An Introduction
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Thread: An Introduction

  1. #1
    WritingMom is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    A little about me: I am a WAHM mom and a published author with three amazing kids. (Four if my husband counts.)

    My youngest son turns 4 at the end of the month and is diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. We plan to start him on T4L next year. For now, he is using ABCmouse for PreK.

    My daughter, age 5 1/2, missed the kindergarten cut-off date for school. She's a level 2/3 gymnast, speaks some Spanish, and was unofficially homeschooled up until now and works at a 1st grade level. Since we decided to officially home school, we are having her do the Kindergarten grade work, though she hates it and we spend most of the time trying to get her to finish her own work instead of trying to give the answers to her older brother, who's re-taking 1st grade (more on that in a moment). We think she might do K and 1st this year.

    My oldest son is 6 1/2. He has Autism. He's very high functioning now (and verbal!) but he wasn't always. Our early experiences with him in the public school system were great. Until they decided to move him to Kindergarten before he was ready. He spent 9 months having tantrums at school that eventually overflowed to in the home before the school moved him to an autistic cluster. He learned almost nothing in kindergarten, but they still moved him up to 1st grade. He was better in the new program, but the environment was still too much over-stimulation for him. He has bad behavioral outbursts and we had to have the paramedics out to our house once because of how badly he hurt his younger brother during a rage. His rages are doing better now. Many times people meet him and think we must never discipline him, but that's not the case. Anyway, my son recently learned he could say certain things to get out of class. Things that would make the cops come to the school, or mental health crisis teams, etc. Once he realized what to say, he started saying these things all the time until it turned into a daily occurrence. At home, however, we ignore those kind of comments (or talk to him about what he said LATER) and we reward good behavior. At home, he doesn't exhibit these behaviors nearly as much.

    I wish I could say we started homeschooling because we wanted to, but it started with my son, because of how miserable he was at school and how little he was learning. We spent hours a night working with him on all the things he WASN'T learning at school. This was going to be the end of his 1st grade year, and they were going to move him up to 2nd grade. Yet he's still struggling with the 1st grade BASICS. They assured us he was on par with other kids going into 2nd grade, and that's when we realized maybe public schools weren't right for our kids if they will get moved up without learning anything.

    This led to our decision to homeschool all of our kids. We've just started. Our oldest son is retaking 1st grade. He barely made the cut off date for the year he was in anyway, so with his Autism I feel comfortable with him staying back a year, if that's what it takes. Our daughter we plan to do kindergarten over the summer and start 1st grade in the fall. She's the opposite of her brother: she barely *missed* the cut off, and because she learns quickly and easily, now that she's 5 1/2 she finds kindergarten work to be boring and too easy. (That's not to say there haven't been a few kindergarten-level things along the way she HADN'T learned yet. So it's good for her to complete the grade).

    Already we see a huge difference in my son. I admit that sometimes it can be frustrating explaining one idea to him for 45 minutes and he still doesn't get it, BUT overall he is happier and getting more work done each day. We're also supplementing the kids reading with ReadingEggs (more for fun). We may try dreambox for math, but we want to see how they do with T4L first and if they really need extra math practice or not. For writing we are using workbooks.

    This intro is already quite long. I basically just wanted to say hi and share our story. I hope to learn more. I'd also be curious if anyone has tips for teaching special needs kids.

  2. #2
    Mandy in TN is offline Senior Member
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    "He has bad behavioral outbursts and we had to have the paramedics out to our house once because of how badly he hurt his younger brother during a rage."

    This would concern me enough that I would seriously consider sending the other two to school for a year while I focused on finding the appropriate training, therapy, and meds for the oldest. His rages are better now isn't the same as saying he no longer has violent outbursts or that due to intensive therapy and meds you feel 100% confident that he will not injure his siblings in a fit of rage or that due to training you have received that you can handle situations that arise in such a way that you are confident you can protect your other children. Isolating the other two children 24/7 in an environment where there is concern that a third of their class will bully and abuse them to the extent that they will need medical attention is certainly not better than the environment from which you are removing your oldest.

    I apologize if I am way off base and, of course, you know your children and how best to meet their needs.
    Mandy
    ds Doodlebug 11yo
    currently homeschooling with an eclectic mess of stuff

    homeschool graduates:
    ds Cashew 20yo
    ds Peanut 22yo

  3. #3
    Brook Simmons's Avatar
    Brook Simmons is offline Senior Member
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    I had a couple of situations with my special needs daughter where she had huge temper-tantrums. She had got violent enough that I told her she needed to go to her room because if she hurt me again I was going to call the police and she would have to go live with another family. i told her that I did not want that and she could go destroy her room and calm herself down and I would still love her. To note, later I found out she was bullied at school that day and was having a really bad reaction to her medicine. Her not getting her way when she got home made her explode and I was not giving in.
    My daughter is behind emotionally most of the time she does not understand emotions and does not know how to explain things that happened to her making her very frustrated. She does not get a lot of simple or ordinary things. She takes it on faith or gets mad letting me know she is not ready to learn that.

    I say get your kids to teach each other. You can step in for guidance and redirection but kids being teachers and helping and guiding each other helps them learn alot and makes a strong family bond. If sis is helping with 1st grade work she is ready to learn that and brother just might not but later sis will teach him when he is ready.I only see that as an issue if he gets tired of her interrupting his work. Whats great about T4L is they can repeat it as many times as they like and not everything has to be at the same learning level. Find a way to have a balance of rewards for there work. School and chores are the job. Anything that is not a need is a reward. T4L has a lesson on what is a basic need and you can use it to explain how many rewards they have(and how many you are able to take away). As long as you are prepping to them to be adults that can function in a good way in society to the best of your ability's I think everything will be fine. I am sure your family already had safety things in plan for situations they do not change in a home school situation. However my only suggestion would be a space of there own to be able to take time out to calm down. walk away or not be bothered that will be only theirs(the renter) and parent zone unless invited by the renter of the space.

  4. #4
    WritingMom is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandy in TN View Post
    "He has bad behavioral outbursts and we had to have the paramedics out to our house once because of how badly he hurt his younger brother during a rage."

    This would concern me enough that I would seriously consider sending the other two to school for a year while I focused on finding the appropriate training, therapy, and meds for the oldest. His rages are better now isn't the same as saying he no longer has violent outbursts or that due to intensive therapy and meds you feel 100% confident that he will not injure his siblings in a fit of rage or that due to training you have received that you can handle situations that arise in such a way that you are confident you can protect your other children. Isolating the other two children 24/7 in an environment where there is concern that a third of their class will bully and abuse them to the extent that they will need medical attention is certainly not better than the environment from which you are removing your oldest.

    I apologize if I am way off base and, of course, you know your children and how best to meet their needs.
    Mandy
    I appreciate your concern. These things actually happened during non school hours (hence him being home) so his siblings would have been home then too, even if they were at school during the day. That said, the rages don't happen as much anymore and when they do they don't involve hurting himself or others anymore (at home). By saying his rages are under control now, I mean that he more screams and hides in his room rather than lash out towards other people.

    While the aggression toward others was going on (the time we had to call paramedics) we found him a hospital placement, and until the hospital was able to take him, his siblings had stayed with family nearby. He is doing better because of therapy, but to be honest, the school was undoing a lot of the therapy he was receiving (ie--feeding into the things he says for attention, which built up his emotional outbursts), so that made it a struggle for a while, though that was more at school.

    Also, his worst rages had happened while trying medications, but the medications seemed to help him at school (but made him worse at home). He took the meds twice a day, so it wasn't due to the meds wearing off. That was the medicine that worked "best" for him. the others made him worse all around I'm glad we have that behind us. My point in sharing this wasn't to raise alarm or for it to be assumed I don't know how to take care of all three of my kids, but rather to give an idea of where we'd been and how we got here. The stimulation of school was causing increased aggression in my son. I don't think many people can understand what it is like dealing with autistic rages with other kids in the house unless they have been there. It's easy to judge.

    To give further perspective, since we've started homeschooling, my son has been saying things such as, "I am having a great childhood." and expressing feeling loved and being loving. His frustrations have gone way down, due to not being exposed to hours of over-stimulation. Also, in seeing the schools opinion of my son's academics (IE: he doesn't know any 1st grade curriculum, but they told me he is "on track with other 1st graders" and "ready to move to 2nd grade" that frightened me about sending my other two kids to the schools here Ultimately, our main concern as a family is for all of our kids to be happy and healthy and well-adjusted. We would never, for the record, leave our kids in what we believe is a dangerous environment.

  5. #5
    WritingMom is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Brook, it's great to hear from you. Sounds as though you can understand where I'm coming from. Your situations sounds almost identical to our own. This was where the school was undoing our work. Our son will say things to get what he wants. For example, he would tell us that if we didn't pack the lunch he wanted for school, he would tell the school that someone was shooting at our house. It makes no sense, but these kinds of things would get him a LOT of attention at school. One time he came home and told us the whole school burned down, which obviously wasn't true. But he would say these things to get attention. Not because he doesn't already get attention, though. So at home, we ignore these things. If he said "No one loves me" we say "We all love you very much." If he keeps going on about it, we ignore it. Later on I'll have a talk to him about it, and he'll tell me, "I was just mad you didn't give me chocolate" or whatever it is. It's not that he really doesn't feel loved. The other 95% of the time he is telling us that "everyone loves him, the whole world, even astronauts and people on the moon!" His behavioral plan, which has been working excellent, is to ignore anything we can, such as whining, making up "stories" for attention, etc. For anything aggressive, we immediately put him in his room (which is a safe place for him). His behaviors proved rapidly since we began this. But then at school, they were FEEDING INTO these things with him, which amplified at school once he realized he wasn't getting away with it at home. The whole thing was causing stress on the entire family. He's much happier now, laughing and smiling all day, doing more school work than he did at school, being loved, showing that he feels loved. His sensory stressers are greatly decreased. We'll still work with him and an occupational therapist to get him to desensitize, but the school setting is too much for him right now. He's doing so much better that his little sister has been inviting him to play with her and go places with her. It's amazing to see this. I thought my life would be harder homeschooling, but so far it's amazing. Maybe this is the honeymoon phase, though :P

    Everything you have said about kids teaching each other things, rewards for work, and so on, I agree 100%. We're working on a space for him still. He's not really one to get angry for no reason, so having his own space helps SO much. To be honest, when he's one-on-one with someone he's like the most angelic kid in the world. He can also be very caring toward his siblings (they all get that way. I love it!).

    Our son does get frustrated a little with math still, but it's so much easier to help him through it at home. I admit I get a little frustrated when he doesn't understand some things no matter how many ways I explain it to him but we manage. For once I feel confident about his learning program. He is LOVING his work. He is usually done for the day in 2-4 hours, doing 5x as much as he would do in public school in 8 hours. And he's *proud of himself* and becoming *confident*. I know many kids would get that from other things, but this seems to be what is doing it for my son, so we're excited. I actually video taped him today. I don't think I've seen him smile as much in a long time. Not only that, but he finished his work and wants to do MORE. I also am right there so I can see what he is learning and make sure he fully understands it. It's just been amazing so far. It's also interesting how life plays out. When my kids were younger, I wanted to homeschool, but my husband said no and we just assumed for a special needs child would do better with "experienced teachers". Thing is, no one is more experienced about a child than their parent, so who better to teach them, if it fits their family?

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