Using Your Child’s Special Interests To Facilitate Learning

Your child’s special interests are key

For years now, our home has been overrun with fish tanks, reptiles and computers.

My oldest son has been fascinated with fish and aquariums since he was three years old. When he was 12, this fascination expanded to include building computers (because building a computer is a lot like building an aquarium filtration system, but without the stinky water).

My youngest has loved animals of all kinds since before he could walk and has been memorizing every reptile detail and factoid possible since he began to talk.

There’s no escaping it – my children need these interests. It’s part of how they interact with others and often, how they cope with overwhelm. It’s enjoyable for them.

As much as I would prefer a lizard-free, tidy, no aquarium in sight home, I have decided that the best approach is to find ways to support their interests, and sometimes, even use them to my advantage.

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Why Use Routines for Special Needs Homeschoolers? …and More

Flourishing with routines

I have always believed that homeschooling was the absolute best choice for my boys due to their need for structure and routines. I’ve learned that they absolutely thrive under having a routine that changes very, very rarely. Any changes in their normal scheduling sometimes creates chaos and causes them to regress. Regression means returning to a state or condition that you were previously in.

For my boys that can mean going back to not remembering how to academically or mentally return to a previous state that they were in emotionally as well. For example, if one of my sons has mastered verbs and something in his homeschooling schedule changes on a Tuesday, then by Thursday, he has forgotten what a verb is and how to recognize one. So we try not to change anything up if possible. Sometimes life happens and doing things differently is completely unavoidable.

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What Happens to Our Special Needs Kids After High School?

What’s going to happen after high school is over?

You and your student have made it to high school and are nearing the end. “What happens after high school?” is looming over your thoughts. You’ve spent the last three to four years preparing your special needs student for the “real world” with life skills and vocational education, but how do you launch them into adulthood?

Legal Guardianship or Independent

Obviously this depends largely on your child’s particular challenges, and you will have to adjust to his/her needs, but I will help point you towards resources and ideas to encourage you on this new journey. For most of us, we will be managing some aspect of our child’s life as long as we can. So part of this adult plan will be deciding on our child’s capabilities and if legal guardianship is necessary. Discuss this with your child, your child’s doctor and your family. Have realistic expectations going into this new season.

 

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Alleviate Your Sensory Challenges with This Tool!

Homeschooling is great for alleviating sensory challenges

We homeschool in part for Cub to have a positive sensory environment so he can focus on learning and not on the sensory challenges he’d have in a traditional classroom. We also make an effort to participate in learning opportunities in our community when we can.  By controlling our sensory diet we can work on his coping skills when we are out and about, facing sensory challenges.

Cub’s Autism shows itself strongly with his sensory sensitivities, things like loud noises and busy crowded spaces can be overwhelming and make him easily agitated and anxious. We have learned many ways we can help him control his sensory input from working with an Occupational Therapist.  Through trial and error, we found the ones that work the best for Cub.

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Social Skills Training for Children on the Spectrum

Yes, you can teach social skills to children with autism

Surprised? Just like every other skill that your child with autism will learn, you will have to think outside the box, work at their developmental level and make it a habit regularly. Those three things will guarantee success with social skills training.

Thinking outside the box simply means you can’t just throw your child into a social situation and hope for the best.  What I have found to be a recipe for success here in Autismland, is to have a working list of skills Logan needs to work on as well as his current developmental level.  This enables me to know what outings we need to have that month to work on specific skills. Yes, I schedule social skill outings into our calendar each week. Social skills training is treated as one of our homeschool subjects.  I can not expect success if I do not give him the proper training. 

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