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Social Myths and Truths {31 Days of #Homeschooling on the Spectrum}

There are plenty of myths and preconceived ideas about kids on the Autism Spectrum, particularly when it comes to social relationships.

Social Myths & Truths {31 Days of #Homeschooling on the Spectrum}

Myth #1: Autistic kids don’t need friends because they aren’t aware of others like most kids are.

Truth: Autistic kids need friends just as much as your neurotypical kids do; more so, even. Spectrum kids are very aware of their own limitations in social situations, which makes them want even more to be accepted just like any other child does.

They are aware of others, even when their sensory issues or the fact that they are nonverbal makes it difficult for you to tell that. In fact, some kids are SO aware of how others present themselves that they are moved to compassionate acts that you simply cannot stop.

My son is a good example of this. We serve as a family downtown with a local homeless street ministry. Our son can spot someone in need, someone ill, or hurting and will go straight over to them and find out what he can do for them. As soon as he knows their needs, he’s gone in a flash, to track down what ever it is they are in need of, from Tylenol to a new sleeping bag or a fresh plate of food because they spilled theirs. He loves people and loves to help out. We’d have to tie him to the truck to keep him from it when we’re down there.

Myth #2: Autistic kids don’t experience emotions like neurotypical kids do. They don’t feel or express love, anger, sadness.

Truth: Autistic kids are the very opposite of this! They feel EVERYTHING. They experience everything, every situation, in a much deeper, more personal way than we do. That’s why they struggle to process the world around them; they simply can’t turn it OFF or filter things OUT like most of us can.

Myth #3: Autistic kids can’t play sports or do things in large groups because they can’t handle it.

Truth: Yes they can, in one form or another. The reason they call Autism a spectrum disorder is because there are so many different degrees of effect. Some profoundly affected kids may not be able to handle chaos and noise but would be fine in a large group of well behaved, more quiet students on something like a tour.

Others may do just fine within the bounds of a group activity if they know where their boundaries are. (My son in particular is a rule keeper. If he knows the boundaries and the rules, he will follow them.)

Myth #4: Autistic kids don’t play.

Truth: Of course they do! They may just play differently. Younger children enjoy sensory play activities. Often, when they are spinning, rolling, jumping, swinging, etc. they are able to interact with one another much easier than when they aren’t receiving that sensory input at the same time.

Older youth like to use their strengths, so if you are able to find a club for your child’s passions (Chess, Minecraft, horses, rocketry, underwater basket weaving, whatever it is!) he will be blissfully happy to find others who ‘speak his language’ and do the things he loves to do.

How does your child do in social situations?

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Take Heart {31 Days of #Homeschooling on the Spectrum}

This week I am discouraged. This post is as much for me as it is for you.

Take Heart {31 Days of #Homeschooling on the Spectrum}

It has been a week of–wait—today’s only Tuesday. It’s been TWO weeks of side-by-side, question-by-question schoolwork. It has been Sit Down and Do Your Math and Where Did Your Brother Go?

*forehead hits kitchen table*

Days like these, when all I want to do is be DONE with school and be DONE with all of this, looking at the yellow bus drive by and thinking Hmmm….

But no.

Just NO.

That isn’t a good alternative. It is not a healthy alternative for him. For either of them. We will not deal with Special Ed again. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

You are homeschooling your Autistic child for very good reasons.

You are avoiding some potentially very harmful situations for him. You are choosing healthy socialization.

You are preventing his being forced to conform to the status quo by neither holding him back nor shoving him forward. You are meeting his academic needs by tailoring to right where he is.

You are there. Now. You see his state of mind and you can head off a potentially bad outcome because you are aware and can prepare him.

You can choose just which situations to bring him into, when he’s ready, to help him develop skills at his own pace. With you he can practice things like making eye contact for more than 1 second, or taking a breath and slowing down before he speaks so he doesn’t stutter.

With you he is safe.

No so with the world. The world won’t see an Autistic child and take that into account when it has expectations of him. The world won’t see his quirks and then look past them, like you do.

The world doesn’t understand him and he doesn’t understand it, with all the noise and body language and sarcasm and everything that looks one way but means something entirely different. It is confusing for him. He needs a navigator.

So these days, the hard ones, when he spent five hours completing 13 math problems because he just couldn’t stay focused for more than 2 minutes at a time, they still have a purpose. They still make progress. It may be baby steps, but it’s progress. Make yourself some tea (or coffee, with almond milk please), sit back down and have him go over problem number 5. Again.

And take heart.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

Has homeschooling been a struggle for you lately?

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My Biggest Fear {31 Days of #Homeschooling on the Spectrum}

Go.

I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t afraid for the future.

His future. The other day I talked about the childhood years and how long we have with our kids. It simply isn’t long enough to assuage the waves of worries that can plague my husband and I if we start thinking about the life our son will have as an adult.

My Biggest Fear {31 Days of #Homeschooling on the Spectrum}

An adult on the Autism Spectrum.

My biggest fear is that he won’t find a place to be; a place where he fits and lives and loves and grows old with others who fit and love him. There’s just no way of knowing, and it hurts my heart to think about it.

I have never worried for the future of my kids the way that I do for D1.

He is gullible and trusting. He is loving and kind and would quite literally give someone his shirt and his shoes if he saw they had need. He is scattered and distractible, practically unable to follow through with even simple tasks. He needs cueing and prompting and reminders.

They say that when you have a child, you are allowing part of your heart to go walking around outside of your body. This is true in a sense, but I’ve never felt it so strongly as I do with this child whom I did not birth. His life was given to us, placed in our hands, and when we think of his future it terrifies us. Is he smart and capable? Yes, quite. But he also needs understanding and help and who will do that later?

Oh Lord, he is in your most capable hands. We lean heavily on you because this is something we simply can not do.

STOP.

 What is your biggest fear when it comes to your Autistic kids?

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Where You Go I Go {Sunday Worship}

How could I expect to walk without you
When every move that Jesus made was in surrender
I would not begin to live without you
For you alone are worthy; you are always good

~Kim Walker-Smith, Jesus Culture

Let this be my heart, Lord.

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How Long {31 Days of #Homeschooling on the Spectrum}

GO.

How long is 18 years?

We are given 18 years to raise them and teach them. Homeschooling or not, 18 years is the duration of their childhood years. After that, it all gets REAL.

How Long {31 Days of #Homeschooling on the Spectrum}

18 years to teach filtering and follow through.

18 years to give hugs and bring eye contact into the realm of almost comfortable.

18 years to learn acceptance of limitations and then to help them push past them.

It’s not very long. The years roll along so quickly! One moment we were potty training and the next we were teaching him to shift gears on the Yamaha 125. Looking forward to a driver’s license and his first job, and I look up to see that the 18 years I had is down to 4.

Time moves forward, always forward, and when you think you have all the time in the world you really don’t.

18 years is just the first season of a life, fleeting, gone and remembered through fuzzy childlike glasses.

Not long enough.

STOP.

This post is part of a series. Please go to my landing page to read all of them.

This post is linked up with TWO #31Days challenges!

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