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pinacolada pinacolada is offline
 
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I don't know what the hell I'm doing
Old 07-01-2020, 01:48 PM
 
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I have about 10 years of classroom teaching experience (grades 1-2 and 4-5) and a reading specialist credential. I have a pretty good track record of helping students struggling in the area of literacy. I resigned from teaching in 2016 after my son was diagnosed with Autism. Although I have learned a lot about Autism and other areas he struggles with I feel like I'm not the best person to teach him and I don't know if I'm doing the right "thing". Creating the activities isn't that big of a deal, it's getting him to attend to the task. Our day is basically activity break activity break. The actiivty usually takes 5-7 min. and then he gets a break to do whatever he likes while I prepare for the next one. The activity that takes longer is usually fine motor because we do some gross motor and fine motor warmups before we move to tracing. Right now we are doing the following each day (not in this order):

fine motor activities and tracing

sight word spelling with tiles and stamps (he can recognize 30+)

alternating with him reading a sight word book (super short) and me doing a read aloud where we focus on retelling with sequencing cards

started letter sounds but may have to put that to a halt

recognizing numbers using tens frames

With the exception of letter sounds, he can do the rest easily. It's just that he is very distracted. Even if I so much as scratch my head he loses focus.

Apps are visually overhwhelming for him and he loses focus during those quickly. I had posted on busy board regarding phonemic awareness and downloaded the "lite" version of Early Literacy Skills Builders. I think the program is break but he can't even focus for a minute. Plus of him, the less "talking" there is the better.

Anyways, am I expecting him to do too much? He is 6 and will be in kindergarten. He is preverbal, I guess his language skills are around the age of a 3-4 year old? Fine motor is around age 3-4.

It's just that he's so behind in so many areas I don't know what to focus on.

Multisensory activités and incorporating art etc. frustrates him and gets him more confused (multisensory activities that is) so I can't even use a wide variety of tools to teach him.

I don't know what I'm looking for here by having typed all of this. I'm looking for a tutor for him but everyone I've reached out to is offering virtual only which would mean I would have to implement everything and I don't think he responds well to me. He is very compliant in school (well when he was in school) so I think he needs someone else to teach him.


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Old 07-01-2020, 04:25 PM
 
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Do you have access to tele-health services?

I thought tele-Health was going to be a cluster-eff for DS and he shocked the heck out of me and was amazing.

That being said, when all this hit, I drastically lowered my standards. We’ve been “doing this autism thing” long enough to know that me attempting to recreate a school situation at home isn’t going to work for DS. And I’ve had an intensive class designed by DS’s school so I *know* how to teach him and how to help him. It’s done wonders for our daily interactions. He’s getting his therapies reinforced across the board because of this class.

Instead, I look for natural ways to build in practice throughout the day. For example, one of his speech goals is to differentiate between pronouns he/him, she/her, they/them. As we go through our day, I work in natural places to reinforce this concept and practice it. No flash cards. No special activities. Just regular daily life.

The other thing DH and I did was sit down and agree that we knew regression was going to happen. It just was. We could drive ourselves crazy trying to maintain skills and push him or we could preserve all our sanity and pick a few things to focus on.

We chose:
1. Expanding his utterances. He’s up to 4-5 words in a phrase, I refuse to let that regress.

2. Reduced screen time and more time outside. Winter is over and dangit, we’re going outside.

3. The boy will dress himself!

4. We’re going to work on managing his frustration.

5. He’s going to work on washing his own hair.

Some of these goals he is knocking out of the park, others he is still working on. He’s made huge gains in other areas.

I guess what I’m saying is, give yourself some grace. I know the pressure you feel, like every second not spent helping him is a second he’s falling further behind. This pandemic will end. He will get skills he lost back. It will be ok.

If you want to PM, feel free. It’s a hard time for everyone right now, but you will be ok and so will your son.

Last edited by h0kie; 07-01-2020 at 05:02 PM..
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:32 PM
 
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As a kinder teacher, I would say that focusing on the fine motor tasks and verbal/social skills are the most important out of your list. Sight words, alphabet, and phonics will all come during kindergarten. It's much easier to make up for a lack of academic skills in the classroom than it is those foundational, non-academic ones. And since he is not yet in kinder, he isn't struggling with those academics yet, and maybe he won't.
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Old 07-02-2020, 03:20 AM
 
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Do you have any in-home autism / ABA programs in your area? They would come into your home to work with him for several hours each week. If you aren't sure, you may be able to reach out to the special ed department of your local school district to see if they know of a program. Or google ABA services for your area.

It can take a long time to for him to get approved for the services, so the sooner you start the process, the better.
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pinacolada pinacolada is offline
 
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:49 AM
 
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He does get ABA but these therapists really don’t have a lot of experience working with autistic kids in the sense they kind of just follow a script. All you need is an HS diploma to become an ABA therapist. They don’t know how to differentiate etc


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Aba
Old 07-02-2020, 09:42 AM
 
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An ABA therapist should be overseen by a BCBA who should have a heck of a lot more education than a high school diploma.

That being said, I’m not a proponent of ABA so I can’t speak to how that could/should help you or how it all works.

An OT would be able to do the fine and gross motor things with him. DS saw his OT twice a week for 15 minutes and he definitely made progress. Sure, I sat next to him and kept him on task, but I also allowed him to wander off and come back. He had good days and bad days.

The academic stuff will be covered in kindergarten. Like the PP said, I wouldn’t sweat it. Focus on the other skills and see about a different ABA therapist or an OT.
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Movement & fidget tous
Old 07-02-2020, 09:01 PM
 
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For many of our students they need movement breaks to regulate their nervous system before they can attend to work. They may need fidget items to hold while working as well.
You may already know this, but in case it is new information, you can look up proprioceptive and vestibular motions. Many times it's trial and error but if you offer the visual choices your son may gravitate to what he needs. It will help with his focus.
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