OCD in Apsie making (home)school hard

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trialanderror
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06 Sep 2008, 10:57 am

My 6 yo aspie daughter is having a hard time with OCD. We started homeschooling this year and boy am I glad we did. In kindergarten she got "ok" grades, but she was in a fit almost all the time. She had REAL problems with transition. Come to find out, it wasn't really the transitioning to another subject that set her off, but the fact that she hadn't gotten settled into the current subject before it was time to move on to the next subject. For example, I give them a journal sentence to start with every morning. All she has to do is copy the sentence starter and fill in the missing word with one of her choice. She needed desperate help with sentence building. At any rate, it takes the others a few minutes to get through the copied part of the exercise because they don't have to think yet, but she is such a perfectionist that her letters have to be the same height, same distance, etc.. It ends up taking her over an hour to write a 5 word sentence. I can see now that this is why she was getting so caught up in the transitions. She had barely started when it was time to move on. In contrast to that, if I let her take her own pace and get "primed" as I call it, she takes off with a vegence. If I let her take as much time as she needs to get a groove going, she will more than make up the time in the other stuff because she gains momentum. I have to actually say "Stop. You aren't supposed to do that until Thursday!" She wants to go on and on once she gets going.

I am glad that we have targeted the problem, but as she gets older, the work is going to get more challenging. She really needs to learn that there are going to be timed tests (she is supposed to be working on that) and deadlines for projects. I would rather teach her that slowly now than let it go until it is a real problem during the crucial period. It does cause some stress on her because she gets frustrated that everyone has theirs graded and she is not even done with the first word. She has to be brought back to attention after a mild meltdown every time. I can't revolve the school around her, though, because it isn't fair to the other kids and she needs learn to cope with the accomplishments of others. I know a few aspie parents see this as harsh (talked to support group members and they were appalled that I wasn't "Giving her free rein"), but my daughter does not have the same degree of difficulty in being set in her ways. She can learn to choose better reactions if she is taught the right way. She craves learning to better choose reactions because she recognizes that it is less stressful once she gets it (I realize I can be very thankful for that). I was the same way as an aspie/ocd kid, but no one took the time to teach me. I managed it as an adult, but it was harder to change habits.

Side note- she has this problem with most every aspect of life. We don't get on her when we ask her to clean her room and she has to sort out the play food by food group then color in order to put it away. Or when we go to the store and the mat in front of the door is off centered so she makes all the patrons moveout of the way so she can straighten it. I thought if she can get a handle on this one thing with school it may give her the confidence to work on the other things. It did for me and my OCD. I'm just blank about what tools to give her in this matter.



ster
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06 Sep 2008, 11:42 am

my daughter also has OCD tendencies.....we haven't had as much trouble as you seem to be having, though. I'd suggest rewarding her for work that's turned in faster than she is turning it in now. start slowly- tell her that if she can get her work in 2 minutes before she usually she does, she'll get a sticker/smiley face. once she builds up to 5 stickers, she earns a prize. once she has mastered this goal, try decreasing the amount of work time she has. ultimately, your goal is to get her to work in a more timely fashion.
another way, perhaps, to go about this is to get her working on a word processor instead of writing by hand. ..or as a supplement to handwritten work.



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06 Sep 2008, 1:39 pm

My kiddo is doing 9th grade this year (homeschool). This is the first year he will have timed tests, and that is only because I am starting him on the road towards the SAT.

I have HS'd since 4th grade, and have found more success (and less all-around pain) in teaching to mastery than in teaching to or towards a test - be it a simple test or a standardized one. As kiddo has matured, he has gained the management skills that will allow him to finally have "time limits". There was NO way he could have done time limited tests in 4th grade or younger (I know this, because he flailed on them in public school).

I finally had to look at him and not say "he's being OCD" or "he's being too particular or nitpicking", but look at him and say "he's aspie" - he is always going to be this way - do I teach him to embrace it (you have such beautiful penmanship!) so that he improves, or do I damn him with faint praise (ok, that's good enough, we still have other work to do). While every kid is different, the former worked best for my kid. (And using cursive rather than block helped tremendously)


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trialanderror
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06 Sep 2008, 3:50 pm

That's interesting that cursive helped! It helped me too as a teen.

I am still new to the homeschooling thing and am very uneasy about not giving them enough instruction. While I am very creative, I go blank when it comes to putting together lesson plans and I fall back on worksheets a lot (which she loves). I guess I am still stuck in the public school mode and need to find my homeschool footing. I just picked up my oldest from a playdate and the kid he was playing with is in gifted 4th grade. His vocabulary list is one that my kids (4th, 3rd, 1st) can almost completly define because we learned that last week together.

I have books that tell me what they need to know for their age and worksheets to get there, but like the suggestion earlier to let her use a wordprocessor rather than writing feels like a temporary fix. I know it would give her some relief to use that or even letter magnets, but shouldn't I be working on helping her get through it rather than around it? I am not wanting to put more expectations that she can handle, that's why I said I wanted to go slow, but it doesn't help to try and get around things all the time. ALthough it was hard for me as an aspie/ocd to learn through many trials and errors, I am gald that I forced myself to do that so that I could have the confidence to not give up. I completly understand that things are harder for her than other kids, I have been there, but at least learning the mainstream way even if you don't use it is important.

I understand that she is an aspie and that is just a fact of life, but I also don't want her to give up on finding different was of seeing things. I did that as a kid and had to teach myself to look outside MY box. She is so much like me and is verbal about wanting to learn how others see things.



natesmom
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07 Sep 2008, 1:34 am

Good topic.

My son is in kindergarten this year and does the same thing. He knows how to trace letters and numbers but since he has to do everything perfectly, it takes him forever. Homework takes most kids five minutes but it takes him about 30 - 45 minutes. He is fine with transitioning academic tasks as long as he gets to complete every task before going on to the next one. He is always the last one to finish by about 15 minutes not because he can't do the work but because of his perfectionist tendencies. The teacher told me that he doesn't need to complete all the tracing at home because she is not concerned about his writing at all. Yet, we do need to complete his homework. If we don't, he will not be alright when he gets to school and see other kids did the homework and he didn't. He cried the other day when he did a problem on his assignment incorrectly (coloring boxes from left to right and not right to left - he is left handed). He is only in kindergarten but was so hard on himself. My husband is like that, too. My son is in private school with smaller classes and is doing really well. They are more accommodating but SO EXPENSIVE - ouch. It may not be an option in a few years due to increasing costs of medical insurance :( Perhaps at that time, HS will be an option for us. He loves to go to school, though. We will see

Ster! Wonderful idea. I love it. I will try that idea for his homework.



Number_2
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07 Sep 2008, 3:40 pm

trialanderror wrote:
I guess I am still stuck in the public school mode and need to find my homeschool footing

"They" say it takes a year of homeschooling to "undo" the public schooling mindset. I found that to be true myself, and have seen it to be true for everyone I know.

Quote:
I have books that tell me what they need to know for their age and worksheets to get there

Ah. I tried those at first. And then I realized that those lists are designed/determined by committee, based on "median developmental age" or some such [email protected] In other words, a bunch of people who teach NT kids decided that, developmentally, all 1st graders could "grasp" a particular set of topics, and voila! a national curricula was born.

I don't know about your kid, but my kid is zoomy in a lot of areas, absolutely average in a couple, and lagging in MATH. He can do history and advanced science while sleeping. He is capable of higher level grammatical concepts than I am (I know this because I've watched him parse and diagram - 2 skills I do not have). He hates to write (surprise, surprise, surprise). The ideas are there, but the desire is not. Math. Urg. Numbers do things in his head that don't match the way books show it. Higher maths and Algebra is all about "show me the work".

But have all of these skills shown up "on time"? Of course not. We've reached 9th grade with all of the skills necessary to start 9th grade, yes, but some of the 4th grade skills weren't mastered until 6th, and some of the 6th grade stuff finally showed up as "lightbulb moments" in 8th... you get the picture.

So it isn't just "he didn't quite get the hang of playing soccer until he was 10" when the other kids could do it at 6; that same developmental mismatch applied to trying to give him all of his study subjects at the same level.

Quote:
but like the suggestion earlier to let her use a wordprocessor rather than writing feels like a temporary fix. I know it would give her some relief to use that or even letter magnets, but shouldn't I be working on helping her get through it rather than around it?


I would say that you are correct. She can't carry a laptop around with her for the rest of her life. And even if she could, there will be forms to fill out.

Quote:
I completly understand that things are harder for her than other kids, I have been there, but at least learning the mainstream way even if you don't use it is important.


As a good friend of mine says: "fake it until you make it". The reality is, it's an NT world, and we have to know how to operate in it.

Quote:
I understand that she is an aspie and that is just a fact of life, but I also don't want her to give up on finding different was of seeing things. I did that as a kid and had to teach myself to look outside MY box. She is so much like me and is verbal about wanting to learn how others see things.


You sound like you'll do fine.

I didn't get my curricula together (really) until kiddo was in 6th grade, so I don't know a lot about the younger grades, but feel free to PM me if you want.


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trialanderror
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08 Sep 2008, 6:45 pm

Tee-Hee. I use "fake it til you make it" all the time. Especially when the pouts and fits get out of hand. Smile and pretend you are getting along!

I guess it boils down to the fact that she doesn't like being told when to be done or move on. That is her only real intensity (besides and obsession with coloring). We did journaling again today and she couldn't spell her friend's name, so she would not move on until it was remedied. SHe had a worksheet and she had to fill words in the blank, but it took forever because the "u" just didn't look right.

As for being able to do things at home, the teacher would get frustrated with her and tell her to do them at home, too. The problem was that she did not want to do them because they were school work and not homework. We found it somewhat helpful for her to have one of those sand timers on her desk for 3 minutes before the end of session. It gave her motivation to try and "beat " the timer. It worked sometimes. She had to carry it around with her, so that wasn't always practical.

I know that hs is supposed to be great because they can do things in their own way, but I also feel it is important for her to figure out how to be in this world without being stressed out. I am glad that I have the opportunity to give her a chance to learn that (as she was left to fend for herself in school). I just wish I knew how. Thinking like an aspie kid is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. That is my aspie/ocd problem. The gift that keeps on giving, eh?Thanks for the support.



Tortuga
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09 Sep 2008, 8:55 am

I got one of those "Easy" buttons from Staples. To stay focused and encourage speed, my son will press the "Easy" button when he's finished a problem on a worksheet. It probably works only because he has some OCD tendencies. He won't push the button until he finished the problem, but he wants to push the button so he hurries up.

Another trick is to turn the work into a game, I work a Sudoku puzzle or something like that and I bet him that I can finish my puzzle before he finishes his worksheet. He actually loves playing that game.