Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Many Thanks!

Thank you for all the ideas and comments from my last post. I am grateful to all of you.

One question that came up was why I would homeschool a little one Micah's age. Typically, with a special needs child you would enroll them into a headstart type of program once they reach age 3 and no longer a part of the early intervention program. With autism, I am quickly learning that the more helpo you give them at a very young age, the better they make progress. You don't want that gap between early intervention and school age to be left without some type of therapy or work.

We have chosen to begin working with Micah on the preschool-type activities, but incorporate the fine motor skills and such that he lacks. We are doing it in a relaxed setting, but it must be done daily to help him retain the information and skills learned. He quickly "forgets" new skills if not practiced daily.

Thank you again for the ideas. I am gleaning through them and working at coming up with more. We recently were notified that Micah is approved to receive SSI/disability funds and plan to use it exclusively towards his therapy & education. What a blessing it will be.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reaching Out For Ideas

Today, I am reaching out to you all for ideas and suggestions concerning Micah.

Micah will be 3 yrs. old in April. As the regular blog readers already know, Micah has Autism. As of April 4th, he will no longer be in the Early Intervention program. We plan to homeschool him along with Abigail and my grandson, David. The local headstart program is not going to be a good fit for him. They will do things for him & not help teach him to become independent.

I have been looking into educational materials for him. Toys and items that will help him to develop fine motor skills, cause & effect toys that make him have to work out how to operate them, etc. In the catalogs from companies that specialize in special education/therapy related products, these things can be horribly expensive. I am looking for ideas of affordable alternatives to the more pricey versions.

I would love to hear from others who have experience homeschooling autistic children also. How did you get started? I know that once Micah is grade school age, we can use lower level materials (i.e. preschool level in place of kindergarten or grade 1) if needed. But where do you start if you are at the very beginning with a preschool age child? Any suggestions of what worked well for you?

I want to give Micah the best start that I am able. Having autism can be a stumbling block if allowed. Our goal is to raise Micah to become as independent as possible. We have already been advised by teachers and others in the public education system to avoid putting him in the schools in our rural area as they will not benefit him.

The thought of homeschooling Micah doesn't intimidate me. I am just needing a starting point to work from. I bought the book, "Slow and Steady, Get me Ready" by June R. Oberlander. It has a lot of great ideas for teaching the developmental skills that Micah is needing. I am searching now for ideas on how to teach him the preschool level academics-type things. Any ideas?

Thank you for the support and comments you have offered in the past. They are much appreciated.

May the Lord's blessings be with you.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Prairie Boot-Camp

Well, it has begun. Grandma Boot Camp is in progress. My oldest daughter, her husband, and their son (who is the same age as Abigail) have been living with us for a couple of weeks now. I've been loving it. Abigail now has someone her age to play with and Micah is thriving in the changes.

Christy & JR (my daughter & son-in-law) are wonderful with Micah. He has accepted the changes very well and is bonding to them beautifully. JR is Micah's buddy and Micah seeks him out quite often. Christy is planning to do daycare in their home when they get their own place. She wants to specialize in tending special needs children - something that is much needed in our area.

After the novelty of having a new child to play with wore off for Abigail & David (my grandson), they began taking on each other's bad habits as well as developing an attitude of entitlement. Well, that doesn't fly in our home. Time for Prairie Boot Camp to commence!

The first lesson was the kids being told that they now will have daily chores. They were not too keen on this, but we are moving forward. The next topic was that the phrases "I want..." and "I don't want to..." are no longer in their vocabulary. Their new favorite phrases will be "What can I do to help?" and "What do you need done?"

We are not asking too much from the kids. Their chores are age appropriate and well within their ability. They are working along side of us. If they choose to not do their chores, then there are direct and immediate consequences. No excuses are permitted.

Gradually, they are learning that the amount of playtime that they have is increased if they work quickly. "Wool-gathering" instead of doing their chores results in less playtime. It has been great to see them realising that the work goes faster when they work together. They are also becoming more respectful in their attitudes.

Now, before I get the obnoxious comments about harming kids by having them actually do chores, let me state this. We are trying to get a small family farm going. These kids are being raised as farm kids. Learning from a young age that good work ethics is NOT harmful to a child. There are too many people already in our society who are lazy and think that they should be handed things the easy way. Howe often have you seen people do the bare minimum to earn their pay while others work hard to make sure things are done & done right? We have all complained at one time or another about it. By raising the kids to have a strong work ethic, they will become contributors and not slackers.

Are the kids thrilled at having to do chores? Not always. They are learning however, some very valuable lessons that will benefit them later on in life.