On line/homeschool

Tracy - posted on 10/18/2009 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I read Dusty Williams post and the responses. I live in Ohio and began ECOT ( a public on line school) with my 15 year old son Andrew this year. He is on an IEP through this school. Andrew was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when he was 3. At that time we began an ABA program, CF/GF diet, we did secretin injections along with many other programs. He continued his ABA program until the 2nd grade but we kept our consultant and therapist to continue to work on problem areas and for tutoring. He was involved in many sports and cub scouts. He thrived, academically he was at grade level with no modifications, socially he had many friends was invited to birthday parties and social events. by the end of fourth grade he had quit everything but basketball. coaches would not give him play time and he got teased if he messed up. My husband coached his basketball team and he excelled at this sport. By the end of the six grade his friends stopped hanging out with him and no longer talked to him at school. we tried everything we could to help him make new friends but he did not meet with success. In seventh grade when he went to the Junior high the teasing got so bad that he end up on Home bound instruction through the school district. we worked really hard with the school district and and CITE services (a community organization under MRDD) and our therapist to develop an IEP that would help him be successful socially. We started the 8th grade year confident that it was going to be a good year. It was a disaster, The school district did not follow through with their end of the IEP and Andrew had a complete set back. He again ended up on home bound instruction. This year when we began ECOT he is a lot happier, we have no meltdowns and I like the flexibility. The down side is he is still socially disconnected. I see a real need for these guys to socially connect, but it seems to be a real feat at this age. It is not an age where you can call moms for play days. They have to do it for themselves. The problem with Andrew is that he has tried so hard and met with disappointment that he doesn't want to try anymore. I tried to talk him into going to a support group but he says that he doesn't want to go, and that he would not be able to tell others how he feels. He is becoming more socially anxious all the time and only wants to stay in his room and play video games. I am working on getting him signed up for rec basketball and trying to get him interested in something new. If anyone has any specific ideas please post.

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Nancy - posted on 10/19/2009

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We have a lot in common, you and I! I ended up homeschooling Anthony for 2 years due to school district idiocy. When he was ready for middle school, and socially receovered to want to meet new friends, I began my search. I found an Oak Tree classroom, it is in the next town, but it is designed specifically for high-functioning/aspberger's kids. I am in NYS, and he has friends, not meltdowns or teasing anymore. Someone told me video games and autism don't mix, because the person with autism experiences the game differently, and they end up getting addicted to them. Well, sure enough, I finally bought Anthony a gamecube for Xmas last year, when he was 12, and that has become his obsession. These kids do have a great need for social interaction, how else will they learn how to get along socially? But is really hard unless they have friends who are developmentally similar. This is another reason I love the Oak Tree program. If they have it in your state, I would look into it...Hope this helps.

Sheila - posted on 10/18/2009

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Hi Tracy,



Many years ago, in another life time, I worked for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. I had many roles, but one of them was to foster social get-togethers amongst blind and visually impaired teenagers within our community. It is challenging for kids on the spectrum and visually impaired kids to make those leaps...like alot of the kids on the spectrum, blind and visually impaired children are dependent on others to get them out and about (and who wants mom driving them on their dates??)



So, I organized a Dinner Club. Sounds simple enough, and it was. About once or twice a month, we met at a restaurant that was "friendly" to our needs. The kids would be dropped off, or I would pick some up, but there we were. If there was a need to discuss an issue, I was there to help problem solve, but my primary role was to get these kids out! And not mcdonalds...someplace that serves appetizers, soda, main course and dessert...NO RUSHING THROUGH IT!



Long story short: if there is an autism support group, get a Dinner Club going. It is much less "horrifying" than a support group (which really, that's what it is) Look for similar hobbies (example: likes videogames, find a gaming store that might help organizing a "games" day...we have a hobby store here that does role playing/online get-togethers...HUGE success)



Check out other home-schoolers for "gym classes" at the local community centre with a pool, or ice time....does he like swimming? Lots of kids on the spectrum crave pressure, and the feeling of being in water, they get it 360 degrees.



He doesn't have to connect with "neurotypical" kids to have a social network. He is not alone, but he feels it. Teenage boys, of any type, rarely want to talk about their feelings, so I get that!



I hope you are in an area where non-conventional support is possible.



And, get him volunteering if he is able. Playing cards with seniors, food banks, hospitals...two feet and a heart beat and a willingness to help!

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