Autism, Homeschooling and video game obsession?

Angie - posted on 09/01/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )

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How do you homeschool a child with Autism? Where do you pull your resources from? Do i need to hire an aid? My 5 yr. old son is PDD NOS. I've been told by a psychologist that he has a lot of Asperger's traits as well, but he doesn't speak clearly and needs speech therapy for that. Can a child with Asperger's have speech issues? Still trying to figure that one out.

Also, I'm trying to find out if anyone else's child is obsessed with TV and video games. What to do?! If I take it away, he has a meltdown and will cry and scream for hours.

If anyone out there is dealing with these issues PLEASE let me know what I should try. Thanks!

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Patricia - posted on 09/04/2011

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Even though I did not seek an early diagnosis of Aspergers for my son, being a teacher & knowing teachers I waited until he was 11 years old to get an official diagnosis. Before that I did work with him with speech therapy 3-5 years old through the local education district, turned off TV and computer (he would stay awake longer at night if he watched a screen).
Since my last teaching position before taking a leave to raise 3 children was in a Waldorf School, I used what I learned to tell stories and work in art. I was able to send Andrew to a Waldorf school for K-6 and then 8th grade. I did have him in a public school for 1 year (disaster). Finding my son has been a challenging road but as we go into high school, I am so glad that I just took it a step at a time. My 1st concern was having him be able to socialize, for I knew that he would catch onto the academics. Andrew's speech grew at a slower pace than other students but with the right teacher he learned to express himself with words. He started reading at the end of 3rd grade, now he reads anything he can get his hands on (he received a lunch detention from an aid for reading in LA, the one year of public school he had). We also discover he has a visual dis-fluency, which has affected his writing capabilities and his attention in a classroom. Now as a 9th grader we are home schooling him through Connections Academy. Even though he has had limited screen time until now he is enjoying the education. We also have him involved in Boy Scouts (Life) and in a community youth choir. Andrew will continue to receive speech therapy from the local district.
As I look back there have been times where I had to choose to do the hard things with my children. Keeping one home from preschool for 3 days to keep her from throwing fits when we left and removing seat belt while in the car. I was able to take her from school quietly and safely after that week. It is much easier to work on changing negative behavior when the child is younger than to change them when older.

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Susan - posted on 01/24/2012

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Hi my son has Autism and is obsessed with video games. The biggest thing we do for him is alow him some time every day to play but then he needs to turn them off for a least 1 hour. During this time he plays outside has dinner with the family takes a bath ect. If he can turn them off with no fit he earns more time after the 1 hour off time if he has a fit no time earned and 1 more hour off. It was hard for the first week or so but now it is part of the routeen so he has adjusted to it. This is big for me Chris is still little and I want him to grow up playing outside and doing other fun things not pluged into a tv! As for home school hats off to you and good luck.

Norma - posted on 01/24/2012

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I am the mother of a 14 year old that is very nervous regarding going into high school this fall. He is PDD NOS. His school, even though they have had him in KE program for the past year and a half, seem to still not understand how to reach him. I am considering homeschooling but don't know where to start. I am in Lethbridge, can someone point me in the right direction.

Linda - posted on 09/11/2011

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My child does not have PDD, but I do recognize the obcession with visual outlets. My ADHD daughter is a right brained visual learner, and that means that she learns better by seeing pictures, playing computer games, watching videos, etc. Because it works for her, we have centered her schooling around a visual curriculum.
I would like to second the mom who mentioned Time4Learning and add this link with information
(http://www.time4learning.com/pdd.shtml). There is further information about special needs, and visual learners there also. I hope this helps.

Susan - posted on 09/10/2011

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Hi Angie, I sympathize with you. My son (7) is also PDD NOS and has a strong obsession towards particularly video games. It's very hard, because when he likes something he gets such a one track mind. And there are not a lot of other activities he will like to do (play outside, play with actual toys, etc.) unless he is forced to and he really complains about it. But one thing I've found that sometimes help, is to make it a reward system thing. Like, if he wants to play video games, I might say 'Let's put this puzzle together first. Then after it's all together, then I'll give you ten minutes' - And use a buzzer, so it's not so much directed at you, but at a 'stupid old buzzer' when he has to stop. And then, be firm. Make sure he is not just trying to manipulate or control you by all the screaming and fussing. But I'm not a professional, I know. And it is hard, no doubt about it !

Caroline - posted on 09/09/2011

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HI Angie i am a mom with a fifteen year old boy with aspergers. we have been home schooling for about six year or so . my son did speek till he was 2 and a half then only i could make out what he was saying. then at three my hubby could but it took some time before someone else could..i know of a couple of parents who home school their children on the spectrim ..we are now in the process in preparing him for collage we have started early since we know how long it sometimes takes for it to be a good place to be . if you need to chat in box me and maybe we can talk.if you live in lethbridge Alberta let me know maybe we can go for coffee ....good luck

Melissa - posted on 09/06/2011

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Hello, My name is Melissa and my son was diagnosed with the same thing. When he had his four year old booster shot he ended up having a seizure two days later and woke up stuttering and seemed to have lost alittle of his motor skills. Took him to Augusta GA and was told he had PPD NOS. I was frantic and there was not much talk of Autism at that time...Over the years he has grown out of a lot of the symptoms and has regained his motor skills. I let him start public school at five and he took to it very well. He did have his moment of staring into space but did very well. He is now in sixth grade and in band but still has his spacey issues. My son also has suffers with alot of Aspergers traits and loves TV and Video games. REDIRECTING is the way to go. Give him limits two hours on the t.v with no video games of one hour of tv and one hour video game or two video games. I have always tried to treat Joshua like he didn't have anything wrong simply because I was in denial. But those boundries that I set for him are helping now that he does have his obsession with the WII and tv. He still get s mad and pitches his fits and I redirect him to do a project or I'll read to him to calm him down and redirect him to his toys after a quick story. I wanted to homeschool my son several times to ease my worries about how the kids will treat him but I know he nees to be around other children and experience more than my four walls can provide. We live in a rural part of GA and my side of the family lives in Texas and my husband has a very small family so my son would not have very many interactions with other children if I did not let him go to public school. He does attend speech class twice a week in school and I take him to the University of GA for speech class twice a week outside of school. The school system has been very accomodating and I'm also a lioness protecting her cub so I have had to show my A** a little. :) I know I have probably scattered this whole message and made quite a few mistakes but know that my intentions were to give you my sons life story in a couple of paragraphs and thats pretty hard to do..In a nutshell....Set limits and when the melt downs come....REDIRECT..ps he has never had a melt down in school. So he knows who he can get away with things with and where he will embarress himself around..Please write me back and let me know how everything is going. It will get better and they do grow out of alot of the ticks. melissajas@windstream.net

Teresa - posted on 09/06/2011

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my son is 8 and PDD NOS. completely obssessed with various types of video games. I don't "take away" the games as much as impose rules about when he gets to play them and when he loses the priveledge. he does very well with the traditional if-then statements: if I call my brother stupid, then I can't play the ipad games for the rest of the afternoon. that sort of thing. setting the expectations - and then meeting them - has helped alleviate a lot of the violent throw-down outbursts that we were having when we were trying more conventional methods of taking stuff away from him. he was literally hurting himself.

Kathy - posted on 09/06/2011

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First you are lucky if you are getting your son diagnosed at an early age... first rule and a good one.. less preferred then preferred activity... get him in a habit of this... for example... if he doesn't like to bathe... bath then games... get him in the habit of earning his game hours.... games are socialization for our kiddos. I find that it is so easy for them to get lost..... and yes it is possible to have speach issues... autism presents itself in so many different ways there is never a real answer... I worry about home schooling because of the need for socialization and reading of social skills. Luckily for you and the new law there is a lot of funds available for services for you and your son... contact an advocate through
ARC or your insurance and see what services are available to you... I would really re-think the home school though...... Is your son visual? Start making schedules for him using pictures and for now I would limit his gaming to no more than 1 hour and you can devide it anyway you want..... if he tantrums make sure he is safe and use planned ignoring... start with 1 minute intervals but stand firm... not a doctor just been there done that
don't second guess yourself.

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I've been homeschooling my grandson with autism since he was in K (and before). He is now starting fifth grade. You shouldn't need to hire an aide. Many children are obsessed with TV and video games. They may be visual learners. Try to use this to your advantage by using educational software and videos (you can probably get the latter from the library). When he has a meltdown, try taking notes about what precedes them (triggers), and what the outcome is (does he get comforted, get what he wants, or what?) Describe the behavior during the meltdown in an objective fashion. What is he actually doing? My grandson learned to read using the Headsprout program. There are many other good ones available. We still use a lot of library videos, but we also now listen to audiobooks. He could not listen to books being read before having Berard Auditory Integration therapy. Hope this helps.

Diane - posted on 09/04/2011

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I do not homeschool, but here are several links that might help (saved from posts other moms who do homeschool have shared over the years):

Homeschooling in TN: http://www.bhea.net/communication.htm
Resources for parents who Home School:
www.homeschooldiner.com
www.cindyrushton.com
---Modern Charlotte Mason approach
 
www.csthea.org
---Local homeschool support group w/newsletter subscription
 
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com
  ---A to Z Home's Cool (Homeschool)
 
http://home.earthlink.net/~tammyglaser79...
 
 
http://homeschooling.about.com/od/specau...
 
http://www.time4learning.com
A great online resource to use as a supplement or as
a curriculum
 

Julie - posted on 09/03/2011

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No problem Stacey, My son left school last year not knowing his alphabet and only a few phonics, now he knows the alphabet by sight, and can actually sound out words now!! i cried when it just started to click for him. Click n kid is really great, although we are english and now my son keeps saying american words for things..ha ha i don't mind at all, any enthusisiasm for reading with him is fantastic.

Stacey - posted on 09/03/2011

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Julie, I cannot thank you enough for posting about "click n kid". I too have a Aspie who is 8 and struggles with reading. We are homeschooling for the first time this year so I can work on his reading skills. The past 2 1/2 weeks we have been working on Hooked on Phonics level 1 ("at" words, "an" words, etc.) Everyday is a battle. He just doesn't get it and he hates trying. I have cried almost everyday. He LOVES the computer. Looking at "click n kids" they even teach phonics with Looney Toons (one of his obsessions)! Thank you! We will try it out on Monday. Good luck, Angie. You are not alone!

Julie - posted on 09/02/2011

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Hi Angie. My son is now 10 yrs, diagnosed with Asperger's when he was just turning 9 yrs. He still has delayed/ immature speach, but is gradually catching up (i have to keep modelling proper speach when he slips up) He is also obsessed with video/computer games. If he isn't playing them he's either talking about them or begging me to buy more. it can be a bit wearing at times but i stick to my guns and set time limits. I think as long as he knows when he gets up in the morning how long and how many times he can use the computer/playstation etc it cuts down on the tantrums. Also if i see he is getting "stressy" on a game he knows i remove him from it straight away. He's obviously not happy about it but know's NO means NO. He can go to his room if he needs time to calm down but you really need to stick to your guns. Meltdowns are loud and sometimes scary but as long as he isn't hurting himself or others i let him get on with it alone. My son is also homeschooled without any outside aid (due to him hating main stream schooling) he does all his leasons on-line. He has severe Dyslexia so is very far behind his peers, we are only on the basics but there are lots of free programmes and educational games that really engage a child who's world revolves around gaming. I found "click n kid" (a reading/spelling course) really good it's not free but much cheaper than some courses. Hope this helps :) xx

Carol - posted on 09/01/2011

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Yep, my son will be 11 this month and he acts as if I'm killing him if I take his computer privileges away. I have tried reasoning with him and explaining what he did or didn't do. He tries every method under the sun to get his privileges back. It's like a check list - first anger, then more anger, then tears, then bribery "I'll do chores" or "I'll pay you (with what money?lol)", then anger, then "understanding" followed by a quick apology and request for them back, then anger again when it doesn't work. Just be consistent.

We homeschooled from halfway through 1st grade through the 3rd grade due to a horrible school system. We felt it best to put him back into public school (a different public school) when we began to notice without a doubt that he was having major trouble reading social cues. We had no idea that it was because he had asperger's until nearly a year later. Now things make more sense.
If you homeschool any kid, I recommend teaching to their talents. If yours likes video games, buy video game learning games. Teach him how to write using Word (with manual writing too, but the brunt of stuff on the computer). Also, teach subjects at the level he's at instead of a one-size fits all. My son was grade level with language, 1 grade ahead in math, 3 ahead in science, etc. Asperger's can have it's perks. I'm jealous that the twerp can memorize at the drop of a hat and picks analytical things up so easily. If you live in the US, you're entitled to get the speech therapy and any other services - like clubs, music, art, etc even if you homeschool.

Crystal - posted on 09/01/2011

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Hi my son is 8 and has Aspergers. He has speech problems and did not say his 1st word till he was 2 and after 6 months of speech therapy. As for video games we have a time limit and if he has a fit he does not get to play the next day at all. We started this rule when he started to play them at the age of 4. It took a while but he got it. And we have very few fights and fits now.

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