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Combining B+C, C+1 for gifted suspected ASD preschooler?

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    Combining B+C, C+1 for gifted suspected ASD preschooler?

    Hi everyone! After a long search I recently decided on SC as the right curriculum for my son who will be four this August. I'm super excited about it as it's the first thing that has legit just felt 'right'.

    As I'm sure you all are familiar with, my son is 'asynchronous' in many ways. He's gifted verbally and in math, music and science. He's normally developing in large motor skills but lags behind in fine motor.... Not to a giant extent, but enough that it makes the disparity between what he wants to do academically and what he can do physically at 3 even more obvious. He is both sensory seeking and sensory avoidant and and struggles with transitions and change as well as emotion regulation, and not understanding physical boundaries of others and social rules. He is a greatemorizer of facts and quotes and thrives on learning through song/recitation. He's very easily distracted and has a very low frustration tolerance for anything related to fine motor. Following directions or doing anything in the prescribed way is a major work in progress.

    This was our first year homeschooling and we are close to completing the good and beautiful Preschool and kindergarten math with confidence as well as good and beautiful science unit on water.

    My husband and I suspect our son (Nikolai) is on the autism spectrum (possibly PDA profile) as well as ADHD. He has not been assessed since his doctor, family worker and former preschool teacher all think he could not be autistic because he's "so smart" and "so social" and "so affectionate" (this really grinds my gears as husband and I also had delayed diagnosis of our own issues due to compensation/masking/misconceptions)

    I (mom) am diagnosed with level 2 Autism and ADHD-H myself, and dad has dyslexia and an anxiety disorder/complex PTSD that muddy the waters of whether his attention issues are ADHD as well or not. Both of us have worked extensively with special needs kids from birth through 21 which also helps inform our suspicion.

    I lay this all out as background, while we bide our time, continue to advocate for answers, and attempt to work with Niko where he's at and meet his needs.

    I took Niko out of preschool at a diocesan elementary this winter due to concerns about some of their policies, because the day was too long for him and he was having meltdowns every afternoon due to overtiredness. We also quickly realized if we sent him next year we would be paying 6k a year for socialization since he would already know the 'academic' content.

    In any case, as we approach the end of the curriculum we are working through, I have decided to homeschool through the summer and continue next year, as well as what would be his kindergarten year before deciding what's best going forward (homeschooling, local classical school, Christian co-op, the diocesan school we left)

    We decided on SC because of the classic stories, undistracting layout, and multisensory approach as well as it being classical and all-in-one. I'm having another baby in August so I really didn't want to cobble things together or have to do too much planning/rearranging.

    I ordered as much as possible for the next year and a half in advance and will have all of SC B, C and 1 at my disposal, as well as Myself and Others 1 and 2.

    For math I have Math with Confidence 1 and R+S 1. I was hoping to use both as I love the straightforward nature of R+S and Nikolai enjoys the games in MWC. We will be ready to start them in about a month or so.

    As for reading, he knows all his letter sounds and has just become interested in blending/decoding. We haven't yet started formal phonics beyond TGTB preschool and the first five lessons of teach your child in 100 lessons.

    For SC placement, he actually tested into level 1 but I know he's nowhere near ready for it regarding fine motor, writing, attention and following directions. I was thinking of starting with level C in May but adding in Math with Confidence 1 in a low key way and maybe some sort of not writing intensive phonics, as I've read FSR is way too much for a new four year old. I love the games and poetry in IEW PAL but I'm wondering if it has too many sight words and a nontraditional order if phonogram introduction and if that would be an issue.

    I was also hoping to add in some of the B read alouds, the letter related crafts and the scissors, letters and numbers books.... But at that point should I just start with B altogether with Math and Phonics added in in a low key way and just move through it quickly, starting C in the Fall and continuing with Math and Phonics?

    If I do that I'd plan to use SC 1 and probably R+S math 2 and continue with FSR for his five year old year.

    Does that all sound doable or way too complicated to pull off?

    I just don't want to throw him into too high a level even though he tested into SC 1 when I'm not sure about the writing. It's 100% the writing that's holding me back from just starting with C + math level 1.

    That and not wanting to miss out on anything enriching in level B lit, Bible, recitation, etc.

    No matter what we plan to start Myself and Others book 1 in May, and likely continue with science as time allows (using intro to science from Elemental Science) as he requests Science and Math daily.

    I know he's little, but he (and I) thrive on routine and he loved doing school. Our biggest priorities are to continue with Math, progress with reading, expose him to great literature and poetry, continue to grow in faith, and learn manners, discipline and social skills while adapting to meet his developmental and sensory needs.

    I appreciate all thoughts! I'm happy to elaborate on my son's needs as well as what our homeschool and family situation currently looks like in any way helpful, and apologies if this post is a nonsensical mess!

    #2
    Welcome! None of this was a nonsensical mess. You gave us a concise introduction to a complex little person!


    Based on everything you shared including the family history for attention/anxiety/autism, my recommendation is to begin with Level C and teach as written, even in math. Adapt for his emerging fine-motor development by doing this:
    1) Omit the two fine-motor books used only in the 8-week review.
    2) Omit the animal coloring book. This will be too detailed.
    3) Omit Going on Eagerly, if necessary, or save this for later.

    Adapt for his bright, inquisitive mind by delving further into the existing studies of Level C. Animal habitats will provide excellent fodder for nature walks and trips to the zoo or nature preserve. You'll find tips for strengthening fine-motor skills at the front of the Curriculum Manual for Level C. Do these in his free time. You can find suggested supplies in the Level C Supply List via the link. Be sure to order the Read-Aloud Set or find these books from other sources to have on hand for reading and teaching in the order listed in the Curriculum Manual. The books coordinate with the targeted letters and sounds of the alphabet.

    - Plan to color hand-over-hand OR side-by-side. You outline the areas for him to color. He fills them in with a matching color. Use the correct colors for the item (e.g., red or green, not purple or black, for an apple). Teach the proper grip for a crayon, but do not overtax those little muscles. Keep the coloring and writing enjoyable. Mark exceptionally neat letters or coloring with a star. Keep him engaged, as if you are artists with an empty palette. "What color should we make this basket?"

    - Know that you will have plenty of read-alouds in Level C and Myself & Others Book One! These will give you mounds of excellent stories tied directly to what he is learning. If you suddenly find you need more after 4-5 weeks, you can choose from the read-aloud books in Level B.

    - Understand that if he is on the spectrum, he will need help with pragmatic language, comprehension, and some abstractions. We work on these through our Level C read-alouds. If he has difficulties attending, the internal cohesiveness of Level C will help! This is why we do not like to mix other levels with the highly cohesive Level C. You will see what I mean when you receive your daily planner.

    - Trust that we have addressed the asynchronous nature of autism and language-based needs. This is especially evident in Level C, in which we work on basics of number, alphabet, and fine-motor skills while providing rich content in animal studies and Aesop's fables! It will be good that some areas seem easy to him, as we do not want to stretch him too tightly. All works together in Level C -- both the easier elements and the more difficult, to produce the desired result of true linguistic readiness for reading and writing. (This is far more than phonetic or motor readiness.)

    - In Level C we're weaving language, alphabet, songs, and games into each lesson, so Level C is not overly taxing and is age appropriate. Gifted or bright children can sometimes be pushed too fast into academics without learning the love of play, the delight of words, and the joy of listening to a good story. Note: By the end of Level C, the child begins reading! We introduce FSR A (largely orally, if needed), so he can begin blending sounds into words as he is eager to do. In Level 1 he will see FSR A again, but by this time his fine-motor skills will have become stronger, so he can benefit from the full program.

    After you've taught Level C for a consistent 4-5 weeks, feel free to add something. Until then, I think you'll find a full day's worth of wonderful enrichment for your son as he gains good skills, increases his attention span, and finds his days filled with delightful stories!

    Feel free to follow up --

    Cheryl
    Sample Lesson Plan Readiness Assessment Supply List Skills to Develop Animals, Alphabet, & Aesop Ages 4-5 (Chronological Age or Skill Level) Designed fo
    Last edited by cherylswope; 04-21-2022, 04:07 PM.

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      #3
      Thank you so much, Cheryl! This is incredibly helpful and specific (you clearly know how to communicate to an autistic person).

      All of the above are reasons I'm so glad SC exists. You truly take into account the way our kids learn. Doing C was my gut reaction, but I was so worried about the fine motor. I just don't want him to get discouraged or too frustrated.

      I'm also glad to know that C specifically is a level where all the parts work together. And Niko has just gotten into Aesop's fables (an Usborne retelling) so he will love those for sure.

      Your reply seriously just led to a huge sigh of relief. His dad and I have felt so much like we are swimming upstream since we didn't have access to a lot of support as kids ourselves and most of our support system doesn't seem to get what it's like to live with, raise and teach an 'atypical' super intense kid. They just seem to think we aren't strict enough or he's weird because he spends so much time with me and wouldn't be if he went to preschool.

      I also just wanted to say that the design and layout of SC and MP more broadly, fits into my brain so much better than other curricula, I'm way less confused about teaching it. I think I am still trying to let it sink in that someone who understands and has been there has actually already done the work of designing this!

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        #4
        As a follow up regarding pragmatic language... As someone on the spectrum myself, married to someone who has a somewhat unusual use of language, can Cheryl or anyone recommend resources to help us adults understand what pragmatic language is and teach/explain it's use and understanding? I looked at the Wikipedia article but didn't entirely grasp the concept.

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