Summer is just whizzing by and has consumed me with helping my daughter prepare for college, vacation bible school, swim lessons and library programs and an attic re-modeling project. In my spare time, er ahem *cough *cough….I’ve been researching everything I can in regard to high functioning autism due to my 7 yr old son’s diagnosis last Fall of 2010, and I have discovered some awesome, amazing wonderful people out there in the world who call themselves geeks, techies, and non-socials…some are non-verbal, some are verbal to a point and not very social and some are just well, non-conventional, and some are definitely verbal. All made in the image of God, that’s what my mind and heart reminds me. There is such talent and gifts hiding within these special people and God saw fit to bless us with two such special children, one who suffers from Obsessive Compulsion Disorder and the other who is high functioning autistic. Both have beautiful minds and we are working on cultivating all that can be tapped within them through broad social interaction and experiences outside of family, and broad classical curriculum, so the beauty of God’s ages – Salvation history both before Christ and after Christ can be theirs to know and cherish. Thus I’m working on their curriculum with some special choices here and there to develop their special gifts. Michael has great analytical gifts and we will work on some special reading comprehension with him to cultivate those skills more and Mark needs better critical listening and analytic skills to develop so we will work on narration; story-telling, re-telling (narrating back), and writing skills. I see great things for these two special guys as we embark on a new school year ahead. While other children may excel physically and in special sports or activities, these two will just have to excel intellectually and spiritually as their comfort zones still remain there for the time being.
So, lately here’s the short list of what I’ve been reading and watching:
A couple books for children to understand about Autism/Aspergers
All Cats Have Asperger’s Syndrome, by Kathy Hoopman
Waiting for Benjamin, A Story about Autism, Alexandra Jessup Altman
I am still very compelled to just continue our homeschooling without connecting with the local school system, although the Ohio Autism Scholarship is within our reach if I do so. Still, I feel that the benefits we receive from the homeschool community are far greater at this point, where both these boys can connect socially and with enrichment courses, and gym weekly and I can be present to help especially Mark make the proper social interactions where he is deficient due to his autism. Speech-language therapy and functional language therapy may be a whole other matter, and that we can take care of privately as insurance will cover so many sessions. Then I am the one left with the extra work and indeed I am preparing myself both with knowledge and spirit. I feel the spiritual preparation is more important by far than the information I need to apply. And so I continue to pray and contemplate and place this situation I find myself with homeschooling special needs children in God’s hands. As I received counsel from our pastor recently regarding my state in life and this challenge that faces me, he was more than convinced that without weeds, without antagonists, without the bad among the good that we strive for, we would have no saints, and we are all called to be saints….something I will ponder a while longer as I strive harder to “trust” in God’s design for us.
I discovered that the old board game: Operation, is perfect for Mark to develop better fine motor skills – he loves it and is intrigued by it, and the buzzing doesn’t bother him at all, but does challenge him to try more carefully with those little tweezer implements,
And I just ordered this sweet little curricula for Mark’s language arts this year, as suggested by a friend who also has an autistic son: Primary Language Lesson, Emma Serl, only this format is spiral bound to lay open flat and workbook form so the student can write right on the pages (not a separate notebook which is a frustrating step for some autistic children).
These two resources bring a smile to this mom’s face :)