After each day of school, we always try to add in a little extra learning time. An hour is our daily goal, but some days are less and some are more. Typically, we do school worksheets that don’t have to be turned in. They are supplied to us for additional learning tools, to do at our leisure. Our normal afternoons are spent doing math, reading, and reading comprehension.
Lately, we’ve been working more diligently on my son’s speech and forming complete sentences. As I was pondering what we could do different in his daily learning sessions, the idea of having him write a story came to mind. Not only would it help him in learning to write complete sentences, but it would build upon his creativity as well. Plus I don’t know about him, but I’m rather bored with math and reading comprehension worksheets.
At 14 years old, he’s never written his own story before. So I taught him a little about brainstorming his ideas first and then writing a story using those ideas, from beginning to end. Also, to write complete sentences, as he would expect to hear them if they were said aloud. Then, I left the room and let him work his magic.
After a bit, while I was in the other room, I could hear him talking to himself out in the dining room. By the tone of his voice, it was obvious that he was excited about the story he was writing. I couldn’t make out his words, so I waited patiently for him to finish.
After about 20 minutes, he was done. As I read his story aloud, he was smiling from ear to ear and laughing all the while. He was so proud of himself and he should have been. The story was great! Our doors were open as I read it, so the neighbors probably knew how great the story was too. I don’t even attempt to contain my excitement when it comes to his accomplishments.
Still going on about how well he did, I placed a snack on the table for him. As he plopped down in his chair he said, “Thank you.” I assumed that he was talking about the snack. Then he repeated himself, “Thank you… for complimenting me.” Did I mention how much I love my son?
As you can see above, I’ve posted a picture of his story. But for those who don’t feel like opening it or can’t decipher his spelling, I’ve translated it below for you. (Since it’s one very long carry-on sentence, just pretend that the words ‘and’ are the periods.)
“Long time ago man got up from his bed and get out from his house and walked by the forest and when he walked he saw some ants and he met some ants and have friends with them and put them on a big stick and take them home to his backyard and be friends with them forever and feed them food and drink forever and he found some more ants by time and one day he have a bigger home and he have triple the ants and he have homes for them and ants have their home too and other people have ants for their best friend forever. The end.”
Note to the ‘professionals’ – Don’t tell me kids with autism can’t learn. The sky is the limit! They can do anything they set their mind to do.
For parents who are struggling – Don’t give up and don’t let your child’s silence fool you. There’s a lot of unseen potential inside of them. You just have to help them release it. Give it time. You’ll see. In the meantime, every accomplishment both big and small, is something to shout about.