Autism

Lapbooking And Special Needs

Special Needs

Way back when we had preschoolers before, we explored lapbooks and had loads of fun. Now that we have preschoolers again, I started exploring lapbooks again recently and decided to give it a try with all the kids. (More on those lapbooks in another post).

I had been wanting to explore things that would be more fun and incorporate the different learning styles of all the kids. I thought the big kids might be ready for notebooking, but there is still too much writing, so I opted to try the lapbooks again.

My kids absorb information from videos, books, and through discussion, but they have a hard time showing what they know. Enter lapbooking. I thought lapbooking would be a great way to include all of the kids at whatever level they are at.

I made it as easy as possible. I cut out the papers. I even wrote on the papers (I figured we could ease into them doing the writing, eventually). All they had to do was discuss and then glue. Wouldn’t you know it, my 11 year old (Elisha – with autism) doesn’t like gluing either? Well, he did it after a bit of prodding.

Note to self, we need:

  • a label maker (because of this post about dysgraphia)
  • more glue dots
  • glue sticks
  • loads of fun and colorful paper

I found this series on Lapbooking With Special Needs Kids that I found particularly inspiring. I encourage you to check it out.

You can Lapbook on a Shoestring as this post suggests by providing a ton of resources.

Lapbooking is:

  • versatile
  • adaptable
  • suitable for multi -age
  • useful for a variety of topics
  • perfect for special needs students
  • good for perfectionists
  • good for creativity
  • good for review
  • can be done in short bursts of time (and attention span)
  • an answer to prayer

Jimmie (from Jimmie’s Collage and Notebooking Fairy) had this great idea to prepare all the mini books ahead of time. She also has an amazing lapbooking Squidoo Lense that  is just loaded with resources and I highly suggest you check out if you are even the slightest bit interested in lapbooking.

Do you use lapbooks or notebooks in your homeschool? 

Do you use lapbooks or notebooks with your special needs kids?

When Math Isn’t Working

Homeschooling With Special Needs

When math isn’t working, what do you do? Well, I go looking for something different.

Elisha is 11 and he has Autism and ADHD. He has a brilliant mind, but one of the main things he struggles with is putting pen to paper. Well, that and self-motivation for things that don’t interest him.

We thought we would eliminate that by getting Teaching Textbooks for him. We put it on a used laptop that we purchased specifically for that purpse.

We discovered that the laptop was in the process of dying so we tried to do a save and transfer of data for Teaching Textbooks. When we put the data on the next used laptop, it was not there. The save and transfer function had not worked. UGH!

Thankfully we purchased the workbooks as well. We plug away at the workbooks for a while. Then we hit a complete brick wall. He doesn’t want to do math any more. He fights it every day.

Now, it is on to plan B. I went searching the internet for grade 6 level math. One that I wouldn’t have to pay for because I have exhausted the current year’s budget AND we will be ordering next year’s materials soon.

So I went searching and this is what I found. Well, I found many things, but this is what we decided on to get us through the rest of the year.

What does math look like at your house? 

Having Higher Expectations

I realized something this week, I am guilty of always thinking that my kids can’t do things. I am pretty sure this line of thought stems from Elisha’s ADHD and autism and wanting to avoid stress added stress in our home.

When you have a child with ADHD or autism, you already have a complex child and you want to make life as simple and calm as possible. At least that is what we wanted to do. Even the simplest things would cause meltdowns in the past. All of these things below have caused some form of sensory issue for Elisha in the past.

  • putting on socks
  • putting on shoes
  • clothing needs to be simple and comfortable (no zippers or buttons)
  • change in routine
  • brushing teeth
  • bathing

Let me tell you, we have seen marked improvement in the past year and see little to no issues for most of these areas most of the time.

In the past, anytime that Elisha would try something new he would have a meltdown. We have seen this over and over again over the years. Instead of challenging him and pushing him to try new things, we avoided them. This was the best solution for us at the time, but I am rethinking that solution (for the season we are in now) because Elisha is coping with everyday things much more easily and I want to stretch him a little bit.

I have realized that we need to let the other kids surpass Elisha in whatever areas they need to. This has been a hard lesson for me grasp. I have always held it in my head that he is the oldest, so the other kids can’t move on until he does, but this kind of thinking is only holding all the other kids back.

I have also realized that because Elisha has been allowed to get away with saying, “I can’t,” the other kids are starting to use that excuse too, before they even try. I want to curb that excuse now before it becomes paralyzing for them. They need to grow up believing they can do anything they set their minds to, but for some things they may just have to work harder than others.

These thoughts were on my mind because I instituted daily journal writing and two children complied, while one complained (and not the one you would think). While talking to our support teacher recently, I was inspired to have the kids work REALLY HARD on their printing this year. The idea that we came up with was a SIMPLE daily journal that would increase in difficulty through out the year.

For the first little while we are going to go back to basics and work on printing the date, our name, and ONE word. Now, before you think this is crazy for kids who are in 3rd, 5th, and 6th grades, let me tell you something. We do most of our work orally or with projects that require very little printing. Printing has always caused a great deal of stress (and we avoid stress, remember).

For Elisha the stress was due to fatigue. He has low muscle tone and his hand and arm get tired very quickly when he is printing. This is compounded by the need to hold the pencil tightly and push very hard so he has some sensory feedback.

For the other kids, I just didn’t push hard. They would cry and say they couldn’t and I would back off (because I had been conditioned to prevent the meltdowns). I am not saying that I was right or wrong to not push them, but we are now at the place where they need to be pushed, so that we can move forward. They need to master printing this year, it is as simple as that. We are going to take it one step at a time and see how far we can grow in our skills this year. 

If this is something that your child/children struggle with, you might find it useful to print out this week’s journal page and follow along with us on our journey.

journal 1

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