How much assistance should moms and dads offer when it comes to helping their Aspergers child with his/her homework?
School can be a complex situation for kids with Aspergers (high functioning autism). Homework can be a real struggle, especially after spending an entire day forced to sit in the classroom. Truthfully, moms and dads of kids without Aspergers also struggle with how to handle the homework problem. Should you push, hover, beg, and plead – or should you gently remind your youngster about his assignments and then let her face the consequences? The answer lies somewhere in the middle.
There are several reasons why homework can be such an issue for Aspergers kids. Homework interferes with free time, which is better spent on that special interest. Homework is hard because of the distractions of home.
The main problems that interfere with homework are:
- Anxiety caused by frustration. Teach your youngster relaxation techniques he can use during class (e.g., deep breathing) and homework times to reduce frustration. Anti-anxiety medications can help in moderate to severe cases.
- Cognitive reasoning. Cognitive therapy is very helpful in this area.
- Communication difficulties (pragmatics or comprehension). Speech/language therapy can help your youngster with communication skills. These therapies can be performed in the home with the help of published resources.
- Lack of organizational skills. Use written list, daily schedules, and a visual timer to help your youngster gain organizational skills. Time management is often an area of concern and should be developed, as well.
Here are some thoughts that may help you deal with homework-related issues:
- Have you established a homework routine? Kids with Aspergers work much better with a set routine.
- Is she easily distracted by noise or activity? Set up a homework zone that suits her sensory needs.
- What frustrates or upsets her? Avoid these triggers before and during homework time.
- What is her best time of day? Does she work better right after school or after a play break and snack?
You can have success with your Aspergers youngster. Homework does not have to be a problem. Remember, work with your youngster’s strengths – and be consistent.
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