I have an 16-year-old child with Aspergers. He is an excellent student now that he is doing his high school online through a public charter school. However, he has no concept of time so he is often cramming at the last minute to finish his assignments. How can I help him learn to manage his time better so that he can do his work without added stress and anxiety?
Nothing creates stress and anxiety quite like procrastination. While some individuals are just natural procrastinators, others, like your child, have a genuine problem understanding the concept of time. This is a common characteristic of Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism.
Online schooling is a great option for teenagers with Aspergers. Removing the classroom distraction does wonders for your child's thought processes. The lessening of sensory assault, the one-on-one instruction, and no bullies are definite pluses! As an added thought, please consider social skills group classes and other social outlets to prevent total isolation. Clubs and community groups that are geared towards his special interests (i.e., history book club, chess club, and band lessons are common choices) will provide much needed social skills practice in a comfortable environment.
Organization is another weak area for many children with Aspergers. Since children with Aspergers are prone to struggle with depression, anxiety, and stress, the addition of poor organization can cause real problems. Organizational skills are necessary for young adults. High school teachers and college professors expect students to contribute acceptable work in a timely manner. Finding solutions that work now will lead to positive changes and less stress in the future.
Here are some things you can do to help your child manage his time better:
• Visual timers can be very helpful tools when organizational skills are being taught. These timers have a colored line that gets smaller as the time passes, giving the user a true visual image of running out of time. Each daily task or, in your child's case, each school subject, can be timed with the visual timer. Congratulations on finding the solution for your child's school issues. High school can be very overwhelming for teenagers with Aspergers. With your guidance and a plan of organization, your child is sure to finish high school and move on to adulthood ventures with confidence and control.
• Visual schedules are a necessary part of your child's routine. Use lists and reminders to keep him moving along. Encourage him to keep a daily, weekly, and monthly calendar. To do lists, written schedules, and assignment lists will give him the structure he needs to begin organizing his life.
• Designing an ordered workspace is a good place to start. A designated place for everything, comfortable seating, quiet surroundings, and a calming decor will help diminish distractions.
• Creating a routine is essential for your child. As an individual with Aspergers, he craves routine and order. A daily routine will set him on the right path. He may need guidance to develop a routine. Work with him to create a smooth flow to his day.
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