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.



Heidi... said...

I don't have any first hand advice or help but I have an idea... perhaps there is a company or organization that reviews products designed for special needs and you could apply to be a reviewer and receive free products for a review on your blog. I'm a reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and it's great to get free products in the mail.

Here's a link that might help...

Praying you get some answers!

Valerie said...

I don't know how educational they are, but my nephew, who is also autistic used to (still does actually and he is almost 12) LOVE little plastic animals, soldiers...anything that he could line up into a pattern. Animals were the best for him. He also liked colored blocks...perhaps some math manipulatives that he could make patterns with? I know all autistic kids are different, but Joel really liked to line things up...anything really from chairs to toys, even people. :)

Linda said...

I so wish I could help you Paula. Unfortunately I have never been exposed to Autistic children. I am sure though, some of your readers with have experience in some form to help you with this dilemma!

Mandy said...

I have been homeschooling my 5 year old who has Autism for 3 years now. We used standard unit building blocks, wooden puzzles and a fabric bag of beans to play "hot potato" which helped a lot with his hand-eye coordination. We played Whack-a-Mole and a fishing game that I forget what it's called. I gathered simple items like "cat" and "hat" to teach him the concept of rhyming...then we listened to a lot of silly poetry. But mostly we did crafts to teach him to tolerate things on his hands and to give him a way to express himself. We used various toys from Melissa and Doug because they hold up really well...some toys we even made ourselves. Oh, and we used wooden beads and shoe laces and a lacing kit to help with fine motor skills... In all actuality there's so much we were able to use there's not enough room to list it all here. For the most part it's not always about WHAT toy you use, but how you use it. Think outside of the box. If I can be of more help to you please let me know :-) Mandy

Rita Mosquita said...

Hi Paula,
I have Montessori training for ages 3-6 and 6-12. I also studied Special Ed in college, but do not have a Bachelors in Sp. Ed., but and A.A.
I would like to recommend that you find some of Montessori's books. Some of them can be very dry, but some of them will give you great ideas. The Secret of Childhood and The Discovery of the Child are more philosophical. The Montessori Method is more practical. It can be read online, but I know that you don't have regular access to the internet.
Also, there are many homeschoolers who incorporate Montessori ideas into their blogs.Many of them post materials which can be printed and used.
For a young child like Micah, many of the activities would be called "Practical Life" and would help him with coordination(gross, fine and hand-eye), directionality in preparation for reading, and much more. He would be able to practice dressing himself (buttoning, tying shoes), hand washing, scrubbing, polishing, etc.
Another area of work for a young child like Micah is called Sensorial, training of the senses. The materials for sensorial are available online, but very expensive. You can purchase them used through Yahoo groups. I'll get a name of one to you.
I will get back to you, but I am not sure we want to communicate through comments. We can email and I can direct you to many links and ideas. Rita

Rita Mosquita said...

There may be more and I will put together one document of links I recommend and send it to you through comments for now.

debbieo said...

Some ideas for fine motor skills are to play bean games. Counting and putting beans in small cups. Glueing beans on cardboard, macaroni too.
My dad had a stroke and they told him to pick up coins and put them in a cup, he was not suppose to slide them to the edge of the table to pick up.
Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

Here is a website that you may find helpful, Christian Families Homeschooling Special Needs Children.


Stephanie said...

For motor skills I would suggest these things: put a piece of tape on the floor, have him practice trying to put one foot in front of the other and he walks the line of tape. He can start out holding your hand, then gradually work to doing it on his own. Jumping is another good gross motor skill...line up something for him to jump over.
For fine motor skills, simple skills like trying to trace lines or shapes are fabulous with either a thick crayon or a pencil with a grip on it. There are many free printable for these online.
Also set him up with dishes, or an egg carton, and using a pair of large tweezers (I used to use a plastic pair I got with a $1 bug kit), and have him practice moving objects from one section or bowl to another. Just make sure the item is large enough that he can't swallow it, or use something fun, like Cheerios, that isn't a hazard if he eats it.

Hope those help:)

Mrs. Arrow said...

I wasn't sure what kind of activites you were looking for. I hope these ideas help.
For fine motor skills, you could use something as simple as putting clothespins in a plastic milk jug. Get a shoe box, cut a slit, round hole, etc. in the top. Playing cards in the slit, marbles in the hole, etc. You could do a lot homemade.
As for "cause and effect", have a cotton ball race across the table top blowing thru straws - but the cotton balls can't go off the table. He'll learn the harder he blows through the straw the further the cotton ball goes, but if it get close to the edge he has to blow gently. There are all kinds of activities like that. Check out parent forums and message board and you'll get plenty more ideas.
God bless.

Little Bit Of Land... said...

Paula, I've been a homeschooling mom for 19 years (don't homeschool anymore... caboose goes to a Catholic grade school now, for various reasons... and I've never homeschooled an autistic child)... and I'm just curious as to why you feel you have to start teaching a child that's first going to be 3 years old in April? My three children just hung-out with me when they were that age... doing the things I did & learning how to color in a coloring book & trying to fold towels fresh out of the dryer & banging on pots 'n pans & that sort of thing. I never did any formal teaching of a child that young.

Are autistic children "different" in that they have to be started with their formal education much younger than the others?

Sincerely~ Andrea

Bean said...

Some things my 2 1/2 year old grandson enjoys. A plastic tea set, he likes to pour water back and forth. Time at the kitchen sink playing in water with measuring cups and spoons. I save some food containers, the plastic box cocoa came in, a cardboard breadcrumb canister, an oatmeal canister, these are great to hide things in, transfer things in and out of, put things in and shake and make noise. Basic puzzles, a cheap puzzle can be made by gluing a picture to a cereal box and cutting out the pieces, or use christmas cards to make a matching game. Wooden blocks and duplo are great toys. A paper lunch bag can provide a lot of entertainment, put something in it and then the child puts in their hand and has to guess what the item is, or they can sort things into bags, such as all the red blocks in this bag, all the blue in that bag. Balls, and bean bags can provide a lot of entertainment too.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had an answer for you, but sadly, I don't. I just want to wish you the best of luck in your challenge with your little boy. I have two boys with autistic issues and even with the schools being as great as they can, life is a bit challenging. I see the progress my boys have made. An occupational therapist said my youngest son would never use a pencil. A speech therapist said he'd never speak. I don't respond well to negativity, so I did my best to educate myself so I could assist him. The following fall, he changed schools. I was pleased to meet a staff that looked to benefit the children and not their pocketbook. Together, we got results. His handwriting is beautiful, and his speech improves everyday.
My prayers are with you. Best of luck.