Homeschooling special need child

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Homeschooling special need child

Postby Exhausted Mom » September 24th, 2013, 6:56 am

So here is the thing. I am a parent of a son who was diagnosed with aspergers and displays ADHD traits. We have been getting great help, however with all the help, it just didn't seem to help him with his constant negative thinking and strong resistance to authority. I have recently come a cross a condition called ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). It become very clear that ODD could be what was going on. For example, at the age of 3 and 4 we would be walking into the Walmart and the greeter would say hi and my son would get so angry and upset about this interaction. I never understood why he would be mad at someone saying Hi.

My son is now 7 and I homeschool my him. I am really struggling with him because I am not only his mom, but his teacher. He is delayed with fine motor skills, which increases his frustration. Then when his work is not perfect or he gets something wrong he gets very angry and then he will blame me in some way for it. When I try to work through this with him he gets so oppositional that I don't know what to do.

I also have a daughter who has difficulty with attention and mimics her brothers behaviour.

I am at such a loss at how to be successful with teaching my kids and I want us to enjoy school. I try hard to make things fun or try new ways of doing things, but I always faced with resistance. I then give up and fall back into the comfortable way of teaching, which I know doesn't not work for my kids. I am so exhausted and tired of the fighting and screaming and resistance to the simple things I am asking my kids to do. I know they cannot always control the way they act, but how do I connect to then without resistance.
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Re: Homeschooling special need child

Postby duck1 » September 24th, 2013, 7:56 am

Wow.

You took on yourself such a challenge! You get the mother of the year award from me :) you're children must appriciate it greatly, even if they don't show it.

I too am a mom, but of a "normal" almost 3 year old.

But I can identify with the burnout, seemingly such simple stuff like get her to get dressed or wash her hands can get me exhausted at times with her wanting things to be her way.

I try to look at everything as fleeting, but I guess it's harder for you because of the homeschooling it's a lot more 24/7.

I guess my advice for you would be:

don't be so hard on yourself, you're really trying hard.


hugs
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Re: Homeschooling special need child

Postby Exhausted Mom » September 24th, 2013, 8:54 pm

Thanks for your reply. I just wanted to add that I have amazing kids and the we have a lot of laughs in our house. It has just been a hard couple if weeks because my son doesn't do well with change and there has been a lot of it lately. On top of that there has been a conflict with a teacher at the school. I should clearify, we do homeschool, but the school board we are with has a facility where the kids can take classes (we can be there with them, as the parents are the primary teachers).

So, we start off to a bad start. The teacher my son usually gets for gym is not teaching it and instead we get a very authoritative person that decides it is a good idea to single out my child. He was humiliated and I was horrified. So I talk to the principle and we came up with strategies. Well the next week comes and this same teacher decides to make a point with my son again. I try so hard to make things ok for my son and help him work through things. I am shocked how quickly one person can affect that. Anyways, I will stop rambling. Needless to say I have been stressed lately.

I think it is really important for us as parents to start talking about our own metal health. Regardless if you have a challenging child or one with special needs. Parenting is hard and we all or most of us want the best for our children that we offen forget ourselves.
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Re: Homeschooling special need child

Postby wendy » October 23rd, 2013, 8:26 pm

Have you researched different teaching styles (Charlotte Mason method, Montessori, unschooling, mixed method, etc) and discussed them with your child? When I started homeschooling my son this was a HUGE step for us and listening to his feedback was invaluable when it came to recruiting his cooperation.

You might consider enrolling him in a skill specific physical activity instead of a general gym or physical education class where the activities change. Your child might find comfort in the consistency of a single activity like swimming or soccer.

A little secret of homeschooling (and this applies to all kids, even ones with substantially different learning styles):
It's okay to have lazy days, I would recommend that when you get frustrated and start feeling a bit like throwing yourself out the window you put on a favorite DVD with the closed captioning on (it totally counts as reading), or set your children loose on some video games that require reading and problem solving (StarFox and Pokemon are my personal favorites.) In the 8 years of homeschooling my son (he started attending a charter school his freshman year, but I still homeschool my daughter) I think I would have thrown myself out of every window in our house twice if it hadn't been for a succession of gameboys, game cubes, nintendo ds', PS2s, PS3s, regular desktop pcs and a Wii. I discovered early on that creating a mini-classroom environment just would not work for us because the full sized public school version was basically crud that already wasn't working for my child.

Who cares if at 7 years old my son needed to pace back and forth while he memorized his multiplication? It was weird but it allowed him to focus, so I let him do his thing and that was the way he learned.
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Re: Homeschooling special need child

Postby Exhausted Mom » November 5th, 2013, 8:07 am

Thank you for the suggestions. I have decided to teach my kids in a whole new way, after reading that book "the spark". I have also made the day structured freedom. Where we have a set plan, but he gets to have choices in that plan. I really like the idea of watching movies in close caption! We are also working one on one with our child psychologist on his ODD and separation anxiety. As for the sports, we have him in a great program. It us homeschool aikido. He loves it even though he struggles socially at times. The Sensi is great and understanding. It was really nice to hear some one else who homeschools and made it through 8 years alive. I think I can do this. Again thanks!
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Re: Homeschooling special need child

Postby wendy » November 5th, 2013, 10:10 am

ODD sucks. It sucks for them as children but it sucks a lot for us as moms too. I thought my husband was exaggerating how difficult he found my son to be when we first started dating by comparison to his two children from his first wife. My theory is that working with abused and feral dogs permanently skewed my perception of what "difficult" meant long before I had my son-- because if they aren't eating the couch, howling or trying to rip my face off that's a good day (of course, if it happened two days in a row, I assumed I needed to call the vet.)

Sounds like you're doing a brilliant job of making things work for your son. I'm so proud of you.

He loves it even though he struggles socially at times.


It's great that he loves aikido. Even "normal" kids struggle socially, he'll get better with age and exposure to new social situations. Enjoy it while you can, when he blossoms socially you'll go through great spans of him missing every other weekend because he wants to stay over with a friend, and a casual sleepover party on the off weekends that will have 3 or 4 guests. We just had a massive sleepover with 8-9 of my son's guests (housewarming party of sorts) and some of the other moms were commenting on the same phenomena, whatever delays they may have had early on are MORE than made up for when they are teens.
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Re: Homeschooling special need child

Postby Exhausted Mom » November 5th, 2013, 9:18 pm

Thanks Wendy, that is reassuring. My son struggles with separation anxiety, on top of everything and I hope that he can be independent one day. As for the ODD, you are right, it is hard. Thankfully our psychologist is helping us with this. In the past, people would tell me that they would not stand for the way he treated me. I didn't really see it as disrespect. I was more worried about avoiding another 2 hour meltdown.

Wow you had 8 boys over for a sleepover. You are a brave women.

Does or did you son ever take things overly personal or misinterpret what someone says as mocking?
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Re: Homeschooling special need child

Postby wendy » November 12th, 2013, 4:40 pm

Yes, to this day, any time he's corrected for doing something incorrectly or not at all it's a deeply personal attack on his existence. It's as simple as "There's a spot on this plate" "I just washed that plate" "I know, but there's a spot you missed" "There can't be" "I'm looking at it" "I just washed that plate" "Would you please wash it again?" and queue 20 minutes of him explaining to me in a very patient tone that there's no reason that there should be a spot on that plate because he just washed it. Eventually he'll wash the plate, but it takes a while for the conversation to get around to that part. Sometimes, he'll wash the plate and still not have managed to remove the offending spot-- this is why I have a dishwasher (OMG, now we do the same thing but it's "Did you rinse the dishes?" "Yes" "I think you've forgotten because there's coleslaw on the plates" "What!!??"-- clearly evil pixies are breaking into our house and decorating only the plates inside the dishwasher with coleslaw.)

Same deal when he's clearly not done something that he's supposed to do, he'll tell me he did it, I'll show him the physical evidence that it's not been done, he'll explain things to me, I'll insist that he do it, he'll treat me like I'm really stupid for not tracking his explanation, and I'll just play it out until he just does whatever he was supposed to do even though I could have probably done it in less than 2 minutes myself. At least the cycle is down to around a half hour total now, and not hours and hours. Also, he's quit slamming and throwing things in the course of these discussions, for the most part.

Compliments used to sometimes really bother him, to the point where he'd just break down. Which totally sucked because he was one of those freaky beautiful children when he was younger and people were always admiring his looks-- and most of the time he thought they were making fun of him or talking down to him. He's outgrown that one because he's better able to read sincerity vs. mocking.

When people try to advise you on disciplining the whatever out of your child, turn it on them-- I consider it a public service (because if done effectively they'll *never* start in on another mom or dad again.) Something like "Oh sure, I'll just beat the traumatic brain injury out of my child. You monster! Shame!" Besides, the one thing our kids always need to know is that we've got their backs-- even when they are being difficult.
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Re: Homeschooling special need child

Postby Exhausted Mom » November 26th, 2013, 9:34 pm

OMG Wendy,
Your son sounds so similar to my son. The compliment thing has always bothered me. I would praise my son on doing a good job and he would get mad at me. Mostly do to the fact that he hus a perfectionist and if he can clearly see it is not perfect how could I praise him on it. He is getting a little better with that, but on those bad days, we'll you know. I never thought about the fact that my son's misinterpretations of others may be due to not recognizing whether they are being sincere. Thanks for that.
We definitely have our ups and downs and when they are down it is usually when my son has not been to Neurofeedback. Not sure if you know about that form of treatment, but it has really made a difference for my son and my husband. Thanks again for all your comments, I really appreciate it.
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Re: Homeschooling special need child

Postby wendy » November 29th, 2013, 6:07 pm

You know, your username alone just makes me want to wrap you up in a hand knit shawl and get you a cup of tea. The fact that you're going through so much of the same stuff makes me want to force you to go to a spa and relax for a few days. I feel you.

I researched neurofeedback early on, but as our family has had severe financial limitations until recently it was never an option. I would kind of feel around and find what worked, wait nervously for Josey (my son) to outgrow it or subvert it, and then try to find something else that would work. I could write volumes on all the stuff that didn't work, so when you find something that works-- you need to pause, feel like the best mom in the world and soak in every triumph.

I think a lot of the ODD stuff starts with some deep anxieties because they just don't process things on the same level that we do-- sometimes it's like my son reads way more into an interaction than I would ever think to (which is saying something because I have ADHD too so I've been known to draw a few crazy conclusions on how life works) or things just don't register with him at all. Josey can't reason out "Oh this person has played bass for more hours than I've been alive" and feels absolutely wrecked because he's not as good and in the moment there's nothing I can do or say to make him see how unrealistic his expectations are. I've learned to wait out the high emotions and give him a gentle reality check when he's calm.
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