Musings from an Orthodox Jewish work at home mom of twins with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Teaching Independence

LOVING THIS POST from Four Plus an Angel.  I’m starting to think about kindergarten.  This fall.  New teachers.  A new school.  Will their teachers be flexible?  Understanding?  Push them to their potential?

The ease with which my son has learned his times tables (you’re supposed to learn those in second grade— not preschool, right?) is the ease with which my friends’ kids have learned to dress themselves (nope, we’re not even close).  The ease with which my daughter has learned all of her state capitals (GREAT memorization skills!) is the ease with which my friends’ kids have learned to use the toilet.  (sure, my kids are partially trained, but we’re still at least a year away from them self initiating a bathroom visit, undressing, doing their business, re-dressing, washing hands without prompts, and going back to their activity.)

My kids have incredible skills in very specific areas, but their adaptive skills are so incredibly weak I worry daily about their independence.  Taking off shoes?  Putting on shoes?  That’s a kindergarten skill?  Kindergarten is coming this fall—- oy, we’re in trouble.  Fred’s shoes are velcro and EVERYTIME I ask him to take them off by himself he screams, whines, and says “can you HELLLLLPPP ME?”.  We’re at least a year from him being able to put them ON, heaven forbid have shoes with TIES!

It’s been recommended that both twins join a newly forming integrated kindergarten group.  Integrated.  It’s my big wish for them, and my big fear.  I WANT them to have neurotypical models.   On the other hand, I want them to fit in.    This year, Fred has been in an autism unit.  He’s been the most “high functioning” student in the class—- toilet training, verbal, academically advanced.  Next year, all of a sudden, most of his classmates will be developmentally…. on target?  And he’ll be one of if not THE most developmentally delayed in the class.  Unable to share and take turns appropriately.  Unable to toilet himself.  Unable to dress himself— including that crazy kindergarten skill:  SHOES.  This year, Wilma HAS been in an integrated class so I’m less concerned about her.  She already has experience being light years behind her friends in adaptive skills.  I wish she cared!

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Comments on: "Teaching Independence" (4)

  1. Every change is scary. And it hurts us when our kids don’t fit in, or get made fun of by their peers. Hurts badly. All we can do is try different settings and see what works. I wish there was an easier answer, truly.

    It will be okay.

  2. I love reading your blog! All the best with the new kindergarten!! My special needs child is nowhere near being toilet trained either!! Still got his school bag with diapers and spare clothes each day he goes to kindergarten!! However, the new special needs school which he will attend when he turns 5, helps the children with toilet training! We have also just applied to get a communication board so our boy can “talk” to us, by “pointing” to pictures, although I suspect that my 10 month old baby will be more interested in it, lol! :0)

  3. Enjoying your blog! I foster teen boys with Autism Spectrum disorders and often wish I could have worked with them earlier! Reading of your ‘adventures’ with your kiddos makes me wonder what all could have been different with my guys!

  4. I really appreciate the love and support! I wish I had time to blog more often. THANK YOU for reading. It means a lot to me!

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