A Child with Autism and School

My son is in middle school. Ever since school got to be “serious” (which means nightly homework and chapter tests that need a day or two or three to get prepared), my son has sometimes had problems with the time homework and studying takes AWAY from his home time.

His home time means his allotted time for devices. Game playing. He’s definitely a device/games kid.

And, when his home time gets interrupted, he’s not a happy camper.

First, my son has stated several times that he likes school, but just sometimes doesn’t like homework and test studying. We have had to discuss this issue many times since my son has reacted badly to having to do homework or especially studying.

Studying during a weekend has been a problem. He likes to budget his time, and make that time the smallest time possible.

Another problem is he likes me to help him study.

Then, he turns around and forgets that I have my own schedule.

My son and I have come to blows over this issue several times.

What do I do?

Luckily, we established a long time ago (around the time that school got serious) that homework always comes before any device/fun time.

*I make notes to remind myself to help him study (so I don’t forget my involvement).

Every once in a while I reaffirm with him that he wants me to help him study. I have explained to him that I can’t help him study forever. There will come a day when he’d have to do it himself.

Yet that day still hasn’t happened.

*I remind him ahead of time that studying time will be coming up, either on that day or the next day or the coming weekend.

*I budget time precisely, and I use a timer. (“We’re going to study for thirty minutes.”)

*Since my son isn’t great about telling me about upcoming tests, I go online and check the schedules that many teachers post. I know my son gets distracted, and I don’t want him to put himself in an academic hole just because he didn’t hear the teacher’s announcement about a test.

(Many middle school teachers post their schedules, but some do not. I find them very helpful. On the other hand, most teachers these days will respond to email. I have emailed questions to teachers many times.)

*I help my son find time to study that would also allow him adequate device time. For example, when he uses flash cards, he can look at them in the car or during his after school time (they have a set hour for homework/studying). We have also gone over a few things on the morning drive to school.

*My son has also learned to get homework done during free time at school. He’s figured out that by getting his work done ahead of time, he can make time for himself at home.

What else do I tell my son?

I tell him that this is the way it’s going to be for a long time. He’s going to have to somehow accept homework and especially studying (lots of studying). He wants to go to college someday. His workload is going to increase in high school, and especially in college.

He knows this, or, at least he says he does.

We’ll see as time goes by!


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