School Help

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Larkspur, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. Larkspur

    Larkspur Cam

    I've come here for help for my younger brother. I am an older teen, and my parents are at a loss right now. I'm trying to get any sort of help and advice, because he is destroying his future.

    My brother is 13, going into 8th grade, and has high-functioning autism. He is insanely smart- but refuses to do any schoolwork. After 4-5 hours of complaining and refusing to do it (No joke), he will finally give in and finish a small worksheet that could have easily taken him 5 min.

    He gets help from the school because of his motor skill issues and behavioral issues. He is the sweetest kid I've ever met, but when it comes to schoolwork, it's "like his personality just shuts off" (as my mom says). He has gotten suspended for a week for getting angry at the teacher, and constantly gets in trouble for refusing to do his work. I've even found his homework stuffed in the bushes.

    We've genuinely tried everything. We've offered him rewards for doing his work. We've taken away his electronics for refusing to do it. When he throws a fit, my mom sends him to do his work in a quiet room (where the only thing to do is his work. There are no distractions in there.). He will sit there and not do anything, no matter how many times we explain that he isn't going to get out of his schoolwork by doing this. He seems to genuinely not understand the concept that he is required to do his work, and complaining only causes him to waste time and sit there longer.
    He can't take online school, we can't put him in a Special Education class, and we can't take him to a private Special Education school. It's not that we don't have the funds- it's that we are trying to make sure that he lives a "normal" childhood with all of the other kids. We don't want him to be any more "different" than he already is. He takes rec therapy, is on anxiety medications, and goes to tutoring after school.
    My mom has had to quit her job so that she can be with him right after school so he can finish his work. My dad has a high-income job, so it's not that much of an issue, but her job earned all of the extra money. We can't go out and do things because he isn't allowed to do anything unless he finishes his work (but he does get a 20 min break after he finishes a page of work). I can't spend actual time with my mom because all of her time is taken up by him.

    I'm just extremely frustrated. He is failing all of his classes, and he will probably live with my parents for a long time. I feel awful for my mom, because most of her time is spent attempting to make my brother finish his schoolwork.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What is this work accomplishing? Does he need this work to actually learn the concepts, like an essay to demonstrate that he can write one, or is it more busywork like a bunch of math problems?

    I had a son who would not do homework. We finally wrote into his IEP that he was not allowed to have homework. Ever. His teachers loathed me, but I could not have cared less. Most of it was busywork to prove that they assigned homework, not to really teach my kid. My kid already knew the concepts.

    If it is a sheet of math problems, usually the hardest ones are at the bottom. If he can do the bottom row, to demonstrate he knows the concepts, and he gets them all correct, he doesn't have to do the rest because he has demonstrated his knowledge. Work this into his IEP.

    Your brother has already spent the whole day in school. He is overwhelmed and truly, deeply, honestly NEEDS the evening to decompress. If he does not have it, if he has to spend more time on schoolwork, he probably feels he is going to explode or have something equally awful happen. He just cannot tell you this because he isn't fully able to express his feeling to himself, much less to you.

    His educational plan, or IEP, needs to be redone to eliminate homework. It will solve all of these issues. Or to eliminate most homework.

    The other option is for your parents to just decide to drop the battle. I did that one year also. I decided it was my son's problem and not mine. His special education teacher promised it was her battle and he would do homework in his hour in her room, a sort of study hall. It made life at home much easier.

    Has anyone ever picked a calm time and asked your brother why he won't do homework? What the big deal is? Why he makes such a fuss over a 5 minute worksheet? Asked it at a time when he does not have any homework to do? It needs to be a neutral, calm, pleasant time. You need to figure out what the big stressor is, why it is causing him such a big problem. People with autism don't cause a fuss for no reason, but their reasons often are not obvious to other people. You have to get them to explain their thinking before you can figure out a way to fix the problem.

    I think you also need to talk to you parents and explain that you need some time with your mom. That even though homework may be a big crisis, you need to be able to have some time with her. Parents are not perfect, and sometimes we need to be reminded if we are not meeting our children's needs. We would far rather have our kids say something than have them need us but not say something.

    Your parents and brother are very lucky to have you. It isn't every sister who would go looking for a solution to a problem like this. Many sisters would just whine about it or throw a fit about not having time with Mom to do what they want or about losing those extras.
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    We wrote in sons IEP that he will do homework in school. Only.
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    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  4. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Hi there,

    I am confused - does your brother have an IEP (is he a special education student, even if he is in all "regular" classes)? Why can he not take online school, or be placed in a special education class, or a therapeutic school?

    I am sure you love your brother very much, but he is destroying your family from what you describe. It seems that the situation cannot continue as it is.

    Maybe ask your mom to post here, as she may have all of the educational and medical details that you, as an older sibling, might not know.
  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I did ask my son, who is on the spectrum, why he doesnt like homework. He said he is at school long enough and its too hard to do more school at home. It was well worth getting him to finish homework during school. He did pretty well, was always well behaved and is doing better and better each year. He will be 24 soon, lives on his own and has two jobs. He is calm, sweet and very beloved in the community.

    Autistics are wired differently. They need schooling that works for them and special interventions. Their inner hatdware is way more sensitive than most and they can not be forced to be like "everyone else." Autism is a neurological difference, not a behavioral problem, and it needs to be respected for what it is. Interventions such as Occupational Therapist (OT) and physical therapy and social skills training can make a huge difference in an autistic persons life. My son got these services in school. He no longer needs them.

    Homework should not overwhelm somebidy or it isnt going to help them. I would get no homework written into the IEP. Get a free advocate by calling your state's Dept. Of Public Education...every state has free advocates to work with parents of disabled children. Ours was phenomenal. We got everything we asked for. Tell your parents!

    My son was in Special Education and he lives a normal normal as an autistic person can. Your parents can not teach him to be normal. He is different. They can utilize services that will help him learn to navigate our world. Forcing him to learn as though he is "normal" ( whatever that is) could stop him from being independent as an adult. They NEED special attention and special treatment or they may just get isolated by their peers and teased and start to think they are "bad." Your brother is partly having a hard time because he is likely overwhelmed and not getting any help. That is NOT the way to launch him into an independent adult life! Your parenrs attempt to make him more normal are making him unhappy, failing, and giving you no time. They need to go to an autism specialist to learn how to REALLY help your brother. The way they are doing itis not going to work.

    Show these to your mom (sounds like Dad works a lot and its all on her). She means well but is going about this the wrong way in my opinion. My son never flunked a class. And he is thriving in life. And his sister got tons of attention.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017