Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Teaching an autistic child at home

Teaching an autistic child at home

I am the mother of an autistic teen named Mark who is 19 years old. He is severely speech delayed, (he cannot talk much at all), he does not walk very well, and although he is 19 years old, he has the mental ability of a 4 year old. Mark is a very loving person, but he does not understand things as you and I do. Unfortunately, this is the life of so many people with autism, and teaching them is quite a challenge, especially for a homeschool mom. However there is an online program that is inexpensive compared to other online programs that are educational, and a lot of fun for someone with autism, even if they are 19 years old. Time4learning.com is an online curriculum that I have been using for my 9 and 10 year old kids for the past year now, and I am getting ready to start my autistic son on it as well. I tried the demo with him and he just absolutely loved it! They have a special program for special needs children, and my son was able maneuver the site and interact with the program with little help from me.

We pulled Mark out of public school when he was 12 years old, because the school was not only not teaching him a thing, there was also an issue that got so out of hand that he screamed and threw major fits about going to school to a point that he began having seizures on a daily basis. Mark is also epileptic, so this was not a good thing at all. Since we pulled him from school, we have tried everything to teach him, with little success. What he does learn from though is computer based programs. I don't know if he will ever be able to write, or talk, learn his ABC's in terms that we know, but what I do know is that when he does preschool or kindergarten work on a computer based program, he does learn, I can only see his accomplishments through watching him as he is working, but watching what he can do in a computer program is simply amazing. He loves strategy games, and Time4learning is built up of some really fun games that teach children. Mark recognizes certain numbers and letters, and can match them up in matching games. He can run through an obstacle course once and will remember every move each time after. He has an awesome memory for computer based work, but yet he cannot function at all hardly away from the computer. I really would like to be able to get Mark a facilitator, but that will have to wait until we are more financially stable and can afford the high cost of one. Until then, Time4learning is an inexpensive alternative to that, and he likes it.

If you have an autistic child, or a child with other mental disabilities, and you have struggled with the school system and now want homeschool your special needs child, but don't know where to start, we suggest starting with Time4learning. You can try them free for 14 days to see if your child likes the program, and how well it will or will not work for you and child, so there is nothing to loose, and everything to gain.

Visit Time4learning at - http://www.time4learning.com/learning-special-needs.shtml

Visit The Dunkin Academy online at - http://www.thedunkinacademy.com

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Value of Home School Socially

When I was a kid, I went to 5 different schools in 5 years time, and it really had a horrible impact on me. Public schools are not the environment for a new kid in town, not to mention for everyday kids. I grew up afraid to talk to people, afraid to make friends, and the friends I did make were all the wrong ones. Of our 8 children, I should clarify that 6 are from my wifes previous marraiges, but when I married her I made it clear that I married her children also, and I love each of those kids as if they were my own. In fact, most of them are closer to me than they are to their own father. I've had the priviledge to walk two of my step daughters down the aisle, and the last one I think was more emmotional for me than my own daughters wedding will be, we are that close as a family. My children have Mom & dad, and brothers and sisters as their closest friends, and they have neighborhood friends. We have rules in our house about language in movies, and if our children, 9 & 10, get a movie and start watching it in another room, even if they are getting into the movie, if the words we do not allow are spoken, they come running into the room with the DVD in hand, and say, "They said the bad word", and no more of the movie is watched. You know what? They make thier friends the same way, and if a kid they are with starts speaking fowl language, they flat out tell them, "We don't use that language here". My kids readily make friends, and they hava a comfort zone because they are not forced into it. They will not likely develop foul mouths because they are not tossed in with kids that do use it.If a childs primary association is other children who have not yet developed their security level of who they are, how can that child develop a security level of their own? As we grow up, (speaking from my own emotions and life experience), we depend on Mom & dad, (ever notice how Mom always comes first?), they are the security, the rock of stability, the ones you run to when you get hurt, the ones you show your latest efforts hoping to win approval. Then you go to public school, and you are thrown in with a bunch of immature kids who don't have a clue about life yet, but will do anything to win the approval of their peers, and certain, often undesirable, characters seem to be at the top of the, "I wanna be like him" hill. This creates some serious mixed signals between that mature, understanding parental figure who understands life, and this character of a kid who in reality is insecure himself which is why he is the way he is, and if you think about it, it should be no surprise that half of todays kids grow up confused, not knowing who they are or what they are supposed to be like as parents. They don't even understand how to play a role in a relationship. My kids make friends immediately, and unlike my mother, I do not have to tell them that certain kids are a bad influence.For thousands of years childrens education was in the hands of the parents, in most cases a son would do what his father did, but this was not always true. Men got along just fine and society, giving consideration to the lack of technology they had then, seemed to flourish just fine. Schooling has only been going on perhaps for a few hundred years, and only in this century, in fact in my life time has public schools been centrally controlled by the government. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The jury is still out on that, but we have known several homeschooled children besides our own, with a home school association and activities for the children, they get the education, the social life, and the stability that only a parent can provide without the shock, of being stuck in with lots of strangers trying to figure out life.Today, your children don’t have to be stuck to following Dad’s career or Mom’s career, and they don’t have to be stuck with the problems associated with public schools. There are many different curriculums out there, and we have tied several over the past 12 years. Last year we found what is by far the best curriculum we have yet to find, and the first curriculum we have decided to use for 2 consecutive years. Our choice, and the program we are using this year is Time4learning, it is an internet based educational program that maintains records of your childs progress, and your child can develop at his/her own speed. Our 9 year old son finished fourth grade and started some of his fifth grade studies this past school year using Time4Learning.DanDan & Carmella