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cartersmom
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18 Sep 2007, 8:57 pm

Hi~ I have a 14 year old son with AS. He has never had much homework, as he generally got all his work done at school. However, now in 8th grade he has some and almost completely refuses outright to do it! I have managed to get history and mythology done; but math is a complete struggle and it is almost a total battle. I don't want to pull the computer plug, as then he just completely shuts down. He also struggles with his dad, and that relationship is just healing. His sister has moved out and gone to college, so we have lots of time to dedicate to helping him succeed.

Thanks for any help.

Candy



Climber
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19 Sep 2007, 9:30 am

Candy,

I have been where you are. Boy! Have I been where you are! However, as I write this, my 16-year-old Asperger's son is quietly doing his Precalculus problems, no fights, no consequences, and he is actually trying to solve them on his own!

How did I get him there? It is all because of two years of testing drug therapies that finally settled with a mixture of Lexapro and a little Risperdal. The drugs are working so well that HE makes sure he takes them. He has noticed that he feels better - less anxiety.

Prior to the drugs, here's how I got him to do homework, but I must say, every instance was a struggle that tried every ounce of my patience.

1. I broke down his homework into very small blocks. Sometimes so small as to promise a reward for completing just one math problem. There also had to be a consequence for not completing the problem.

2. I allowed him to write most of it on a dry-erase board, because he enjoyed writing on it. He still had to rewrite his work on paper.

3. I allowed him frequent breaks that included some sort of motion. Play piano, jump on trampoline, whatever.

4. In my son's case, I FINALLY accepted the idea that he needs external stimulation to assist him in concentrating (he kept telling me!). So, I allowed him to wear a MP3 player and listen to music while he worked. This actually made a huge difference. (Why? oh! Why didn't I listen to him?)

5. If homework was not completed, I did warn him that I would unplug the computer and I did - consistently. It took time, but this helped a lot too.

6. Also, I might point out, that I talked with him about his challenges. I told him that I understood that his brain chemistry makes it difficult for him to concentrate, but we needed to find ways to overcome it. I told him that I might get frustrated, but that I know it's not his fault. I didn't want to hammer his self-esteem by making him think that his challenges were his fault. I wanted to make sure he understood that he has challenges, not character flaws.

Good luck.

David



tayana
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20 Sep 2007, 1:18 pm

I have the same battle, and since I only recently moved out of my parents' house with my 10 year old AS son, I'm still trying different things. Here are things that do work for me.

1. I ask for no battle homework nights. We have actually had nights where we both end up in separate corners crying. We make an agreement for no yelling, screaming or other battle type issues.

2. We agree that HM (code for homework) has to get done. Neither of us like it.

3. Getting started is the worst part. I have found that sitting down with DS and maybe working a couple of problems with him (if math is sent home for homework) helps get him focused. Otherwise he hides under his bed, plays games, does origami, etc.

4. I give DS the choice where he wants to do homework. At first I made him do homework at the dining table, but our kitchen and dining room are all one area, and I'd be working in the kitchen and distracting him. So, sometimes he does it in his room, sometimes on the couch, etc. I know other people say give them one place, but this really works best for us.

5. I will allow music if it helps him concentrate. The TV is turned off and it is not turned back on until homework is finished. That goes for me too.

6. I have a real struggle with Math and anything writing related. DS refuses to write answers that are more than 5 words. And Math is just as bad. My mom used to tell DS that he has issues with his hands, and he takes that as an excuse to write as little as possible now. I've found staying close by, and either gently assisting (not working the problems, just assisting, reading them from the book, asking for a math fact) or working on bills or something similar nearby is very helpful. If I'm working, he's more inclined to work.

7. I allow a break after we get home, usually after supper for a little TV watching and to allow DS to get relaxed before we even start. Originally I was making him start as soon as we get home, but this option really works better. There's less tears, less frustrated, less evenings of him yelling and screaming.

8. There's a TV show he really enjoys, but unless homework is finished, he doesn't get to watch it. There is no exceptions to this. On particularly difficult homework nights, I have little rewards that I'll offer as incentives. Right now, I have a twenty tack on my fridge door for two weeks of no homework battles. We're almost through week 1, no battles this week.

Climber, I like some of your ideas, especially the last one. I might have to try that.



mmaestro
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20 Sep 2007, 1:39 pm

Have you tried letting him work late at night? I'm not a parent, but I remember that when I got home from school, I was so drained that I'd lay down on the sofa and sleep for an hour after I'd eaten, then do some music, read, something enjoyable. I'd generally only be back in a place where I could do homework at 9 or 10 at night. Most parents are trying to pack their kids off to bed at that point, so they try to force their children to do homework earlier in the evening. A later start might make it easier for him.


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20 Sep 2007, 3:54 pm

Tayana,

Thank you.

By the way, something you said works for us too. I also let my son do his homework wherever he wants. And just like you said, I've let him work wherever he wants....at the kitchen counter, the couch, on the patio outside.... A few times, he's done his work in the bathtub! (No water)



tayana
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20 Sep 2007, 4:06 pm

Climber, Thanks. :) It really does seem to reduce stress. Last night he did it in the floor with a big fluffy pillow in his lap.

I also allow for breaks in between subjects, or if an assignment is particularly long, I'll allow breaks during it.

If something is really, really trying and the battles are too much. I'll call his teacher, who's been really accomodating, and ask for reduced assignments. This is somewhat problematic, since DS then wants reduced assignments all the time, but it works for those that are really busy and repetitive. I end up doing it for math assignments that are 30 of the same sort of problems.

I'm still searching for a way to get around the writing issues though. So far I haven't found a solution.

Mmaestro, I do let my DS start his work late. I don't think we got started until almost 8, and he got out of school at 4. I don't fight him about bedtimes either, even though that makes the mornings rocky. I can handle the struggle in the morning when I'm fresh, but I dont' do it so well when I'm exhausted. So, he has to do his homework before the program he likes at 9:30, and then when it goes off, he can either read or draw for a while. This does help us actually.



Pandora
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21 Sep 2007, 6:31 am

If it's just one subject causing problems, the child might need a tutor. There are often uni students who will tutor to make a bit of extra cash. I did well in all high school subjects except for maths and couldn't quite grasp all the concepts.

It would have been so helpful to have had some one to one tutoring and my parents would have agreed but I was too embarrassed to tell them I wasn't coping in maths.

BTW, I am diagnosed with Asperger's myself and would have understood the maths if it were broken up into smaller and more manageable units. I coped fine with figure work, just not trigonometry and geometry, sine and co-sine.

I also coped better with maths that directly related to real life. Like many other Aspies, I soon switched off when school work seemed irrelevant and boring but where I found a subject interesting, I was prepared to spend extra time doing homework for it.


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cartersmom
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21 Sep 2007, 9:38 am

Thanks to everybody who wrote in. You have given me new hope and motivation: IT CAN BE DONE! This was a long week and I don't know that it was very productive. He brought home a progress report: all A's, except math, a 47 average. So there we have it.

We'll keep trying and I will step it up.

Thanks again~

Candy