Thursday, November 09, 2006

A moment of (somewhat unclear) clarity.

There has been a very interesting thread from my local autism support group email list going on the last day or two. I have to be snooty here for a moment and admit I don't really feel this group has alot to offer me because I appear to be the only homeschooler, and most of the discussion centers around public school special ed. But a particular response to this thread about frustrations with a high-functioning autistic (HFA) 9 year old boy really grabbed me and gave me much to think about.

The original poster in the thread was complaining about her son's lack of ability to remember to do things like take his lunch money to school, or to remember to wash himself when he showers, or how he is now falling behind academically. He is mainstreamed and she didn't mention if he has any special supports or anything.

The reply that really caught my attention came from a mom who has a 16 year old son who has HFA. This is part of the reply that just made me stop in my tracks:

"The more I adjusted my expectations of him to something that I knew that he could handle and then praised him to death with that (and his teachers at school did as well) then he became more acceptable to learn new things and adjust to new situations.

But let me blunt here. If your child has highfunctioning autism he is NEVER going to act like a neurotypical child/teen/adult. Period."

It just hit me like a bolt of lightning. I'm trying to act like Austin doesn't have HFA. Or maybe I'm just forgetting that that is a HUGE part of who is he and how he processes things. She went on to add:

"It has nothing to do with really with his being defiant or something like that. It is just that he has a different way of processing information than other individuals. Not good or bad,.... different."

I guess there is a part of me that thinks that just because we homeschool, that eliminates ALL of the interferences that the HFA/Aspergers presents with learning. Sure, we can eliminate the noisy, chaotic environment (somewhat lol). I can present information at the pace he needs. Well, I guess that doesn't always get through to my brain. I'm still very fixated on what level he is at. And I sometimes push him through things forgetting that it just takes him longer. He gets things, it just takes him longer. The neuropsych emphasized as much.

I don't even know if I'm making sense here! LOL I've been so very focused on the fact that I'm not going to let autism/Aspergers stop him from doing what everyone else does, that I've forgotten that he's not like everyone else. But that doesn't have to be a negative thing.

Hmmm, lots to think about now.


The Glasers said...

You have stumbled on something very important that makes homeschooling such a beautiful choice! Many of our kids prefer quiet, chaos free settings because they are autistic. If they were in school, it would not be any different. They need what they need!

This really hit me last month when I was trying to figure out why my daughter did not long for friends. I blogged about it here
and, in a nutshell, she sees US--her family and extended family and pets as her friends! I did not realize until then how wise beyond her years she is in that respect!

She will not ever attend a prom, but she would not like the loud music anyway.

She will not be up on the latest in teen pop culture, but she prefers "The Hooper Bloob Highway" and "Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga" anyway.

Homeschooling allows people to be who they are without the added pressure of measuring up to fadish ideas that will not matter in five years, much less two.

Niffercoo said...

Thank you so much for the encouragement!