What & when with special needs children?
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  1. #1
    SahmIam is offline Senior Member
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    Default What & when with special needs children?

    How can you tell how much your child knows? This seems like such a simple question and it would be in some instances. Just ask your child. But, I am finding out very quickly that I have absolutely no idea what my son knows. We didn't know he was really picking up words until a few nights ago when I was working with him on the magnet board. I was asking him questions about pictures ("Which one of these animals says, moo?'"), but he was distracted and unresponsive. While climbing over the couch behind me, he found the social phrases and started reading them. It was stuff like, "Good Morning? How are you? Please be quiet." Quinton and I just looked at one another in shock. Right now his reading skills seem to be about what my girls' were when they were two years older than he is now. But I didn't teach him to read, so I don't know what he knows. Today I showed him 25 flash cards with beginnig sight words on them and he got 21 right, so I think he might be ready for more.

    Last night someone asked me if I was putting him into school and I told her I didn't know. Then I mentioned the paperwork involved in having a special needs child and she was confused until I flat out said, "because he is autistic." She said, "Oh, well there are different levels," which is a different rant altogether but it got me to thinking that maybe I should consider schooling him. I would only be homeschooling him though, because not only are we waiting on insurance paperwork for another 6-9 months, but we are waiting on a re-evaluation through the school district after which they may or may not offer him services. [Can you hear me screaming yet?] I feel like we're wasting a lot of time sitting around, so maybe we should be doing something like Time4Learning. But how do I know if he's ready and what level to put him in? Socially he is not ready for school away from home (potty training, talking, dressing self, etc), though he will be involved with a 3-hour homeschool co-op once per week starting in the fall.
    Melissa.

  2. #2
    the_gabels is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Default Re: What & when with special needs children?

    We are having an almost identical issue with our child who is 7 and has autism. He is consider non-communicative, but for some reason he is reading these hand written flash cards we made for our older son and loves to sit their show them to you, have you tell him words which he repeasts, or he tells you words.
    Similiarly our son was able to do onomatopœias for things rather than say the words when he first was communicating.
    Some basic insight (I went back to school and got a psychology degree after getting the diagnosis). Speech and reading aloud are realted, but involve slightly different neural pathways ... as does onomatopœia ... the trick is to go with it. Another example is James understands some sign but finds it indignant now that he is older, but still will sign for apple (his FAVORITE) or for a drink, but will grab your hands and tell you NO for anything else. He can say these words now ... matter of fact his first clear words that everyone understood were apple, drink and cookie.
    But just like an ABA counselor will tell you to get into a child's clicks etc ... get to know these nuiances. (If you haven't done it already, for example our son sometimes will get excited and jump up and down and do what they call hand-flapping. If I mimic him he will stop immediately and try to convey whatever it is he is trying to get across. If I try to get him to stop good luck.)
    Go with it, document it (we have found he has different forms of communication for mom and dad, so for a while we accused each other of being too optimistic about his communication attempts because the other would never see), and only work with professionals who will listen.
    If your child has an austim diagnosis, typically given by a neurologist etc., then the school will provide him with whatever services they would provide any other child in the district ... if they are not, please feel free to email back and I can offer some help with that. Our local school when we asked, said it was our right sent us a bunch of federal paperwork and asked we let any other homeschoolers know that the services were available. Just remember though, that the school doesn't have to offer it ala carte per se. (Our local school has told us to keep him home schooled because they basically have two paths only after 2nd grade: mainstream and (and they called it this) daycare.
    BTW there is specific online package called http://www.teachtown.com (we have not tried out becuase he has this thing were he perfers to let others drive the mouse for him ... James is fairly stuborn, he knows how to do it but then once he finds thigns he likes he will just go to them or would just perfer one of his brothers drove for him and he watched. Also keep your eyes on the X-box believe it or not. The new stuff called Project Natal has HUGE potential for working with children with autism.

  3. #3
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    MamaMary is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What & when with special needs children?

    MELISSA! WOW! I can only imagine how it must have felt to have been sitting there when he began to read the social phrases! That is AWESOME! I definitely think you could begin using the Time4Learning pre-k program. I'm not just saying that because I am gung ho for the program. But I think the interactive lessons would be great for him. Do you think he could handle headphones? Does he have any sensory issue's? If he could I would recommend getting a good pair of "Noise Reduction" ones. You can get those at Radio Shak or Best Buy. It helps to cancel the noise that distract learning and their brains are better able to focus on what's being taught.
    Mary, Child of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ! Wife to best friend and Mama to her four boys 91, 96, 00, 02, Homeschooling since 1998! Come visit us on our blog! http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/MamaMary/

  4. #4
    MamaMary's Avatar
    MamaMary is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What & when with special needs children?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_gabels
    We are having an almost identical issue with our child who is 7 and has autism. He is consider non-communicative, but for some reason he is reading these hand written flash cards we made for our older son and loves to sit their show them to you, have you tell him words which he repeasts, or he tells you words.
    Similiarly our son was able to do onomatopœias for things rather than say the words when he first was communicating.
    Some basic insight (I went back to school and got a psychology degree after getting the diagnosis). Speech and reading aloud are realted, but involve slightly different neural pathways ... as does onomatopœia ... the trick is to go with it. Another example is James understands some sign but finds it indignant now that he is older, but still will sign for apple (his FAVORITE) or for a drink, but will grab your hands and tell you NO for anything else. He can say these words now ... matter of fact his first clear words that everyone understood were apple, drink and cookie.
    But just like an ABA counselor will tell you to get into a child's clicks etc ... get to know these nuiances. (If you haven't done it already, for example our son sometimes will get excited and jump up and down and do what they call hand-flapping. If I mimic him he will stop immediately and try to convey whatever it is he is trying to get across. If I try to get him to stop good luck.)
    Go with it, document it (we have found he has different forms of communication for mom and dad, so for a while we accused each other of being too optimistic about his communication attempts because the other would never see), and only work with professionals who will listen.
    If your child has an austim diagnosis, typically given by a neurologist etc., then the school will provide him with whatever services they would provide any other child in the district ... if they are not, please feel free to email back and I can offer some help with that. Our local school when we asked, said it was our right sent us a bunch of federal paperwork and asked we let any other homeschoolers know that the services were available. Just remember though, that the school doesn't have to offer it ala carte per se. (Our local school has told us to keep him home schooled because they basically have two paths only after 2nd grade: mainstream and (and they called it this) daycare.
    BTW there is specific online package called http://www.teachtown.com (we have not tried out becuase he has this thing were he perfers to let others drive the mouse for him ... James is fairly stuborn, he knows how to do it but then once he finds thigns he likes he will just go to them or would just perfer one of his brothers drove for him and he watched. Also keep your eyes on the X-box believe it or not. The new stuff called Project Natal has HUGE potential for working with children with autism.
    Can I just say that I learned so much from reading your post! This was GREAT information;-)
    Mary, Child of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ! Wife to best friend and Mama to her four boys 91, 96, 00, 02, Homeschooling since 1998! Come visit us on our blog! http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/MamaMary/

  5. #5
    SahmIam is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What & when with special needs children?

    I did go ahread and sign him up for T4L PreK program and we will definitely be doing it with him. He can't stand some loud noises, especially loud vehicles passing, but I have been able to lessen theif effect on him by doing something like what was suggested. He covers his ears, so I would cover my ears. When it was gone, I'd either ask, "What was that?" or tell him what it was if I didn't think he knew. Then I'd say, "Whoa. That _____ was SOOO loud!" and I noticed that he started looking to me when they would pass. Now sometimes it doesn't even phase him, which is great. But ironically enough, when he is involved with something like a game, he wants to crank up the volume. I don't know if that's because he's controlling the sound or because it helps him concentrate or what.

    We did a trial of Teachtown. I like the idea that it will eventually teach him tracking line of sight, but for Callum (ds ) it's too repetitive. I noticed that he could handle the identifications the first or second time through, but when they kept checking the same thing over and over, his interest would wane and he would either walk away, or purposely start choosing the wrong answers.

    Hopefully we'll hear from the closest school district soon. I think I mentioned that I'm looking at several districts, so I'm confident that we will find the help he needs eventually. I am seeking out speech therapy, which I know we can get once per week through our insurance if we are willing to drive an hour each way (hoping to get closer services through the school). I would also like to try to get him some sort of help with wanting to dress himself and (Heaven forbid!) potty train. From what I understand, our insurance will pay for at least part of the cost of ABA, but they won't pay for any DIR. It would be my first choice if we could afford the $250/hr out of pocket (plus expenses getting to Seattle and back every session), but we just can't at this point.

    I have every confidence that God will lead the right person to us. [If we couldn't handle this challenge, it wouldn't have been handed to us. ] That's not to say I sometimes don't get frustrated like anyone else, but I feel like we're at least going in the right direction. Dropping the milk seems to be helping immensely, or at least correlating with his latest improvements, and I am so thrilled about the prospect of little Pickles the pup getting trained up as his service dog. By the time he's ready to go to public school --if that's what we end up doing-- she will be fully certified and able to go to class with him.
    Melissa.

  6. #6
    the_gabels is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Default Re: What & when with special needs children?

    Melissa,
    When you mentioned the sound issues, have you looked into/heard of sensory integration therapy (often part of OT). While loud noises are part of it ... with children with autism the issue often is the drone of the noise. So for example, a loud vehicle may have base or a particular drone with its muffler etc. Similarly some children find the noise of evap coolers/air conditioning within buildings (e.g., a Wal-Mart or Target) a painful drone.
    While our insurance wouldn't cover ABA, it did cover both speech therapy and OT.

    BTW with the potty train ... we hear ya. Our son, James, started using the potty a few years back, and when we moved we live near trains. He didn't like sitting on the potty when they passed by. It is been almost 3 years and we are just getting him back on the potty. So we empathize.

    James' twin brother does not have autism, but the online tools for example on Time4Learning often the wrong answer is "entertaining" and he gravitates toward that to giggle and watch (and entertain James with) rather than do the work ... so the same tools that help them often distract them.

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