Welcome

Welcome to my page.

Who am I?
I am a mother of a son who has been diagnosed with Autism. In this journal I am planning to share my teaching experience with my son.

Am I homeschooling my son?
Yes, I am.

Am I trained to teach my son?
No, I am not trained with any formal certification.

How am I teaching my son?
First, I have taken out one thing from my mind. That is my son is a special need kid. I treat him as a child without any labels. That makes it easy to teach him.

What I am teaching him at home?
Things that interests him.
Things that he can do.
Things I know he will be able to do.
Things which are the next logical step to whatever he is doing.

Am I setting goals for him at home?
Yes. I set goals for him to work with him.

How am I setting goals?
Based on his needs and interests.

How am I preparing myself to teach him?
By reading books, attending workshops, joining in various forums.

Am I following any method?
I believe the methods are for “me” to understand the condition of my son and to prepare myself. I try to understand ABA, TEACCH, Hanen, RPM etc. to increase my awareness about autism and the possible approaches to train. But while working with my son I try not to fit him within the constraints of one method.

Then how am I teaching him?

I prepare customized materials based on the goals taken. We use iPad, educational video, online resources to achieve his goals.

Am I happy with the way of our learning?
Yes. I am happy about his progress.

Is there any advantage?
Yes, as I primarily rely on alternate learning, there is no commuting. I find plenty of time to focus on ADL without any rush. No follow-ups for therapy appointments etc. No after school meltdowns.

Is there any disadvantage?
Yes, socialization.
Also, if we are stuck somewhere in our goals, searching for guidance or an external review does take a long time.
Customizing materials and teach aids takes time. Sometimes I feel lonely as nobody is there to vent out.

What is the purpose of this page?
To document and share our learning path. It will help all of us and our future generation.

Please reach me out through autism.india@yahoo.co.in with details of your contact if you are a professional/institution

Looking forward to parents who want to share their experience as well.

Some thoughts on how to use the contents of this page:
In this page, I am only sharing my experience or other parent's experiences. These are not therapy suggestions. The materials published here are all mostly relevant from the perspective of my son. Every child is unique and you may have to discover what works for your kid. I am not promoting any specific teaching method and will recommend a mix and match of methods for any kid

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App to learn basic English Vocabulary


Learn English Vocabulary Pop Quiz is a free App to learn basic vocabulary for kids. When downloaded only two levels were open to play and once a level is successfully completed the next level opens up to play automatically.  It basically displays a set of pictures, then calls on a name of one of the objects in the pictures and the child has to choose that picture(e.g. Strawberry). So child can get the pronunciation of that object and learn to identify that object also by playing this game.
       

In settings we can change the number of pictures it displays to be 2 or more. Keeping it to 2 can help the kid at the initial stages.

The App can be downloaded using the following link.
https://youtu.be/ZJhEG92tU2A

See Aakash playing with this app:

Teaching Copying Skills using Pattern

I have been working with my son Aakash for making him learn to copy. Copying is an important skill for him to learn new skills.
Following are some of the videos of Aakash and how he learns to copy.
                                                                       Video - 1

In the Video -1 he learnt to copy the patterns designed with simple shapes.  I prepared this material using Microsoft Word.

  • First I prepared the document.
  • Made two copies of the document.
  • Laminated the printed copies.
  • Cut one of the laminated copies into individual shapes.

Now the material is ready to use. Since it is colorful with basic shapes Aakash finds it very easy to copy the patterns.



                                                                       Video - 2


In the Video - 2, he learns to make patterns by connecting dots.

It's downloaded from the below links
https://www.yourtherapysource.com/followfree.html and
http://krokotak.com/2013/01/hand-and-eye-coordination/ 

I laminated the downloaded documents and made my son use temporary marker to copy the patterns. Since the material is laminated, it can be used for any number of times with temporary markers for learning to copy.

Here is a link to download the template with only dots
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5lPOKC3f6iWcG10TmxvMHB4NFk/view?pli=1

We can use this template to design our own patterns. That is I use the right side box to quickly draw a pattern with temporary marker pen. And on the left my son copies the same pattern. This template gives scope for lot of varieties so that he does not feel bored with repeating patterns.
Google with the search term "geoboard" to get more ideas for the same.


 
                                                                     Video - 3


In Video - 3 he plays an App in his iPad. This App can be downloaded from the below link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shapes-mosaic-puzzle-basic/id745163969?mt=8. This is a free App. This is a good time pass App for him.



I bought the above Beads Pattern box(skilloffun Beads Pattern Box) through online. It costs Rs.622 in Flipkart. This pattern Box has beads, printed strips 8 nos and 4 sticks to arrange the beads as in the printed strips.

I always use some 4 or 5 materials alternately to teach a concept to avoid boredom and also to make the concept fun and easy to understand.

Actually these methods of copying pattern helped Aakash to learn basic typing(which I will explain in another article) and also for learning addition where I taught him to do it by keeping dots.
Practice makes us Perfect. All the best to you to keep on trying the copying skills with your kids as well.

Good Training Material -Sight word readers

It is always a struggle to find new materials to develop the skills of our kids. Today I came across a site which will help our kids in reading. I sincerely appreciate and thank the mother/teacher Anna who did this wonderful documentation of these materials.  She has provided lots off freebies to download and use. Though this website is for all kids, I felt it would benefit kids with Autism like my son immensely. This is my review and introduction to this site.

The website name is http://www.themeasuredmom.com. I love the way the "Sight word Readers"(Sight words means frequently used English Words) material have been designed which tempted me to download it immediately. This can be download from the following link "http://www.themeasuredmom.com/free-emergent-readers".

Today my son can already read a full page of text. But he is unable to understand and comprehend the meaning.

This website gives beautiful materials to cross this stage by focusing on Sight words.  The author has designed the material in a very simple way for the kids to understand the meaning of the words along with lovely cartoon images.

Below picture shows some of the downloaded topics from this site which I have printed and made into small booklets.


The below topic is about vehicles with two sight words "the" and "See".


Below pictures show another topic with Dinosaur using sight words a, see, at, can, you, for, is, go , the , look, at, you, it, big, up and little.

 

I like the way the complexity has been increased gradually for the materials which helps the beginning readers like my son. I expect this material is not only going to help my son in reading fluency but also going to help my son's  Comprehension skill.

Hope this helps you in your material preparation to help your kids.

Talking in Sentences

My son's communication today is primarily in single words e.g. he will look at me and say "water", "lunch", "sleep" etc. If he wants to communicate  a set of ideas, instead of using a sentence, he will say continuously a bunch of words like "Metro Train", "Tickets", "Escalator". What he is actually trying to say is "Let's go buy tickets and ride in the Metro Train. We will go by escalator". Whenever I make him try to communicate in a sentence(by saying a appropriate sentence when he communicates by a single word), he echoes my sentence at that point of time, but does not actually get it. When he himself initiates the communication, it is always single words only.

He is actually thorough with all the words in the "Dolch's Sight Words" List(This simply refers to the commonly used English Words in reading). This should ideally help him construct a sentence. But till now it has not.

And his another problem is that if I give him a sentence for a context, he will repeat later part of the sentence only. If I say, "Shall we go by Metro Train", he will most likely say, "go by metro train".

First I worried about his comprehension skill, but later I decided to focus on my son's ability to first fluently repeat the sentence.  While attempting this, I repeated same kind of sentences many times, like "I want water", "I want food" etc.. This I thought prevented him from getting different flavors of sentences in day to day usage.  So I searched for some appropriate teaching material and I found some material at schoolsparks.com for sight words. Here is the link

http://www.schoolsparks.com/kindergarten-worksheets/category/dolch-sight-words-flashcards

In this link I found all the sight words.  Here are some samples



They also give sentences for a set of words. Here is one set of sight words and sentences that use them.

Now I am practicing these materials with my son(these materials are free to use). Since these words are simple to use, his abilitiy to read sentences has improved.  And when I give him sentences to repeat during a conversation, his fluency in his repetition has also improved a lot. I think this could be the first step make him communicate in sentence.

Prior to these materials, my son also mastered the sight words through a tablet app as well(this is a paid app). Here is a video link to my son practicing on this app.

This app helps to learn the spelling and pronunciation of sight words easily and in a fun way.  Here is the link to get this app in the IOS

With all these inputs, now his learning of sentences is fast. Hope he will be talking in sentences soon. 







Learn Spelling(First Words Professional)

My Son has a special interest on Alphabets and spellings over Numbers. Infact he learnt Alphabets both upper case and lower case with the help of Ipad Apps only. After he learnt to identify the Alphabets just as a variation I gave him this First words Professional app by Learning Touch LLC. He totally enjoyed the app and learnt some spelling of objects, Animals and birds etc.

First Words Professional is an paid app (Rs.620) which has categories like Animals, At home, Colour etc. This app can be downloaded through the following link(for IOS)

Through the settings parents can choose varios options according to the childs level of understanding.

Following is a video of how much son plays and enjoys the app.

Through setting we can even select "PHONICS" option.
Here is the video of  how phonics option works: 


He even learnt to write some of the words he learnt through this app. Following is the video of how he practices the learnt three letter words.


Table manners for our kids

Learning to have food independently by following table manners is very important for our kids.  In my son's case the proper meal impacts his behaviour as well.

Though it is important to learn, it was not easy for him. It's not just about the routine, since he had sensory issues as well, he found it difficult most of the time(Click on the link http://www.autism.org.uk/about/behaviour/sensory-world.aspx to have a understanding about sensory issues).

So breaking the the task of sitting and having food into smaller tasks helped me and my son.

Here is a schedule I created for his use during all his meal times.


When I first tried to introduce this routine, I got two challenges ahead of me-1. To habituate these tasks into a routine 2. To overcome the sensory issues that prevented him from accepting some tasks.

The routines like wash hands, rinse mouth etc came by following the tasks daily.

But I struggled a lot to make him to sit. As a hyperactive child, he prefers to move around continuously. So to make him understand about sitting and having food, we parents sit with him with his favourite snacks in the evening. Otherwise I didn't expect him sit and follow the routine.

Once he was comfortable and understood the procedure, I extended the discipline in the breakfast also. And now he is independent.  But even now one of us sits with him during the meal time and encourage him to have by himself, if he gets distracted for some reason like toys, food not to his liking etc.

Next comes the sensory issues which involves hand and mouth for my son.

First I focussed on to desensitise his sensitivity in the mouth. For this OT(Occupational Therapy) helped us a lot. With the help of small massages on his cheeks and upper/lower jaws, the sensitivity was slowly gone.

I was able to visibly see the difference, that he slowly added fruits and vegetables into his diet.
Along side the cooperation for brushing had also increased(click through the link to understand about our BRUSHING experience  http://autism-contacts-in-india.blogspot.in/2014/04/brushing.html?m=1).

Though he started to add healthy items into his diet, he was initially hesitant and choosy about some food items. For example he had papaya if I gave him but not by himself. And also he had idly or chapati sort items by hands but not Rice with gravy.

Later I understood that it was the texture of the food which stopped him to take some foods by himself. The sensitivity in the hand made him to avoid certain food items. For example Curd, gravy, chutney etc. He likes to have flavoured yogurt and sauce but he takes with spoon. Accidentally if he touched these kind of items by hand immediately he cleaned his hands in the shirt.

I am still working on this issue. If I feel he is not comfortable with the texture, I give him spoon/Fork.  Also we started to keep a tissue paper by his side.  He learnt to use tissue paper to clean his hands if he touches sticky items accidentally instead of wiping it in the shirt.

Here's how I prepared and use the schedule.
This is the base sheet which has two A4 sheets. I designed the layout using word document.



The above pictures were taken print out in a A4 sheet, laminated and then cut to card size.

The base sheet has Velcros to stick on them and the cards also have Velcro stuck in both sides.

Before each meal I keep this schedule in the dining table.

Once he finishes a task he himself flips it back like in the picture below.

Now a days our meal times are easy and peaceful without much fuss.