Monday, April 19, 2010

Learning Through Teaching :Autism

I am obviously still learning so much about my son since we started home schooling. It has been so much fun to see things he knows that I didn't even realize he knew. At the same time, it has been a bit of a  struggle when I come up with something "simple" for him to do to keep him engaged and his mind working while I work with Tibby on something else.

You see, I take some of the littlest things for granted thinking J can do it and just plopping it down in front of him and verbally or even physically showing him how to complete the task, to come back a minute later to realize he is completely off task and is having nothing to do with what is in front of him.

This happend the other day as I placed a bowl full of noodles in front of him with a few small items hidden in the bowl for him to find. I showed him what I wanted to do and left it at that....and so did he. WHAT?! I wasn't sure how much simpler I could make it, but he deserves for me to figure it out.

I've heard that kids with autism need a purpose to do something. Really if they don't see a purpose, they don't see any sense in doing it. His teachers had started seeing great progress in him when they offered him a reward of something he loves. It just so happens that the stuff he loves are tv and candy. Two things I just don't allow much of in our home.

I went ahead with rewarding him with these things, but something happens after a while of doing things this way. He starts to depend on the reward and needs one every task he completes, and since we have to break even the simplest tasks down to a bunch of different tasks...well, thats a LOT of rewarding!

He also, got VERY dependent on the tv. It was enough to absolutely drive me up the wall! So, now I've started looking at things a little bit differently. I started asking myself what the purpose of the activity was to see if I can show him a different reason for working. So, taking the bowl of noodles, I got two of each object, hid one of each in the bowl and placed the other one on a piece of paper. I told him that there are two and he needs to find the matching one in the noodles and place them together.

He Got It!

He did it right the first time and every time after that! It gave me time to spend with the other boys, and his mind was working the whole time! No stimming, just doing AND completing the task at hand.

Its so funny to me that that seemed a little bit more complicated then just finding hidden objects in the noodles. This young man is forcing me to see things differently and is keeping MY brain challenged! It's just amazing to see how his mind works, and to know that it does work, just differently, and that's OK!

1 comment:

BK said...

Guess we are always learning. What is important is that we do keep an open mind and try to approach things differently. Reading your experience with J was very much a learning experience for me too.


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