Because we’re not seeing any adaptation to the Monster’s homework, we decided to speak up – I’m a big believer in “say something”, rather than hoping for the best.
It’s not that the Monster is unable to do the homework when it’s something factual. It’s when homework is more open-ended, when it requires some creative input, that he needs more guidance due to the way Autism affects his language processing. So telling him to “write a sentence of five words or more, using at least three sight words” is not a direction he can easily handle, for example.
So the wife wrote to the teacher earlier this week to ask about why it felt like the homework’s not being adapted for his level of ability, per the IEP. The response? A sticky-note telling us to do the homework he can handle, and not worry about doing all of it.
I’m… not really sure that’s the appropriate response from the school.
First, that feels like we’re adapting his homework, then, and not the teacher. That’s not our job, to make that decision as to what we think he can ‘handle’ – he’ll just end up doing bits and pieces here and there, without the self-check that homework’s supposed to provide vis-a-vis the reinforcement of newly learned skills.
Second, that also raises for me the question of how his performance on homework is being evaluated in that respect. What if, for a week, we “decide” that he’s in a mood to handle only the math homework? How is she going to evaluate his progress on reading and writing? Or is he going to be punished later for not having done something as part of an assignment?
It all seems very odd to me, but that could just be me after two years of being spoiled with his being in a more restrictive environment. I’m debating really what my next “say” to the teacher should be…. especially since I can’t go to back-to-school night on Thursday due to conflicts. And in the end, that’s what’s going to matter – how I choose to advocate for him in this circumstance.
Do you get a list of sight words? Can Ethan recognize them? If so, break the assignment down into little steps. IE” What is this word? Say it Please. Read it please (yes it’s repetition but hey…) Can you use it in a sentence? (Give examples.
The main problem is that he’s not showing understanding, at home, of some of the concepts – ‘sentence’ is a great example. He can regurgitate facts. He can be coaxed (sometimes) to rhyme or the like. But trying to get him to, spontaneously, synthesize something on command is difficult if not near impossible.
He can read words when he sees them (yes, we get the list). But… whether he understands that the letters represent something more than sounds, we don’t know yet. He’s certainly not yet to the point of using written words to express thoughts or connect them to his environment.