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DS (aspergers) struggling how to help

(17 Posts)
yawningmonster Fri 30-Sep-11 10:25:34

DS is a lovely, loving, energetic, friendly, funny, generous little boy who has aspergers. He has just had his 7th birthday and he is nearly at the end of year 2 in NZ school. He is bringing home level 15/16 books which is just shy of the lower levels expected. I am really pleased with his progress but he is very inconsistent, able to read sight words and use phonics one day and then not the next. His writing is very behind, he can write very few words independently, still has many letter reversals and has poor letter formation. He is now struggling with maths as well with the same inconsistencies able to do things one day and then not the next. I have yet another meeting with the teacher on Monday but they are looking to me to provide the answers about what to do and I really have no idea. He does not qualify for any support at school and with most other areas of difficulty I have asked on here, or looked up online or in books for ideas or just plain made stuff up to try with him until something clicked. At home with reading we use a lot of audio books to help him listen to the sequence of a story and to form images in his head to go with the words, we read to him alot, we encourage incidental reading such as teaching him key words in games he is playing such as
start, new game, etc. For writing I have scaled right back and we practise 3 words a night with him choosing from a list of common words, verbally putting them in a sentence and then copying them next to my models. I am watching letter formation and addressing one issue at a time, at the moment it is to make a c at the top of the s so that it is around the right way. We do loads of fine motor stuff with him such as lego, threading etc, we have wipe on and off pattern boards for him to gain control and he loves creative stuff so we draw and paint etc loads. To be honest I haven't been concentrating much on the maths at home other than incidental stuff. How else can I help him, what else can I do to support him. Any ideas extremely welcome.

yawningmonster Fri 30-Sep-11 10:56:57


yawningmonster Fri 30-Sep-11 11:05:57


yawningmonster Fri 30-Sep-11 11:12:00

bump and I should add that I posted in Education rather than Special Needs as I am not entirely sure that the Aspergers has much if anything to do with his academic struggles though it might?

yawningmonster Fri 30-Sep-11 11:17:12

last try at a bump

IndigoBell Fri 30-Sep-11 11:27:15

It's not 100% clear from your post what help you want.

Are you saying that sometimes he is reading just below average, and then other times he can't read at all?

And the same with writing? There is a huge discrepancy between him on a good day and a bad day?

I think you should be discussing Dyslexia with the school. In the UK the onus would be on the school to make suggestions to you. I don't know how it works in NZ.

The traditional diagnosis for a kid who can't learn to read or write despite adequate tuition is dyslexia. Although I believe NZ uses 'mixed methods' more than phonics?

I guess for his reading I would recommend a highly structured phonics program like Dancing Bears. This can be done by you or by a TA at school. 10 minutes every day.

For his writing I would probably also go with the same scheme and do Apples & Pears. Same thing, it can be done by you or by school. 10 mins a day.

And keep up with his fine motor skills smile

Is he better at home than at school? Or equally inconsistent?

With his ASD does he suffer from a lot of stress and anxiety? Does he find the classroom too noisy? Or too stressful?

yawningmonster Fri 30-Sep-11 11:41:30

bless you for answering.
Basically yes some days he reads his level book seamlessly other days he is struggling with basic sight words. We have been told that he would not be assessed for Dyslexia until he turns 8 here. He has one on one for reading with the reading recovery teacher after fighting for a space through sheer perservance, he jumped up 4 levels as a result. The Aspergers definately means noise etc is distracting and stressful so this one on one has been excellent for him.

He is equally inconsistent at home, part of me keeps saying that this all fits his profile and all his life he has been slightly behind then gained skills which came and went until they solidified and then the other part of me says what if there is something I am missing, something else I should be doing.

Concentration is a big issue for him and on Monday I am going to try to plug for them to let him have a short break in the middle of lessons he struggles with, it may be very difficult to get him to refocus would my only concern.

NZ definately uses mixed methods and it seems to me he is more of a sight word reader than a phonics reader, he much prefers the rule that the always looks like the to the changing rules of phonics. I think with this method though that perhaps his brain gets a bit crowded with all the shapes and words it has to remember and retrieve if this makes sense.

IndigoBell Fri 30-Sep-11 11:46:45

Well a dx of dyslexia won't help you, in that it won't help him learn to read. But it may help you in other ways.

Reading recovery and mixed methods may be very confusing for him. Some kids with ASD learn far better with whole words than phonics. But learning via whole words is bloody hard and long and slow. ie if he sees a new word he won't be able to read it until someone has taught it to him.

Does he have a wobble cushion or a fidget toy to help him concentrate in class?

Would ear defenders help him?

How about a table by himself facing the wall?

IndigoBell Fri 30-Sep-11 11:49:28

I think his academic problems are related to his ASD.

Have you tried anything to improve his ASD?

These are all the things I have done for my son with ASD which have helped and which I'd recommend:

* GAPS diet
* Auditory Integration Therapy
* Retained Reflex Therapy
* Osteopath
* Lightwave Stimulation Therapy
* Epsom Bath Salts
* Omega Fish Oil

And that is just the list I've got through in the last 2 years. There are loads and loads of other things you could try.

yawningmonster Fri 30-Sep-11 11:58:18

he does have a fidget toy but can find that very distracting in itself and is very, very, very anti anything anywhere on his head so will not brook the idea of earplugs or earmuffs or anything of the sort. He also doesn't like to be isolated so not so keen on table by self, they do put him with only 1 or 2 other sensible kids that are less likely to distract him and who are supported in not being distracted by him.

I am just after ideas to help him at home and to take with me on Monday to suggest. The school are not really geared up with much information on Aspergers and as he doesn't qualify for any support they seem to think that I have all the answers. I love that they communicate with me so brilliantly and that they involve me in all aspects of how they deal with him but I am heartily sick of being the one who has to try to figure out methods for them to use, I use enough of my energy developing strategies that work at home let alone at school. I agree that the methods maybe confusing for him and at home we are concentrating on him learning the patterning of stories, beginnings, middles and endings, use a lot of repetitive pattern books in our out loud reading to him so that he can predict rhyme and also provide him with the audio books as he is much more interested in listening to Famous Five etc rather than being interested in the books that are actually within his capabilities.

I don't really know but I feel that he needs to know how to predict the sequence of a story to help him, when asked to recap an event he has difficulty putting it in order and will do things like FOM DS......GRNY To (which is To Granny.... From DS) when writing so his sequencing definately seems out. We have been playing games of finish the sentence and fill in the gaps stories with him to help support him with this at home.

yawningmonster Fri 30-Sep-11 12:04:57

we have tried diets recommended by paediatrition here but I don't think they had a name
he is on Omega 3
He has had osteopathy but found this very distressing
He has had homeopothy and naturapathic treatments
We have been doing sensory integration work with him
We use social stories and a social intergration support group for him
the others you have mentioned are not ones we have tried but we are open to most things that may help (he has intense sensory processing difficulties so anything that involves touch, smell or taste needs to be approached very specifically to these difficulties)

IndigoBell Fri 30-Sep-11 12:19:28

GAPS diet - very, very impressed with this diet.

Retained Reflex Therapy - over time this will help with his sensory processing difficulties.

yawningmonster Fri 30-Sep-11 12:34:21

thanks for those links I will look into them in more depth.

Have you got any other ideas of strategies I could be using with him in the mean time or suggestions I can take to the school for supporting him, I have taken note of the links in your first post to take along to school in case they are able to use these sites successfully with him

Chaotica Fri 30-Sep-11 16:43:31

Don't have any specific ASD advice, but have you tried keyboards/computers or calculators as a way to get him interested in writing without his fine motor skills getting in the way? We do this with DD (who struggles with fine motor skills) and I know a boy with ASD who this works for very well. Some children read better when they learn to write (especially with whole word method). Would he count/calculate or read if he had a reason to?

CardyMow Sat 01-Oct-11 00:03:32

My DD has asd. She didn't grasp phonics AT ALL. When she was 8yo, I took matters out of her (rubbish with SN) primary school's hands, and started teaching her to sight read. It has been a long hard process, she is now 13.6yo, and in Y9 here in UK, at Secondary school. Her secondary school were much more receptive to helping her 1-2-1 with learning to read by sight rather than phonics (primary insisted ALL dc could learn to read with phonics - not true). She is now only 18 months behind her chronological age with her reading - at 11.6yo she was 4.6yrs behind. She is making about 18 months worth of progress in every school year.

I have found that the majority of children with asd that I know have learnt to sight read rather than decode using phonics.

CardyMow Sat 01-Oct-11 00:05:56

Also - she has huge problems with what you are experiencing - being able to do something one day (like her 6 times table, for example) then the next day not being able to do it at all. Very inconsistant. I have found that over the last year, she has been retaining information slightly better. She is still unable to organise herself though...

yawningmonster Tue 04-Oct-11 08:20:51

Sorry for dropping off the radar, kids got sick and all went to pot. Indigo thank you so much for your info and your link to websites looking into all the info you have provided.
Chaotica he does love computers but is no keener to use them to read than any other method as for motivation that is key with him but have yet to find motivation for him. Huntycat thank you it is lovely to hear that the issues we are facing are not just us out on an island as the school sometimes makes us feel. When I went to talk to the teacher she said that the SENCO had done a Lucid Rapid Dyslexia Screening on him in August (first I knew about it) and the only thing that flagged was Visual-verbal memory resulting in a moderate probability of Dyslexia. In the notes she says that he had pretty much had enough by the time they got to this bit and so the results could be skewed as a consequence of him being distracted and tired. It didn't really give me any information at all. Still not sure whether we start looking at more screening for complimentary issues or whether it is all down to the Aspergers and as a result will be a maturation thing more than anything.

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