Tag Archives: autism spectrum

Homeschooling children in the autism spectrum and socialization

The Old Schoolhouse was seeking some articles about homeschooling and special needs.  I was fortunate enough to be chosen to write about a subject near and dear to my heart:  how homeschooling children in the autism spectrum can provide wonderful and intensive opportunities for socialization.

This is counter to what many educators will tell parents.  Often, we are told that these children MUST be in school for socialization purposes.  I was told this.  I was told this at least 3 years into intensive therapeutic interventions for my son in the autism spectrum and having a Master’s degree in teaching that included additional graduate level credits in special education and specifically in teaching children with autism.

But I was told that I didn’t know what was best for my son–and that I would be crippling him for life by keeping him home.  In fact, he’s come farther than they anticipated was possible and note that his recent evaluator (who can spot a spectrum child in 2 minutes) was unable to peg his spectrum diagnosis until she was more involved in his testing–where it was unquestionable. She sees kids like mine daily and is involved in many research studies. It comes with new challenges but even she conceded that some of his surprising areas of functionality were undoubtedly the result of the “intensive” or frequency of training he gets at home.

Certainly your family situation, your child’s severity of impairment and your access to services are HUGE factors in this decision.  But for those who have figured out the rest and the final sticking point is socialization… or if socialization has prevented you from even trying to figure out the rest–I invite you to visit my article on this issue at The Old Schoolhouse and let me know what you think.  

Does this raise new thoughts for you?  Concerns?  Challenges?  Awakenings? Opportunities?
Much love to you,

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A Letter to the Mom of the Challenging Child

Mama… I feel ya.  Sometimes the days just seem to blend one into the other.  Suddenly, you seem to have lost your sense of self and everything is being carefully juggled just to maintain the status quo.  You don’t even know how tired you are.  Continue reading A Letter to the Mom of the Challenging Child

How to shatter distraction and create focus

Easily 2-3 years ago, I wrote a blog entry on how ludicrous I thought it would be that I could meditate and where that little experiment landed me.  I had studied the effects of various types of mediation on some pretty heavy-hitting health challenges; but I never really saw the purpose in using it as a daily practice for “the rest of us”.


Now I realize that focused meditation (the kind that uses a mantra) is a huge help for those with anxiety.  It effectively teaches you how to control your thoughts so that they don’t run away with you–causing an anxiety or panic attack.  I found focused meditation was also profoundly helpful to my clients that “couldn’t turn their brain off” at night–often falling asleep with the TV on so that they could distract their brain with nonsense to fall asleep.

My next little experiment is going to be on my BigGuy.  I’ve wanted to do this before and even tried, but I’m Queen Inconsistency and never managed to get him on track for more than (literally) a day.  Now, I have to do this for myself and I’m going to pull him along with me–hoping it will prove useful in him being able to control his thoughts and stay more focused.  He’s been on board for this for a long time because HE doesn’t like being distracted, but he can’t control it.  As a result, he also can’t manage to get on top of the practice on his own.  :/

So I encourage you to consider this if you or your children have anxiety, distraction or even just a hard time falling asleep each night.  Make sure you are focusing on a mantra during your practice.  The link to my business blog entry above will give you great starting points (free ones!).

Do you already meditate?  Do you use a mantra?

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Let me tell you about my son – A guest post

BigGuy turns 12 this week.  Eleven years ago–just shy of turning one year old–he looked into my eyes for the first time.  That’s right: one year old.  We were already 4 months into “global developmental delay” hell.  He had been flagged with possible mild cerebral palsy and deafness–the latter quickly (presumably) ruled out with a test that showed his eardrum to be working, but couldn’t tell us if the messages between the eardrum and the brain were being relayed and interpreted properly if at all.

Eleven years ago we were roughly two weeks into removing the trace amounts of dairy that existed in our diet (I was still nursing) and rushing back to the immunologist that diagnosed his immune deficiency just a month before.  I wanted him to see my son–to see if I was just hoping to see something that didn’t exist or if an objective eye could say that there was change.  In fact, there was change; and the immunologist confirmed that the dairy could be the culprit.

BigGuy has presented us with challenges since conception and we spent a lot of years swamped in various developmental therapies, research, interventions–not being a family, but being a therapeutic unit for this small child who has come so far.  IT. WAS. HARD.

It was overwhelming.

It was exhausting.

At times, it was very, very scary–because we weren’t sure if he’d ever live independently (which actually didn’t occur to us until a round of tests at age 3).

So often we parents of special needs children come to live a life that inadvertently becomes defined by our children’s problems.  Life becomes a series of therapies and nights of research or online support groups.  It’s not intentional or malicious–it’s just how it happens.  We never know the delight of the moment because we are plotting the future… what else can we do?  Who can we see?  What can we give them to help?  Who on EARTH can care for them if and when something happens to me (and my spouse)?  Will they ever live independently?  It’s an organic process for sure.  But it’s not a positive one.

“Let me tell you what my son’s challenges have done for me…”

That is an excerpt from the guest post I did called “Let Me Tell You About My Son” over at my friend’s blog, “Unveiled and Revealed“.  She has dedicated the month to “Parenthood Perspectives” with each week dedicated to a very different parent experience.  I hope you will find beauty in the journey.  ❤

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Day 5: Why we are special

Today’s activity is to tell each person in the house why they are special.  I’m sure that when I picked this, I had delusions of grandeur about the accolades I would hear my children give one another.  The reality I suspect I face is that BigGuy will make an earnest attempt to express some Asperger’s-oriented version of what makes someone special and Girly will say that what’s special about BigGuy is that he has the loudest farts. Continue reading Day 5: Why we are special

Someone asked why we homeschool

On a local forum, a mom asked us to share the reasons we homeschool and she was particularly interested in hearing from parents of kids old enough to be in the public schools.  My post was apparently too long for Facebook… Continue reading Someone asked why we homeschool

Dipping our toes in the public schools

It’s scary, y’all.  Very, very scary.  I think people who have been involved in the schools don’t really give much thought to the countless types of information you hand over to them… being on their radar; but I am keenly aware of it.  Suddenly, I realized just how NOT on the radar we were until now.  It’s just kind of weird.

But for us, that’s really only a small part of it… We have much bigger issues here… Continue reading Dipping our toes in the public schools

Ooops, we did it again…

That’s right, y’all.  All of our horribly unsocialized homeschoolers won the Spirit Award for the STATE level Science Olympiad this time–beating out 48 other middle schools (since the spirit award was giving to one team across both Class A and Class AA) in displaying exemplary sportsmanship… OUR FIRST YEAR THERE!

And thank GAWD because it saved us from BigGuy insisting we leave the whole shindig…

Continue reading Ooops, we did it again…