Making the school accountable, if it can be done, also means that the next special needs kid to come along will get a better deal.

    But sometimes you end up not only beating your own head against a brick wall, but your child's as well.

    An example - we have a wonderful high school in our area, it was the one easy child went to. It is a special school for gifted & talented kids, entry by competitive examination. Very difficult to get into. But a kid we met through difficult child 3's autism social group got in. At various stages he has done a lot of schoolwork at home due to physical illness issues on top of his autism. In terms of severity and social issues, he is more severe than difficult child 3. But in subjects like Maths & Science, this kid did brilliantly. The English component of the testing was multiple choice and focussed a lot on grammar and spelling, something he could do well because it has strict rules.
    However, this kid was having awful trouble in the school, his mother was often complaining to me about the difficulty she was having, making the school provide the accommodations her son needed. What she was wanting did make sense to me from my own experience, but I also was in a position to hear the school's side of it (I'm friends with a teacher from that school whose daughter was also in difficult child 3's class at the local school). If I only heard the mother's side of things, I would be angry with the school for their failure to make the changes needed. But the teacher was telling me that in this case, the accommodations this mother wanted, was to basically let her son off doing the schoolwork they felt he needed to do, to fill in the gaps in his knowledge. The mother would tell me how brilliant her son was, how he could discuss astrophysics with staff at the observatory, for example. But the teacher was telling me that while he could do that stuff, it was rote learning and he had no scaffolding of the necessary underlying knowledge; it was classic splinter skills without the accompanying reasoning ability. On top of this, the boy had been non-verbal until the age of 10, he had serious physical health problems and also needed transport to be provided. The interventions still needed were frankly too great. Yes, technically the mother could insist that the school put in place everything she was asking for; but at the end of the day, was her son really going to benefit as much as he would if she pulled him out of this school and put him into correspondence? I know both options and strongly believe that lad would have been far better off with the more intensive tuition options (also geared to his giftedness) available through the correspondence scheme. As far as social interaction - difficult child 3 doesn't miss out at all. Even if her were home-schooled, there would be ways of ensuring adequate and appropriate social interaction, but controlled to ensure the boy's safety as well as positive outcome from the interactions.

    This boy's mother chose to keep her son in the gifted school and continue to require them to provide for his needs, and I think in his case it was the wrong decision for this boy. The thing is - for him to get in, was a great honour. For the mother to pull him out would seem like failure and admission of defeat. But what needed to be considered here - what was going to be best for the lad? The honour of earning a place in the gifted school was clearly not helping him get the education he needed; even with all the possible accommodations in place, the child himself still struggles simply because the distraction factor in the classroom environment is not conducive to the child learning, at that stage in his brain development.

    difficult child 1 had similar problems in mainstream. We eventually pulled him out and put him into correspondence. He immediately improved his academic performance. We gave him longer to complete schooling (an option equally available in mainstream for us). When he finished his schooling, we enrolled him in a college course. This put him back in a classroom environment, the same environment he had previously done badly in. But with his brain now a few years more mature, he was finally coping. he actually did very well.

    I'm not saying that all Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids should be pulled out and hoe-schooled completely, and until their schooling is finished. Only that sometimes, especially when school phobia or other school social issues are getting badly out of hand for the child, they need a break from the combined mental effort of having to fit in socially as well as cope academically. Focus on just one of those for a while, let the child's brain mature a bit more, give him some respite form the added stress and then he will be more able to go back into that environment at a later stage, and do much better.

    You can leave the child in a bad placement and force it to become a good placement. But it takes a lot of effort, a lot of insistence and it's not always going to be a success. The process is not only difficult for the parent, it is also often hard on the child. And as with disciplining a difficult child, you MUST win this fight with the school or so much ground is lost.

    Sometimes you need to take stock of an individual situation and make a choice. And always the choice should be based on - what will be the best option in this particular case, for the child?

    MWM, your son is doing marvellously now, in his placement. it is, for him at this time, exactly right for him. difficult child 3 also is in the right placement for him, at this time. It's not perfect, but the school is making a great many accommodations for him. No other placement would work as well for him.

    Every case is different, every child is different. But it is most important to know that socially, mainstream is not always the best place. And home is far from the worst. We were told (erroneously, as we have since discovered) that pulling an autistic child out of a mainstream setting is a disaster, socially. In fact we found it to be the opposite. Socially, difficult child 3 has improved vastly since we pulled him out of mainstream. We gave him back the control he needed, to walk away from bad interactions. In school he did not have that freedom and he would often find himself being bullied but unable to get the support and protection he should have had. His face blindness meant he could not identify the culprits and so the staff could not take action to support him. Ideally, he needed to be watched, eyes on him every minute of the school day, but this also would have been bad socially as it would have singled him out even more.

    We each make our choices based on what will be best for the child in this case at tis time. But it needs to be an informed choice, not always easy when information is not always available, not always truthful. We were told a great many lies and propaganda, by people who really didn't know as much as they should have. If I had continued to stay and fight to re-educate these people, my son would have suffered even more. I did what I could, I brought about more change than was thought to be possible, but I had to finally let go of a lot so I could focus on my son's needs.

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Marg, you are right that it's individual. I am very lucky that L. goes to a small school that respects all kinds of kids and that my fight for interventions worked. I'm NOT a shrinking violet though :tongue: and had no problem addressing the issue with the State Dept.of Education who made sure the district did what it said it would do. I am not a good teacher and I did homeschool L. for a year, which I feel was wasted. He also wasted time in a private school that did not acknowledge his disability...I feel that for the most part religious private schools are not helpful for our kids here since they don't have to help kids who have learning differences., but we gave it a whirl. It was hit or miss and this public school turned out to be a big hit. In Wisconsin, we can choose to send our kids to schools that are not in our district. So I shopped around. I did not want my son in a class only for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids and he was in a class (only halt the day) for kids who had all sorts of learning issues and because he was smart he became a leader in the class and he was thrilled being able to have that role. It gave him lots of confidence. He had an aide if he needed it for the other classes. She sat in the far back of the class and nobody knew the aide was for L. and, in fact, she was there for several kids who may have needed her, but she taught Lucas a lot, such as how to see the big picture rather than focusing on every unimportant detail...and how to organize and takes notes. That helped for later on, when he was able to handle mainstreaming. And every step of the way, I hung around the school making sure they did what they said they were going to do. And they did. And I became good friends with L's teacher and aide too, which helped.

    Other homeschooling problems: A lot of people work full time, taking the option out of the picture.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Yes. That does make it very unfair, for those who can't stay at home.

    Interestingly, another fellow student of difficult child 3's actually did better with his schoolwork when left alone, so his mother went back to work. When she came home she would leaf through his completed work, sign it off and post it back. That young man topped the grade last year and has now left the school system to accelerate into college. The Asperger's has made it possible for him to organise himself and self-discipline to work independently. The correspondence teachers knew that mum had gone back to work, but could also see that the boy was still turning in good work. He came into the school to do his exams (difficult child 3 does the same thing - it's optional) and clearly could do well without cheating.

  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Homeschooling in the US in most states is not supervised by anybody. The parents do what they want to do. They don't even have to have a cirriculum. The year I homeschooled I did it alone without having to show anybody what we were doing or using any cirriculum. There are no standards. You could actually let your kids play all day and that would be ok...nobody would even know. Many homeschooling parents do "unschooling" which is just learning by living life and working along side the parents. It works well sometimes. At any rate, once you're out of the school district, they are not allowed to question you or keep up with you and in our state our kids don't even have to be tested. There is little to no help from a public school and no teacher except mom who needs to sign off on anything. Homeschooling parents do not report to and are not held responsible for any standards but their own, which nobody checks. That's maybe why homeschooling is different here. Some states do mandate some controls, but most do not.

    Another thing: Your kids are exceptionally high functioning. L. is not at that level and needs somebody with him when he does his work. It is "iffy" if he will be able to do college work, but, if so, it will be one class at a time. Some Aspies can go to college and graduate to a mainstream job. At this point in time, that does not seem like it will work for my son. He needs much more redirection in life than other kids and will likely need a hand picked job and possibly social security.

    If I went to work and left L. alone to do his work on his own, he would probably panic. Although there are always lots of stories about Aspies who get good jobs, there are also Aspies who can't seem to work in a regular environment at all. My friend's son is an Aspie with an IQ of 160. He taught himself six languages and is very religions and learned much of the bible by rote. Yet he has been fired from every job he's ever had, including a janitor's job. He can't seem to fit into a work environment and is on social security with his wife working. And his marriage is "iffy" too. Sometimes she gets tired of pulling all the weight.

    There is such a broad spectrum of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). And I do think some are called Aspies when, in fact, they really aren't Aspies, but Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified or High Functioning Autism. And, of course, some have more deficits in life than others do. So it really varies widely as to what works for different kids.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Interesting. As I said, all kids are different. I also agree - at the moment, what a kid gets diagnosed with can be very subjective.

    Here, home-schooling still requires the parent to develop a curriculum, to justify to the Dept of Ed, the level of education the child will be getting. While technically you could simply keep your kids home and not give them anything academic to do, there still needs to be some level of audit, where the parent reports back on the learning outcomes and matches it to the required curriculum for the child if he/she were in mainstream. But there is still flexibility - for example, a child who goes shopping with his mother and who helps follow a shopping list; who helps determine which is the most economic size and brand of tinned spaghetti, can tick the box for a number of learning outcomes, in mathematics, in life skills, in reading, in commerce.

    difficult child 1 is bright, but has chosen a career path that has him working with his hands - he wants to be a carpenter. Originally he wanted to study science at uni, but has now given that idea up. Although he's smart, he can't multi-task mentally, which meant that writing essays etc was almost impossible for him without a great deal of support. He also would read a text and not be able to pull out the information he needed - he had to assess the stuff he read and decide which bit was of more value, and tis required too many mental steps.

    There are many different kinds of intelligence. I've tended to always treat children as if they are highly intelligent, it tends to stimulate what intelligence there is and helps them take maximum advantage of it.

    A friend rang our place on Saturday while I was at the library. She was asking where I was. She mentioned a book to difficult child 3 on Asperger's, difficult child 3 responded with, "I don't have Asperger's, I have autism. Although I'm not really sure on what basis they distinguish between autism and Asperger's in my case."
    I know difficult child 3 is very bright, but there are times increasingly when I really wonder if we are going to be able to get him to graduate from high school.


  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Marg, I hear ya.

    However, when you are so life-imparied sometimes intelligence isn't enough. My son is book smart (as is my friend's son...he is BRILLIANT) but my son is also life skills imparied and very unsure of himself. A harsh boss would scare him. High expectations would make him panic and be unable to perform. I don't know if this will be the case forever, but I am guessing that son will work through our Job Services Program, which finds jobs for disabled kids. That way the boss will be more understanding. Otherwise..they're not. I suspect L. will not fully mature until about 25 and then we'll see how well he can compensate for his social deficits. And he's been getting intense help for them all of his life, both in school, at home with us and in the community. If he hadn't, I don't think there'd be ANY chance he can someday find a decent job. Unfortunately, although my son is smart, he is not particularly skilled in anything that gets one a good job. He has a fabulous memory, just like my friend's son, but it's rote. He has a lot of trouble with abstract thinking and multi-tasking, both needed for most jobs (other than McDonalds). At this point in time, he will need a job with a lot of reptition and will be proud of his work, even if it's not prestigious. He's not at all worried about what others think of him. On the plus side he has a fabulously winning personality and everyone loves him. That will help him get along in the work force. He is also highly compliant, loves to please, and is extremely responsible. So..we are going to slow down L's "matureness" curb. His diagnosis was actually Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified and he had a speech delay. He has just come along so far they changed it to High-Functioning Autism (HFA) or sometimes Aspergers.

    As for homeschooling here, without any accountability at all (and I do mean NONE) at least in many states you can neither get anyone to look over the work you are doing with your child nor test the child nor utilize the public school system. Most homeschooling parents want the government OUT of their child's education completely...they feel the government doesn't do a good job...and that is how it is in most states. You simply need to send a note to the Dept. of Publi Education that you are homeschooling...and you never hear from them again. That's why homeschooling was such a struggle for me. If we hit a bump there was nowhere to turn and I couldn't have the kids tested with the school kids to see how they were doing. Again, this varies state-to-state, but I think our state is pretty much the norm. Americans tend to dislike government and the government often backs out and let's us do it our way. Therefore, if you homeschool, you'd better be a dang good teacher who doesn't need much direction...or else know somebody who IS a darn good teacher who can help you. So it's a bit more complicated here. In our state, the kids can not participate in public school sports or any activities if they are homeschooled.

    A lot of our homeschooling is done by religious folks who object to the school curriculum or those whose kids have done so poorly at school that the parents are (rightly) sick of dealing with them and would rather try themselves. I think California and NY do require some accountability, but I'm not sure. It's not on the level where you have a teacher who signs off on the work that your kid does, I don't believe. Pretty much if you choose to leave the school district and do it at home, you are not given any problem, but don't expect any help either. None. So it's a hard decision.
  16. Momslittleangels

    Momslittleangels New Member

    MWM & Marguerite......These are great discussions and I enjoyed reading them. I actually homeschooled my easy child for a semester and we had to create a curriculum and report to the sponsoring school on a regular basis (we are in CA). There IS accountability in this state, which is good if you need support with the process. Personally, I found it too demanding on my time (working full-time). Ultimately, my easy child ended up going to a Charter School and graduated at 16. That worked well for HER, but it is not for everyone.

    I do sympathize with my friends though...we want so badly to make sure our children get a good education and when their social ineptness interferes with that, it can be extremely frustrating.

    I am going to check out the movie that Marguerite mentioned........sounds like it could be an eye opener. Thank you so much for your stories and thoughts.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yep. I thought CA had well as NY. I do think most states have little to none and many don't even keep tabs on your kids after they are gone. The homeschooling moms I met when I did it talked about CA and NY as "too meddlesome."

    My son actually learned to socialize at school. The year he stayed home, in spite of play dates with other homeschooled kids, he became more into himself so for him it was a bad fit. At least he can handle himself now. Unless you were told, you'd never think he was on the spectrum. Most people are surprised and say, "Oh, I just thought he was shy"

    Another homeschooling trivia, at least in states like Wsiconsin: If a child is being abused at home and the parent says he is homeschooling the child, the child never gets time away from the parent and nobody checks up on him. No social worker/teacher/community leader drops by just to make sure Little Joey is doing all right even though he doesn't go to school. Nobody is allowed to interfere. I've read many sad autobiographies of abused kids whose only escape was's scary to think that a parent can take that escape from the child.
  18. Momslittleangels

    Momslittleangels New Member

    Wow - - that is VERY scary....They need to fix that process, before something happens (which it may have already). Geesh...
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A problem with home-schooling then, will be whether the various authorities etc will accept a child's achievements. Even here, with accountability and checks, it can be difficult for a homeschooled child to have their level of education recognised.

    DIL2 was home-schooled. He has a certificate stating he has equivalence to our Higher School Certificate. This certificate is supposed to open the same doors; his homeschooling was overseen by Dept of Ed to ensure it complied. But he has found that a lot of places have not accepted his qualifications.

    The thing is - for some kids, it really is the only way they will ever learn anything. You can then slide them back into the education system as and when they can cope (hey, even if you have to wait until they're 40!)

    MWM, don't lose heart for your child's chances. I hear you on the "good at book learning in some areas, lousy at social skills, frightened of their own shadow" hassles. We went through this with difficult child 1. Also his best friend, who is even more withdrawn and has problems with people. Thing is - you aim for the sort of career path where they won't have to deal with members of the public en masse. Forget about being used car salesmen. But for difficult child 3, for example, who is very geeky and brilliant with computers, he will make an ideal troubleshooter in the computing industry. He's lousy at drawing so he wouldn't make a very good animator, but some Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids who are also good at drawing and computers can get into animation or special effects.

    difficult child 1 originally wanted to be a zookeeper, but found it was too difficult to manage the study. He3 should have been able to do it, I was very angry that the system got in the way. But he decided to change direction and tried to get an apprenticeship. it took him another five years before he had an apprenticeship, he now is in his first year (at age 26!) of a cabinetmaking apprenticeship.

    We believed we would always have our boys living with us. difficult child 1 had the occasional girlfriend, but socially he was hard work and finally the girls realised it and moved on. But daughter in law seems to 'get' him - when we met her mother, we understood why. Mind you, we have to constantly coach him on how to be a good husband, how to NOT be the child in the relationship.

    difficult child 3 is already thinking of his romantic future - last night at the Chinese restaurant, he opened up his fortune cookie. "You will soon meet someone who will be influential in your life." He looked at me and said, "So I will soon meet the right girl? Or am I being too hasty?"

    We pointed out, "You're only just 16, you have plenty of time yet."

    husband & I were talking about this on the drive home just now - we also worry about how difficult it is becoming for difficult child 3 to get his schoolwork done. But we went through the same struggles with difficult child 1. It took longer, but he did matriculate from high school. We just had to allow the extra time. And in the meantime, work towards the qualifications he was likely to need.

    Socially - they do continue to mature and learn to overcome their fears. Using a disability employment service is great, they can help with liaison with an employer. I also have stayed involved and helped out here too. An employer who understands the needs of someone with Asperger's is also someone more likely to understand the benefits of employing an Aspie. That is what you look for.

    The first jobs could be very simple, boring tasks. Almost sheltered workshop stuff. But we all have to start somewhere, the first lesson to learn is the work ethic. The Aspie employee gets the idea of what they like and what they don't like.

    The biggest problem we faced, once we got our Aspie into the workforce, was their misplaced sense of loyalty. Employers can take really bad advantage of them because these kids will show loyalty other people to a greater extent than is often deserved. difficult child 1's first job - they asked him to to things he simply wasn't qualified for or capable of, then when he made mistakes, they sacked him. His next job - they didn't gibe him pay slips. And the government paperwork he had to fill in, required those pay slips. As a result, difficult child 1 began to have serious problems with government officials. Then his boss retrenched him (GFC). They had been promising him an apprenticeship, they originally were teaching him various tasks, but once they found something he was brilliant at that other people hated doing (because it's risky and boring) they left him on that job and stopped teaching him. He also refused to look for other apprenticeships, because to look around was disloyal, as he saw it.

    The thing is, over time difficult child 1 has learned that you can be loyal to an employer while you're there on the job, but that is where the loyalty stops. You have yourself to be loyal to also, as well as your family. There is also legislation in place as well as various organisations, whose job it is to make sure you are not being exploited.

    When difficult child 1 was 20, he was still finishing high school (three years after other students). He was barely ready. Then we enrolled him in a Saturday morning college course in the city. I had to go with him (and his Aspie friend) to help them through the enrolment process and make sure that the disability staff at the college were on board helping the boys. Together they supported each other, getting to and from the college (a daunting task initially). They would finish their class then begin to explore the city, ranging further each week and gaining confidence. Together they felt stronger and more confident. I never would have thought either of them would ever manage the things they did together. And now can do alone.

    It takes time, but they can find their niche. There is one, there is always a niche for a bright kid who has abilities in a particular area. It's just a matter of finding the niche and helping your child to have the confidence to give it a go, with support in place at least initially.

    At difficult child 3's drama class we see other parents worrying over what will become of their children when they have to get a job. A Downs girl of almost 17 is being transitioned to work, although her mother doesn't think she is ready for it. She just had her Work Experience week cleaning tables in the food area of a local mall. She did well, but the mother knows that if things go bad, her girl will simply run. Anywhere. Not looking. Even onto a road. There are a lot of hurdles for this girl, before she can get a job. But services are there to help.

    difficult child 3 just did his Work Experience, at the school in the computers section. It showed that it is the choice for his future. But he won't be able to run his own business. He needs to work for someone, with a boss telling him what he needs to do, and keeping him on task.

    You find what your child is interested in, what he loves, and make sure he has access to it. You then find something related to it and lead him there as well. Keep his hobbies open, then try to find a job linked to his hobbies.

    There is generally a lot more hope than you realise.

  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Marg, I am not hopeless. I want my son to have the life he was meant to have and is happy having. High achievement in the workforce is not important to me as long as he does work to stay active and is housed and cared for. If he can do it himself one day, good. If not, we will have the situation covered for when we no longer can't. My goal for him is not to become "typical." Right now he has no desire to date or marry. If that doesn't change, I don't care. It's his life and he is wired differently and the things that many parents think are vitally important, he does not. I want HIM to be happy, not me ;) I'll be happy anyway as long as he's content and I think he will be. He has that sort of contented personality.

    My son's hobbies are videogames and watching cartoons and riding his bike...not marketable skills there. In time, perhaps he'll develop more of an interest in the workings of a computer, but so far he is only about the games. Efforts to focus his narrow interests on other things have failed as he is, like most on the spectrum, into his obsessions. He will do other things, but his mind is always on his obsessions. He even has a huge notebook with every game he ever played listed, classified, etc....same with It must have taken forever for him to do that!

    Although some kids do well in homeschool some kids ca not adjust to homeschooling too. Lots of kids have trouble either learning on their own or from a parent. I still say, it's very individual...I say take advantage of all your school and community resources because you'll be out there one day, even if it's with some help.