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School work from Home and Good News

Bluemetro March 21, 2020 10:46

We have finally got the Autism Diagnosis. However now have the break from discussing the relationship between this and the problems school see as non compliance.

He has been offered attendance at school for a shorter day but too much change and risk if not being understood so now have the challenge of doing this work at home in the mornings. Homework has not worked well up to know so could be interesting but also feel there is a need to build DS self esteem where he has no peers seeing he needs help. (He often says he does not need help when he does).

Any positive experiences from others with an anxious child of working at home with a child with low self esteem appreciated.

Safia March 21, 2020 15:58

Huge congratulations on getting the diagnosis - it’ll make such a difference! Have you had the consultants report yet? Any recommendations on what to do in that? Could you arrange a Skype / phone meeting with the SENCO?

I have no personal experience really - when my son was school refusing I never tried to get him to do school work - they never sent any either - my priority was keeping him safe. A lot depends on the age tbh as if younger it’ll be easier to get him to do little bits. Personally I’d let him choose and keep it short - as you say if you want it to be positive for self esteem then battles won’t be good - maybe see this as an opportunity for you to get more information about how he learns best and what motivates him for when he does go back to school? Also try lots of different approaches - online stuff as well as home Ed stuff - and your own ideas. Don’t feel restricted by what the school is asking. Be imaginative in your approach. Again age / exam expectations will come into it - as well as your sons attitude in general.

My daughter has a home tutor - she is 24 but had complex learning difficulties so has this till she’s 25. She will just do short bits - English is approached through a history topic which really interests her - so a bit of reading comprehension questions then word searches and related colouring in. She occasionally does the odd grammar sheet or maths sheet so she has something if the local authority need to see but intersperses all the work with painting or colouring in or sewing / craft activities which she loves - for example painting eggs when learning about the romanovs

so keep it short - be imaginative and be guided by his interests - and use the opportunity to build up a better picture of his needs for when he does go back to school - and for you to do lots of research on autism

Bluemetro March 21, 2020 16:24

Safia, thanks for your reply. He is year 7. The official report could take a while, although have requested things to be included for School. Have been given recommendations of places to provide input where school are not getting the link with the behaviour and Autism. Fortunately we can email SENCO so will keep them posted on how it goes.

I guess we are hoping to get something submitted which show what he is able to do and are hoping to do other activities in between. I guess the biggest challenge is the understanding that school still needs to take place but not in the usual place.

BeckyAUK March 23, 2020 11:15

Hi Bluemetro,

I home educate my 9yo who really struggles with self esteem and is very reluctant to try anything in case he fails. One thing I learned early on was that he needed to experience success so that he could see what that felt like and then want to feel that way again. So there's a fine balance to be found in coming up with activities and ideas that are not so easy as to be patronising, but easy enough that he can get some early success and build resilience and self-esteem a little bit. If you're going to be at home now for a while, perhaps look to build success in other areas as well as schoolwork, according to his interests? We found that our daily work schedule was often derailed by meltdowns that were really based in fear of failure and anxiety. Over time this has lessened as we've managed to build up a better store of successes and achievements, however small, and sometimes totally unrelated to traditional learning. I'm sorry if that doesn't sound very practical, but it really has been foundational for us in terms of making any progress at learning at all.

bluelizard March 26, 2020 14:36

Hi,

Glad you got the diagnosis, BlueMetro. I'm sure it will help enormously. . From helping AS with homework in the past, I was very much dreading the whole lockdown thing. I thought we would have the reluctance, the distracting himself, doing the minimal effort etc. Literally, I thought it would be a nightmare. AS suffers from a lack of self-esteem and is far too easily influenced by his friends (not in a bad way, but he feels the need to impress his peers with general silliness in class etc, you get the picture).

Anyway, move on a week and I'm feeling far more confident about everything. It has actually been a far better (even pleasureable) experience. I'm convinced AS must be incredibly anxious and probably quite exhausted by hyper vigilance etc. when at school. His behaviour has been fine today (a bit reluctant around doing science, to think I'm complaining about that, when he managed to do 2.5 hour study), but yesterday he was fantastic. We did loads of school work yesterday. He's even volunteered for things such as tidying his room, cooking and washing up in the past week. It's not a miracle, but I'm thinking this has, in a weird way, been quite beneficial for him. Also, because of the one to one nature, I can see if he is understanding something or not and we can revisit it without any judgement. I just want to capture this positivity, bottle it and send it to school with him. Any ideas?

There are lots of home-schoolers in the adoption world and now I can see why!

Bluemetro March 27, 2020 15:46

Bluelizard I see some similarities here. We have had some interesting moments, but once he understood that the Xbox had to go off for school and discovered that actually it was better when you have help and no peers can see you are getting this we had some good moments. We certainly had a few P.E. moves-picture the scene-curled up and him wondering if he would fall off and experimenting with rolling in between assignments, but if this helped him to focus that was fine with me.

I have found it helpful to see how much the problems with reading hinder him and how hard he finds understanding questions, but he doesn't like this to be seen in school, so finds it hard to take the help. It has been good to be able to email staff and portray this and send some information which has been appreciated regarding what is behind the behaviour in school due to anxiety. Looks like we have started a dialogue to help and get external support when back to normal.

I realised this had to work as he would not have coped (with EHCP) in school when staff had to stand 2 metres away.

The best thing about this has been seeing the successes. He may not have completed as much as expected or spent the expected time but he has done something and there is a small step in raising his self esteem. He has also had a couple of emails from staff complimenting him.

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