Why we decided to homeschool our child with High Functioning Autism

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When your child isn't average...

School might not look very average either.  If you sift through some older posts, you can see the beginning of our journey up through now.  I strongly suspected my son had Autism, but hoped against hope that I was wrong.  We started with feeding speech therapy before moving into Early Intervention with an Occupational therapist.  Our next move brought us from Occupational therapy to Applied Behavioral Analysis. 

Aging out of Early Intervention, at age 3, meant we would need to be included in Public Pre-k, or wait 2 more years (without services) hoping there were no regressions.  Being accepted into special education was a hard fought battle.  When you have a child with High Functioning Autism, they tend to not qualify academically, or even under the autism diagnosis.

Introducing subscriber freebies!

Introducing Subscriber Freebies

I'm excited to announce I've finally gotten to adding my first little bit of subscribing freebies. There will be more to come in the next month or so; check back here or keep your eyes peeled for the newsletter.

I created an editable meal calendar with Pinterest links to some of the recipes.  This should same you time wondering what to make, extra trips to the grocery store, and may help you to try new things!

Be a Flexible Thinker!

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New resource + Giveaway + Sale!

Hello everyone, I hope you are finding rest and peace this busy time of year. :)  I am a member of a great new support group for special needs moms and wanted to create a holiday giveaway that includes these new friends!  So if you are here to enter that, check the Rafflecopter widget below.  Click my store logo over to the right hand sidebar to check out the resources available to win.

The entire store will be on sale from 12/16-12/19! Shop now to save 20% off everything (including already discounted bundles)!

When you visit the store, click on the "freebie" custom category to access a few free materials!

Friday Freebie: Counting Coins Using the Hair Method

Today's Freebie comes from Primary Paradise!

If you are having trouble teaching your kid(s) to count coins, take a look at this free printable.  It uses the hair method, which enables your young counter to simply count by fives. It even has a cute little printable set of posters featuring a song to help solidify the method into memory!

Primary paradise also has a PowerPoint on this same method if you search their store for "Hair Method."

If you have any math counting tips or resources you would like to share, please let us know in the comments below!

Working With Reluctant Writers - week 3

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Fine Motor Skills Problems

My own son has always battled with low muscle tone.  His low muscle tone was first pointed out to us during his initial Early Intervention evaluations.  He began seeing a feeding speech therapist, and that helped us loads.  His fine motor skills, however, have never made as much progress as we would like to see.  Finding work-arounds is important for us when his hands are becoming exhausted, but we still need to get some learning in.  Below are some tips to help you in your homeschool writing journey.

Friday Freebie: Sequencing Activity Cut & Paste Worksheet

How was your Day?

Some of our kids really struggle to retell events in order.  Recall is just a foggy mess!  When my son (who has Autism) first began to speak again, we had to battle both Echolalia and this recall/sequencing problem.  I always thought of myself as a language detective in our early conversations.  

Working with Reluctant Writers - week 2

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"I don't know what to write!"

One of the things that keeps kids from writing is the fact that they struggle with organizing their thoughts.  Looking back now, at how I wrote papers I am just in utter disbelief.  I want to say that no one ever really taught me how to organize and pre-write... but then again, it could have been that my ADHD brain was checked out.  I honestly have no idea.

TpT and Bundle Giveaway!

It's that time again!  I have a giveaway and a sale going on over at TpT!  Up for grabs is a "1st place winner" of 1 $10 TpT giftcard + my current behavior and social skills bundle, and a "2nd place winner" of my current behavior and social skills bundle. Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter!

Leave out the stress and still RSVP "Yes".

Photo: Jenny Herman

Social gathering with special needs kids 

I suppose the degree to which social events are stressful for your family and children depends on their specific challenges and each event, but I think we are all dealing with it on a weekly if not daily basis.  My general thoughts on having a social life: I get so very darn lonely.  I crave having an adult friend to just shoot the breeze with.  Sigh, but the idea of meeting new people, giving disclaimers about my kids' behaviors, wondering if they are going to have a meltdown.... Just thinking about having to make conversation is beyond exhausting.  I'd rather crawl back in  a cave and get on Social media with other Autism mamas.  The thing is, this seems to be the exact same thing I hear from most of these other special needs moms!

Working with Reluctant Writers - Week 1

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Photo: Jack Moreh

Teaching Reluctant/Struggling Writers week 1

I am seeing a lot of concern over writing in special needs homeschool groups lately.  I thought it would be helpful to post here about what we experienced and what has worked for us.  Check back in the coming weeks for more.

My experience as a struggling writer

Both of my kids really struggle with writing.  Organizing their thoughts, brainstorming, the actual motor skills involved are all issues we battle.  Powering through mental fatigue is a biggie.  I had all the same struggles growing up.  I remember crying all the time while doing elementary school homework.

Special Needs Homeschool on a Small Budget.

Figuring Out What Homeschooling Will Look Like

When I first thought about homeschooling, I wanted a perfect program to walk me through, step by step.  I wanted boxes to check off, and I wanted to know I wasn't missing anything.  I hounded all my homeschooling friends for the details.  What do you use?  Do you like it?  What is your advice.  I was terrified of homeschooling.  The one thing that everyone told me was, "You will want to buy a box set your first year, but do not do it!  You will be wasting a ton of money."  I used Cathy
Duffy's top picks to narrow it down, but the cost was still freaking me out. I wasn't even convinced we would succeed at homeschooling, nor was I certain any of these products would be the right fit.  With Special needs kids, there can be so many different age ranges any one kid can fall into.  Their strengths and weaknesses can be all over the map, so where you go from there?

Fundraising for our deployed rescue troops!

Not everyone celebrates the same winter holiday, or even a holiday at all. Even so, it's never easy to be away from family during that time of year.

Now add to that: No access to internet, library books, personal care items, or any kind of fresh food.
....For months. Although our amazing Airman have sworn to to uphold and defend (and in this case rescue) in every condition, I still think we should be helping when we can!

Friday Freebie: Editable Labels

Today's Friday Freebie is a cute and colorful set of free labels from the Reading With Miss B TPT store.  They are a fully editable PDF that come in two sizes- the same sizes as the clear adhesive pouches Target had at their dollar spot during BTS season! YAY! She has 17 other great freebies in her store, so make sure to poke around a bit!

Tip Tuesday: Motivating Your Kid To Complete Work Part 4

Welcome back to part 4 of this Motivation Series.  In case you missed the previous posts, you can find them here:   Part 1    Part 2    Part 3

So let's say your kid(s) hate any one particular subject...what then?  Did you have a block schedule during your own public high school days?  There's no reason that can't work at home for little ones as well!  Let me refresh your memory: The subjects are taught every other day for twice the original amount of work.

For some kids, the number of subjects to complete may be more overwhelming than the actual amount of work. Look at these two sets of to do lists, to see what I mean:

Friday Freebie: Fall Yes/No Questions

Today's Friday Freebie is from the TPT store of Angie S. This freebie has 9 questions to practice discernment, excellent for some individuals with autism or other special needs, but also for any young child.

Be sure to visit her store for more great Autism resources!

Happy Friday!

Tip Tuesday:Motivating Your Kid to Complete Work Part 3

 In case you missed the other weeks in this series:  Here are Part 1Part 2, Part 4
Photo Credit: FreeRangeStock
Every kid loves a treasure chest... and every kid could use extra low stakes practice with handling and saving "money."  One of the boys' favorite motivators is our treasure chest and Space Bucks.  

Freebie Friday: I Can Be a Superhero!

Today's Friday Freebie is the sampler of  I Can Be a Superhero!

These task cards were created to bring about some great thought provoking discussions for you and your child/student who needs extra practice in social skills and situations! Written on the cards are various situational examples kids may come across and currently handle with difficulty.

This sampler version includes 8 task cards and 3 corresponding answer sheets.

The task cards are sized to fit a 3"x 5" card for durability if you plan to reuse them frequently and do not have lamination available to you!

Tip Tuesday: Motivating Your Kid to Complete Work Part 2

In case you missed it, here is Last week's "Motivating Your Kid to Complete Work" Part 1, Part 3, Part 4

If you are reading this, there is a good chance that your sweet angel is driving you nuts with tears and/or shouting about finishing school work.  Don't give up on your homeschooling efforts yet!  If you are anything like I was... I needed it to work for my son's sake and was at my wit's end some days.

Tip #2:

Freebie Friday: Would You Rather...?

Rachel Lynette, 2016
Happy Friday! You've made it - can you taste the weekend?! The week was long here, so we are ready for a break.

...but first - Friday Freebie!

This one is from Rachel Lynette, and it's called, "Would You Rather?" It's a single page, filled with 20 great questions. 

Use it to:

Tip Tuesday: Motivating Your Kid to Complete Work Part 1

So now you are homeschooling, but your kid is having a rough time sitting and focusing on his work.  Enter the tears, pleading, and fits.  Last year we faced this big time...  For a child with ADHD or Autism, mental fatigue is very very real.  Even just seeing the amount of work to be done is overwhelming and can start the trip to mental fatigue-ville immediately!    

I think every one, or most ASD parents anyway, have seen PECs style calendars.  Those can be a help for some kids, but others need more.  Maybe it even just depends on the day.  I decided I didn't want to motivate my son to complete work with food, money, or long bouts of electronics (5 mins can turn into major fits when it's back to work).  

So here is tip #1:

Friday Freebie: Making Faces

Today's Friday Freebie is a sample version of my newest 35 page printable packet - Making Faces.  Making faces is a printable set of worksheets whose aim is to help children manage and identify emotions in themselves and in others.
There are 4 worksheet formats within the packet:

1) Find the Face - This worksheet has a scenario for the reader to evaluate, label the emotion felt, and identify the accompanying facial expression.  There are also questions aimed at developing a clearer sense of empathy and how the child can support a friend in such a situation.

2) "Feeling ______________" -
This worksheet walks the reader through a specific emotion.  The reader identifies personal triggers for experiencing this emotion.  The reader then identifies ways they can change that feeling if necessary.

3) Emotion Match Up Cut & Paste -
Because cut & paste is fun!  Seriously though, this is a great addition for kinesthetic learners; a hands on activity to help cement learning.   

4) Today I Am Feeling -
Another great hands on activity that helps the reader to practice awareness and communication of their feelings.  Try using with dry erase markers- laminate or simply use a page protector! 

Remember! TPT accounts are completely free for anyone and everyone.  Creating your free account gives you access to this freebie and countless others site-wide!

If you enjoy this freebie, be sure to sign up the blog newsletter or follow my store on TPT so you never miss one! 

Social Anxiety and ASD

So if your are an ASD parent, chances are that you are already all to aware that social anxiety and lack of appropriate social skills are common issues for our kids.

I think part of what makes it all so much worse, like a loop, are the reactions that come out. Right now we are working with Kekito on identifying common triggers and what is the best way to react.

To help him create a script of sort in his head of alternative behavior choices, I created a I Can Be a Superhero , consisting of task cards full of those common difficult to navigate situations. 

I am genuinely hoping that these task cards can help you and your child as well!  If you have your own situations you want to add, the full version also has a blank set of task cards specifically for that!

Have fun working through the cards!

Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway

Hello everybody!

I'm hoping you had a great summer and are as excited as I am for Fall!  I can't wait for pumpkin everything and adorable costumes.

But first!  Back to school time!  We started homeschooling last year, which is why I was largely absent.  It took a handful of months to find our groove and what works.  I think we have finally gotten there because I have been able to carve out enough time to make some curriculum of our own!

Danny is a reluctant writer, so we are working on ways to write that don't seem like "work," but he still needed some sight word sheets that were not frustrating for him.  I'm happy to say that last night I finished the First grade set of Fry's words and posted the bundle.  For the first two days in the store, you can get the entire bundle for just $4.50!

Kekito is working primarily on social skills and impulse control. I created task cards for us to work though and talk through that can help him remember some alternative ways of handling difficult situations: "I Can Be a Superhero..."

We've decided to school year round, so we are well into our school year and having a great time so far with the flexibility of homeschool.  If you homeschool, I'd love to hear in the comments whether you do year round too!

So to the awesome, fun part!  I am giving away: a $20 Teachers Pay teachers gift card (Trust me, you will want this one!:)), MY sight word bundle, each sight word pack individually, and the I Can Be a Superhero pack!  Just click on the rafflecopter link below to see how!

a Rafflecopter giveaway