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schleppenheimer
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16 Apr 2008, 11:05 am

Nan, I consider these things non-essentials as well, but my son enjoys them. I'm going to have a talk with him about the theater school -- he can do a summer camp, and skip the theater program that's held during the school year. I would prefer that, but I don't know if he'll go for it. The play that's the result from the theater program is over at the end of this month, so I'll be able to point out how calm and wonderful things are with homework AFTER the play is over -- maybe I can convince him then.

Also, even though these two activities are non-essential, they provide very beneficial social skills. It's difficult to think about cutting this out when it helps to provide a well-rounded experience for my son.

Kris



ouinon
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16 Apr 2008, 11:05 am

cd1 wrote:
What is your degree in?

Psychology and Biology. I got a 2:2, ( Honours Degree, lower second) waffling waffling waffling, with a good vocabulary.

I learned nothing at uni, by then I no longer knew what it meant "to learn", as in study/pursue knowledge; it had been drummed out of me by school.

I did "learn", though, that you can get a degree knowing almost nothing, which by then didn't surprise me.

What I know now about psychology and biology I owe to independent study begun after a massive moment of mental-reawakening 3 years after had I left "education" behind me.

8)



Nan
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16 Apr 2008, 12:04 pm

schleppenheimer wrote:
Nan, I consider these things non-essentials as well, but my son enjoys them. I'm going to have a talk with him about the theater school -- he can do a summer camp, and skip the theater program that's held during the school year. I would prefer that, but I don't know if he'll go for it. The play that's the result from the theater program is over at the end of this month, so I'll be able to point out how calm and wonderful things are with homework AFTER the play is over -- maybe I can convince him then.

Also, even though these two activities are non-essential, they provide very beneficial social skills. It's difficult to think about cutting this out when it helps to provide a well-rounded experience for my son.

Kris


Kris - I know, it's a balancing act. And it's tough as hell and painful, and, having been there I know you sometimes have to do things that you think best and then walk out of the room and have a good cry at the misery your kid is temporarily in. But you have to be the parent. You have to weigh it - is temporary misery that could help out in the long run worth the trade-off of having to deal with it at the time, having to be the heavy? Or not. (Sometimes the answer really is "or not".) I have often wished kids came with "owner's manuals", but they don't.

There's a time to negotiate, and there's a time to step in and say "you don't appear to be able to handle this, you are overloaded. We have to take the nonessential tasks out of your day." And then do it. Quite frankly, I remember that happening to me, and it sucked bigtime. But when you can't handle it all, you can't handle it all. Everyone has limits. You might point out that just because it's this way this year it may not be that way next year. I don't know how late your school year runs. You seemed to indicate that it's a traditional school - that will give you the summer to sort this out a bit. If it's year-round, you might pull the extra activities when there's a good stopping point soon (as you mentioned). Then after a period of just schoolwork, and rest, and some outside play (if possible where you live) after school, you could slowly start adding activities back in, stopping when he starts struggling. It's tough - but you know your kid best. Wish I could give you something more concrete, but I only know what worked for me and for my kid. I wouldn't prohibit outside activities entirely, but ration them out to the degree that he can handle them. Starting at none and working up to his current limit at the time. As he learns to handle more, give him more to handle so he learns that he CAN master them. And be sure to point that out to him, when he does so - how far he's come, how well he's doing. And that everybody has limits, and as he grows he'll learn to expand them. Try to keep it positive.

To tell you the truth, I believe that a lot of the actual subject matter kids get in primary and secondary school (and a lot of the first few years of university) is either outdated, propaganda, or pointless. It's not so much the material that's important, it's training one's mind to learn to absorb info, to cateogorize, store, make sense out of it. The same with homework. The actual content of the lessons may be almost completely pointless. The life lessons learned are that one sometimes has to do things one does not like to do to get ahead, that one has to learn time management, that one has to learn self-discipline. One has to be responsible for one's actions and assignments, and get them done when they're due. It's also learning how to function in "the machine" - in society. As an Aspie, I have to say, society on the whole also sucks. But that's what we have to deal with. The co-workers, the neighbors, the bosses, the shop and trades people, paying bills, making plans, getting to work on time, keeping a job, trying to have a life....

The actual process of him working through what he needs to do to be able to get his homework done is a hell of a good lesson. Trial and error, learning from what works and what doesn't work for HIM, what helps HIM get the task done, is just invaluable. I can't stress that enough. The "doing" of making it work. Not only does he learn what "works", but that he can figure out what works - he can figure out how to get through a problem. He is capable. If he can solve this, he can solve other things....

Sometimes the kids don't realize they've learned that. (A whole lot of the time, actually.) I always tried to point out to my kid, when she'd completed a particularly odious project, what it was she'd actually done. Not only did that research paper get done, but she'd learned what waiting til the last minute did to collaborative projects, how she recognized that she needed to always have a "plan B" in case what she thought would work didn't (or if her task-mates flaked on the project), how to find info not readily available in the library by asking the research librarian (learning how to ask for help), the librarian being kind enough to show her how to use a CD reference set (new skill acquisition), etc. And then when she was slogging through editing the paper, I could point out to her how much her grammar had improved, how nicely she arranged the graphs and charts and figured out which ones made the paper stronger and which were just clutter, etc. As I said, it's not always the obvious - it's not always the actual subject material that's the important lesson. It's learning the life skills and developing confidence from mastering them that I have found to be the most essential things.

And again, I can't say that this would be the same for everyone. But it worked well for me, and also for my kid. The very best of luck to you.



ouinon
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16 Apr 2008, 12:46 pm

Nan wrote:
I believe that a lot of the actual subject matter kids get in primary and secondary school (and a lot of the first few years of university) is either outdated, propaganda, or pointless.
:thumleft: * :thumright: * :lmao: * :afro: Indeed!
Nan wrote:
It's not so much the material that's important, it's training one's mind to learn to absorb info, to cateogorize, store, make sense out of it. The lessons learned are that one sometimes has to do things one does not like to do to get ahead, that one has to learn time management, that one has to learn self-discipline. One has to be responsible for one's actions and assignments, and get them done when they're due. It's also learning how to function in "the machine" - in society. Sometimes the kids don't realize they've learned that. (A whole lot of the time, actually.) I always tried to point out to my kid, when she'd completed a particularly odious project, what it was she'd actually done. Not only did that research paper get done, but she'd learned what waiting til the last minute did to collaborative projects, I could point out to her how much her grammar had improved, how nicely she arranged the graphs and charts and figured out which ones made the paper stronger and which were just clutter, etc.

I've just remembered something I learned at school. Writing a precis. I was really excited, because oh boy did I get it; the beauty of reducing a long passage to its bare bones, scraping away the excess, making it lean and streamlined. So the same week as we learned this in English, I used it for a history essay.

I included all the facts, all the details, and structured it beautifully, no repetition, no fluff or rhetorical flourishes, and... ... got an F. I asked the teacher why. She said it was too short, ( there was no length specified, just a title/subject). I asked her what I had missed out. She mentioned a few things, all of which I pointed out to her were in my essay. She had no grounds for giving me an F.

That was the time I learned that lots of well worded waffle works. Form over content. The more the better.

I learned not to try to make any sense of information in school. I learned to regurgitate "facts" with as little thought as a machine. I learned that it was a mistake to try and make sense of them, usually teacher would mark me down for my interpretation of things. Instead I learned to cunningly rearrange words and phrases so it would look less like the page in the text book I'd taken it from, and to include lots of lovely pretty pictures I'd copied out of encyclopedias, to fill up the space.

I learned to let other people organise my time. I learned how to follow a rhythmical regular timetable, to respect those beautifully clear blocks of time in differently numbered rooms, with colour coding to help see what each thing was. I learned to do what I was told, or get into trouble. Not what I call time management or self-discipline.

And although I went right through school with upper quartile marks most of the time, ( apart from in french and music, where I was dismal!) I did not get ahead afterwards, because none of it made any sense. What did it all apply to but constant "getting by", pleasing teachers? But school stopped suddenly and there weren't any more exams to go to anymore, no lessons at regular times, no more being told exactly what to do.

8)



Last edited by ouinon on 17 Apr 2008, 2:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

cd1
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16 Apr 2008, 12:57 pm

If it helps, this year we pulled my son out of baseball, even though he loves it. He has baseball talent - which is great for an aspie kid with motor skills issues - but we had to focus his energies in other more important areas. It hurt him when we told him. It hurt me more to tell him. In the long run I think he'll have been better off and maybe he can return to baseball later. As was written above, sometimes you have to do the immediately painful thing in order to keep the long term goals on course.



DW_a_mom
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16 Apr 2008, 2:45 pm

I'm a little late with this thread, and I haven't read it all, so sorry if I'm repeating things that have already been addressed and concluded.

Homework seems like the never ending battle. My son discussed his homework stress in his counseling group, and made a decision to do his homework first thing, so that it wouldn't taint his whole day. And that worked. For a while.

The few small things he needed to do over spring break were a disaster.

When things were really bad, before I joined here, I broached the subject in another Aspie forum and the first thing I got were a lot of rants about how useless homework is, and why it's bad for kids. Clearly, this is an issue that many on the spectrum feel strongly about, lol!

Our response has been a bit of give and take. To some extent we let it slide, either signing him out when we think he has given an honest effort and has mastered the skills being practiced, or allow him to take the negative consequences at school. As a fifth grader, he needs to start standing on his own, for better or for worse, when it comes to his own decisions. The best situations, I think, are when he can articulate what is going on in his head, and a viable solution can be offered. It's in his IEP to allow us to modify his homework, and if we can know what is causing the problem, we can often modify it successfully.

But, mostly, it's going to always be a roller coaster, I think. Periods of brilliance, and periods of doing everything to avoid the task.

One suggestion I got at the other forum which seemed very positive is to try and have an in school homework period assigned. Apparently many middle school and high school Aspies have done this, and it seems to take a lot of the stress out of it. Instead of homework, it now feels like school work, and that is easier to swallow for some reason.

I do think that my son - that any person - needs to learn how to tackle tasks that are unpleasant or that seem prohibitive in the moment. Finding your way through this sort of thing is part of living life. I just don't think he needs to fight that lesson every single day.


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Mom to an amazing AS son, who recently graduated from the university (plus an also amazing non-AS daughter). Most likely part of the "Broader Autism Phenotype" (some traits).


cd1
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16 Apr 2008, 2:57 pm

DW_a_mom wrote:
I do think that my son - that any person - needs to learn how to tackle tasks that are unpleasant or that seem prohibitive in the moment. Finding your way through this sort of thing is part of living life. I just don't think he needs to fight that lesson every single day.



That's a hard call to make. Eventually he will have to fight that lesson every single day. Just staying neutral in local society is a struggle when one lives on the wrong planet.



Nan
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16 Apr 2008, 2:59 pm

cd1 wrote:
DW_a_mom wrote:
I do think that my son - that any person - needs to learn how to tackle tasks that are unpleasant or that seem prohibitive in the moment. Finding your way through this sort of thing is part of living life. I just don't think he needs to fight that lesson every single day.



That's a hard call to make. Eventually he will have to fight that lesson every single day. Just staying neutral in local society is a struggle when one lives on the wrong planet.


Exactly.