do I encourage this or discourage?

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MMJMOM
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25 Apr 2012, 1:14 pm

My 6yo son has Aspergers, he is extremely intelligent, grade levels above his peers on schoolwork, and is homeschooled. Here is a scenario that happens frequently and I am wondering if he is homeschooled, should I just let it go? While my gut tells me to try to stop this process. I will do my best to expain it:

Jayden is doing math like this and bear with me there is a point to the demonstration and explination:

5,861
- 2,295
----------

Ok, so Jayden will go to subtract the ones and borrow from the 10s and make the ones 11-5. He will then say outloud, "Well, 5+5=10...sooooo, 5+6 would =11, and that means 5+7 would =12, and 5+8 would =13, and 5+9 would =14..." I have to stop him or he will keep going. he will do his scenario for each number he subtracts or adds. While I think its brilliant, and he is thinking and he is right in his math, the issue is that it makes doing a 2 minute problem turn into 10 minutes, and it distracts him from what he was doing. By the time he gets done with all the scenarios, he forgets what probelm he is on. He seems compelled to do this with each number in each problem. Part of me wonders if it is him trying to make the math more stimulating casue that is fairly easy for my son, but we are going in order in the book, the next chapter is multiplication which he LOVES, but I feel like he should at least do the work, even if he knows it, do you think its boredome? BUT he also does that for spelling, but moreso math.

he does this outloud or in his head. The other day he was doing math and staring at the ceiling, I got upset and asked him what he was doing and to get back to work, and he told me he was figuring out 14-8, I asked WHY casue the prolem he was on the ones was 14-5, but he did that 14-5=9, 14-6=8, 14-7=7, 14-8=6....and I thoguht he was daydreaming and he does that a lot.

SO, my question is, do I try to teach him to just answer the question, or do I allow for this extended problem solving. My concerns are that he wont ever get the work done, casue it takes forever to figure out each fact as he is doing it, and he will have to do standardized testing and a lot of that is times (not this year but in a few years he will), etc...
The positive side of this, I see he is thinking, taking his work to the next level, I feel like maybe he will invent something or figure out some great physics problems one day...lol

any input? anyone elses kids do this? He expands on a lot of stuff, but schoolwork I would love to get done in a timely mannar, and it takes forever cause of this.


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E- 1 year old!! !


NigNag
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25 Apr 2012, 1:46 pm

Part of the beauty of homeschooling is being flexible. If he knows the topic, and can master it fast like he seems to be doing move on.
Maybe give him a mastery test for the adding and subtracting, if he passes it move on to Multiplication.
Every so often throw in some adding and subtracting problems to check and make sure he is retaining the information.
If you feel you MUST go through every page in the math book (by the way even regular school teachers often skip portions of math books, go out of order, etc.), then set a timer when he starts doing this.
Give him the time to go through his thought process, but also give him a limit to doing so.
You can start to reduce the time he is given every time he does it.
That way you are not just putting an end to it and maybe causing a tantrum in the process. Gentle transition.



zette
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25 Apr 2012, 4:47 pm

It sounds to me like he hasn't learned his subtraction math facts. I would think it would be worth a try to get him to learn them, and if that is unsuccessful consider somethiing like tap math that gives you a quick way to calculate them using your fingers. You could do subtraction and multiplication in parallel so that he doesn't get bored.



MMJMOM
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25 Apr 2012, 6:01 pm

zette wrote:
It sounds to me like he hasn't learned his subtraction math facts. I would think it would be worth a try to get him to learn them, and if that is unsuccessful consider somethiing like tap math that gives you a quick way to calculate them using your fingers. You could do subtraction and multiplication in parallel so that he doesn't get bored.


he knows them all, the issue is that he has to repeat them all every time he adds or subtracts,he gets the initial answer immeidately, but its almost like an OCD he has to rattle off everything he knows. he also does this when reading, spelling, doing science, social studies...he will relate what he is learning to what he knew, knows, what it sounds like, what it reminds him of...etc. Another example, the word CAN, my son will write it, then write CANE, and say its CANE, then he will write CANES, and if you change the 1st letter to M it is MAN, then MANE, then MANES. Or in science learning about sensitive plant, he told me all about other plants that can move or not move, and then other things that move when touched, etc...He tends to ramble on and on and if you dont stop him it takes away from the time you have to complete a task, and it takes away from the meaning of the task itself! I can see the benefits, he is really putting things together, making connections, etc...but it also worries me that he wont ever finish anything casue his mind takes off with everyting he knows related to whatever it is he is doing!


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E- 1 year old!! !


DW_a_mom
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25 Apr 2012, 7:45 pm

My vote having two older kids who excel in math:

I think at 6 it is OK. Sounds like a developmental issue, to me.

Separately maybe do some rocket math or other speed tests with simple problems and see if he can stay on task, and continue to work with him on staying on task, but since he is only 6 ....

EVENTUALLY he will need to be able to stay focused and keep track of the steps, but that won't be super crucial until he is ready for long division, and even then if his smarts are too far ahead of developmental progress, you've got time: he doesn't need to master all that until 5th grade, and he'll be a different kid with this sort of thing by then.


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Mama_to_Grace
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25 Apr 2012, 9:35 pm

At age 6 this is ok. Better than ok, I think it's good. With all of his "practicing" of the facts they will come easier for him over time. Be happy he can do those problems at all at age 6. If it is bothering him, like he must say them or it doesn't feel "right" then that can become a problem. But sounds to me like right now he is just really intrigued with the way numbers work, which is a really good thing and will lead to a love of numbers hopefully.



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25 Apr 2012, 10:32 pm

MMJMOM wrote:
he knows them all, the issue is that he has to repeat them all every time he adds or subtracts,he gets the initial answer immeidately, but its almost like an OCD he has to rattle off everything he knows.


What your son is doing is a perseveration, which is in fact essentially like OCD, and he gets a miniature "high" off of it. He might continue doing it for quite a long time if you let him. He doesn't understand that the task has a time limit element to it, so the mention above about using a timer is excellent. I would recommend starting by setting the timer for each item (like in your example, 11-5 is an "item", since that's smallest thing he's perseverating on). When the timer dings, just say, "Time to write your answer and go to the next column." His mind will start recognizing that there is a limit to how long he can perseverate on any one item. You can start shortening the time, and then later move on to explaining to him that he now has a time limit for the entire problem, which will allow him to start understanding budgeting of time. In the long run, years down the road, he will need to be able to budget his time in order to accomplish bigger assignments.

As an analogy, you take a bite of chocolate cake, and then you want another bite because it's so tasty, and then another, etc. Since your stomach isn't unlimited, you might eat much more than just a single slice before you finally stop because you feel bloated. That part is what I mean about him not wanting to stop. He will stop eventually, but is that going to be any time this century? Now, imagine you are on a diet, and you know how many calories are in each bite. The diet represents the time limit. There is nothing wrong with eating a few bites of cake in and of itself, but eating until bloated, or not recognizing external constraints may cause problems.

He's building good mental pathways with his perseverations, in just the same way that a good pianist will practice the same song many times even after he has learned it, but the lesson that your son needs to learn is time management. You don't want to make him stop completely, but he does need to learn to separate tasks - in this case, separate school assignments from perseveration, and be able to prioritize.



MMJMOM
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26 Apr 2012, 5:24 am

NicoleG wrote:
MMJMOM wrote:
he knows them all, the issue is that he has to repeat them all every time he adds or subtracts,he gets the initial answer immeidately, but its almost like an OCD he has to rattle off everything he knows.


What your son is doing is a perseveration, which is in fact essentially like OCD, and he gets a miniature "high" off of it. He might continue doing it for quite a long time if you let him. He doesn't understand that the task has a time limit element to it, so the mention above about using a timer is excellent. I would recommend starting by setting the timer for each item (like in your example, 11-5 is an "item", since that's smallest thing he's perseverating on). When the timer dings, just say, "Time to write your answer and go to the next column." His mind will start recognizing that there is a limit to how long he can perseverate on any one item. You can start shortening the time, and then later move on to explaining to him that he now has a time limit for the entire problem, which will allow him to start understanding budgeting of time. In the long run, years down the road, he will need to be able to budget his time in order to accomplish bigger assignments.

As an analogy, you take a bite of chocolate cake, and then you want another bite because it's so tasty, and then another, etc. Since your stomach isn't unlimited, you might eat much more than just a single slice before you finally stop because you feel bloated. That part is what I mean about him not wanting to stop. He will stop eventually, but is that going to be any time this century? Now, imagine you are on a diet, and you know how many calories are in each bite. The diet represents the time limit. There is nothing wrong with eating a few bites of cake in and of itself, but eating until bloated, or not recognizing external constraints may cause problems.

He's building good mental pathways with his perseverations, in just the same way that a good pianist will practice the same song many times even after he has learned it, but the lesson that your son needs to learn is time management. You don't want to make him stop completely, but he does need to learn to separate tasks - in this case, separate school assignments from perseveration, and be able to prioritize.


LOVE THIS!! ! Thank you this makes soooo much sence. YES it is exactly like he is perseverating on stuff. And he completely gets a high off math specifically. He will sometimes have me rattle off numbers, facts, etc and he will get so excited he will pace back and forth, or skip and smile while I am saying the numbers.

I dont want to discourage it entirely, as I think his mind is amazing....but I do need him to learn about time management. This post was extremely helpful! Thank you!

I wonder if certain tasks I can let him do untimed, and others tell him specifically that he has to do them with the timer. I am going to try this!


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J- 8, diagnosed Aspergers and ADHD possible learning disability due to porcessing speed, born with a cleft lip and palate.
M- 5
M-, who would be 6 1/2, my forever angel baby
E- 1 year old!! !


NicoleG
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26 Apr 2012, 8:25 am

MMJMOM wrote:
He will sometimes have me rattle off numbers, facts, etc and he will get so excited he will pace back and forth, or skip and smile while I am saying the numbers.


Heehee - This is what I call GIRmanic, based on the seemingly hyperactive character from the cartoon Invader ZIM. It's the part of autism that a lot of people used to confuse with ADHD, I believe, but it's just sheer, unhindered elation. If you could be the most happy person in the world just by rattling off numbers, why wouldn't you keep doing it?

MMJMOM wrote:
I wonder if certain tasks I can let him do untimed, and others tell him specifically that he has to do them with the timer. I am going to try this!


Be sure to keep the "end time" positive. Try to resist using phrases like, "Stop thinking about the numbers now, and write your answer." Telling someone to stop thinking, especially the literal mind of the autist who is enjoying the high of those numbers, is like getting a jolt of electricity and may cause negative effects over time. Instead, keep him focused on what you want him to be doing next, rather than bringing attention to what you want him to stop doing. Notice in my original example I said, "Time to write your answer and go on to the next column," rather than, "Stop staring at the ceiling and finish the problem."

This also works for everything else. Say, "I need you to walk through the house," instead of, "No running through the house." Say, "You need to focus on eating your dinner, now," instead of, "Stop fidgeting."

Keep in mind, the most common response from a child after being told to stop fidgeting is, "Why?" The common response from a child told to keep eating is that they usually pick up the utensil and put another bite in their mouth before going back to fidgeting.

Since this works when interacting with ALL children, and ALL adults, it's a really good practice to get into the habit of.



MMJMOM
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26 Apr 2012, 1:03 pm

NicoleG wrote:
MMJMOM wrote:
He will sometimes have me rattle off numbers, facts, etc and he will get so excited he will pace back and forth, or skip and smile while I am saying the numbers.


Heehee - This is what I call GIRmanic, based on the seemingly hyperactive character from the cartoon Invader ZIM. It's the part of autism that a lot of people used to confuse with ADHD, I believe, but it's just sheer, unhindered elation. If you could be the most happy person in the world just by rattling off numbers, why wouldn't you keep doing it?

MMJMOM wrote:
I wonder if certain tasks I can let him do untimed, and others tell him specifically that he has to do them with the timer. I am going to try this!


Be sure to keep the "end time" positive. Try to resist using phrases like, "Stop thinking about the numbers now, and write your answer." Telling someone to stop thinking, especially the literal mind of the autist who is enjoying the high of those numbers, is like getting a jolt of electricity and may cause negative effects over time. Instead, keep him focused on what you want him to be doing next, rather than bringing attention to what you want him to stop doing. Notice in my original example I said, "Time to write your answer and go on to the next column," rather than, "Stop staring at the ceiling and finish the problem."

This also works for everything else. Say, "I need you to walk through the house," instead of, "No running through the house." Say, "You need to focus on eating your dinner, now," instead of, "Stop fidgeting."

Keep in mind, the most common response from a child after being told to stop fidgeting is, "Why?" The common response from a child told to keep eating is that they usually pick up the utensil and put another bite in their mouth before going back to fidgeting.

Since this works when interacting with ALL children, and ALL adults, it's a really good practice to get into the habit of.


Again, thank you! I do notice when I am in a better frame of mind and phrase things more positive I get more out of him. Of course, I am only human...and sometimes I just wish he could do ONE thing without me needing to constantly redirect him back to task...and those are the "Stop looking at the ceiling and finish your work!" days.

I do tell him what he can do rather then cant do most of the time, bus tometimes I forget this philosophy when doing school work!


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J- 8, diagnosed Aspergers and ADHD possible learning disability due to porcessing speed, born with a cleft lip and palate.
M- 5
M-, who would be 6 1/2, my forever angel baby
E- 1 year old!! !


Sweetleaf
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26 Apr 2012, 1:22 pm

I don't know if the timer thing is a very good idea.....he might find the ticking of the alarm, the noise of it going off and off course the stress trying to rush through your thinking process so you can get to the answer in time distracting. I know those sorts of things always made it harder for me to concentrate...I mean it is possible that he might not be able to do math as quickly or the same way as everyone else, so just keep that in mind but there are various techniques that can be tried.

Also have you tried explaining any of this to him, to me if it really is as bothersome of an issue as you say I'm thinking it could be related to something like OCD or a learning disibility or something so I don't know that just focusing on the acedemic side might not work because he might have real issues that might prevent him from doing math as quickly or the same way as others.....in which case an approach that takes his limitations into consideration should be developed, also it might be possible to treat symptoms which might decrease some of those issues.

But I am not sure there is really anything wrong, I mean maybe its just something he has to do to figure out math, and may learn to do it quicker as they get older and more familiar with math...so unless it really seems to be distressing him I would not worry about it too much at this age...I mean if you remind him to focus on the problem at hand is he able to do that?


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26 Apr 2012, 2:56 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
I don't know if the timer thing is a very good idea.....he might find the ticking of the alarm, the noise of it going off


This may be an individual thing. When my son was younger all his therapists (speech, OT, PT, behavioral, etc. ) recommended the use of a timer in our home to help my son keep on task and transition from one activity to another. I still use timers today, like when we are doing his homework. He gets 10 minutes of work, then a 5 minute break. He can focus really well during the 10 minutes, and then is able to do what he wants for 5 minutes. If I don't use a timer, he just can't seem to focus and get things done. His interests get in the way and he can spend hours doing those. I have also found this useful when he wants to think or do his areas of interest. When he is at school, they only have so much time in class to complete tasks. They will always be on a timer, only the ones in school are really loud. I think getting him used to using a timer when he was younger has helped him GREATLY as he has gotten older to manage his time.

My daughter has OCD, and her therapist has given her a worry time that she can use during the day to worry about the things she has on her mind. She uses a timer to give herself the 20 minutes of time allowed, then she has to stop worrying after that. They also use this technique as part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for people with anxiety issues.



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26 Apr 2012, 5:42 pm

he knows the math, its not that he is trying to figure it out, he knows it by heart and can tell you any answer if you ask him immediately. My son speaks his thought process, he does this in every subject and every area of life...even in karate. We took him to a nature preserve one day as a group class, he was in teh front and followed the teacher around and had something to add to evey single thing the teacher said. He has to rattle off everything he knows. It feels to me like an OCD. He was the ONLY kid out of abut 20 kids mostly his age or younger who did this so I dont believe it is age realted.

We do the microwave timer...it is quiet and doesnt distract him, and he actually does better with the timer, I guess I have to use it more.


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J- 8, diagnosed Aspergers and ADHD possible learning disability due to porcessing speed, born with a cleft lip and palate.
M- 5
M-, who would be 6 1/2, my forever angel baby
E- 1 year old!! !


momsparky
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26 Apr 2012, 7:21 pm

My son had an issue with the timer noises: we never implemented this, but it was suggested that we use a visual timer instead; there are special ones that have a green, yellow and red light; there's another one where the clock face changes to red as the dial passes. I have a feeling it might work in situations where a kitchen timer wouldn't.



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26 Apr 2012, 7:24 pm

NigNag wrote:
Sweetleaf wrote:
I don't know if the timer thing is a very good idea.....he might find the ticking of the alarm, the noise of it going off


This may be an individual thing. When my son was younger all his therapists (speech, OT, PT, behavioral, etc. ) recommended the use of a timer in our home to help my son keep on task and transition from one activity to another. I still use timers today, like when we are doing his homework. He gets 10 minutes of work, then a 5 minute break. He can focus really well during the 10 minutes, and then is able to do what he wants for 5 minutes. If I don't use a timer, he just can't seem to focus and get things done. His interests get in the way and he can spend hours doing those. I have also found this useful when he wants to think or do his areas of interest. When he is at school, they only have so much time in class to complete tasks. They will always be on a timer, only the ones in school are really loud. I think getting him used to using a timer when he was younger has helped him GREATLY as he has gotten older to manage his time.

My daughter has OCD, and her therapist has given her a worry time that she can use during the day to worry about the things she has on her mind. She uses a timer to give herself the 20 minutes of time allowed, then she has to stop worrying after that. They also use this technique as part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for people with anxiety issues.


Well yeah I guess everyone's different so that could be helpful for some people. I just know for me personally a timer would not help with anything other then of course if I'm cooking. But yeah it would be nice if I could just set up a time to worry and only worry then and then stop worrying for the rest of the day I can see how it could help some people, but I know I don't have that much control over my anxiety.

So yeah it could work wonderfully for the OP, but there is the chance it might not work to.


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