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Suggestions for an (almost) teen ASD kiddo dealing with schedules/ free time use

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    Suggestions for an (almost) teen ASD kiddo dealing with schedules/ free time use

    Sort of needing to verbally process an issue we are having...perhaps someone has some insight...

    One of my kiddos the one who is ASD and just shy of 13 is working through yr 7 ... he is a hyper focused worker and is the first up and usually waiting impatiently for me to get ready to begin. He is very much a 'one thing at a time/by the book/ checklist' oriented kid...every part of his day he has a mental list from waking to when he has tea and checks sports scores to showers it is all scheduled. He is getting better about being flexible for the rest of the family, crazy unpredictable people that we are ha but he really depends on that internal routine for himself to avoid anxiety.

    He honestly is just a memory/ lesson machine and is often done by lunch, mostly because he never gets off task. This year with the big jump in work from 6 to 7 he sometimes has one or two things after lunch but not every day. He is retaining, gets good scores so I know he is not going too fast through stuff but he "needs" those checklists so if it is not on the days work list he will not work ahead in a subject. I worry if I start scheduling too many more lessons in the day it will lower retention and the times I have scheduled more than one lesson in a day he gets anxious that I made a mistake in copying the lesson plans into his list...goodness it takes convincing when the MP lesson plans have more than one chapter of something scheduled he is suspicious of mistakes on your end ha. We hit all the suggestions in the guides otherwise he becomes stressed. The only thing we do not do with him is anything art/drawing centered as that brings him to tears so I invite him to do those lessons but do not insist.

    In addition to the yr 7 work he is doing piano in the morning and studies German and Modern Greek "for fun" about 45 minutes in the afternoon. So he is doing a lot but we have these looong empty hours until dinner.

    Increasingly in the last few weeks he has burst into tears after the last lesson of the day saying he does not know what to do anymore.

    We have a no media until evening rule as it is really distracting for those still doing school we are all in the one main room and I do not want to send him off alone to his room with internet it seems an unwise choice for any kid, plus because of ongoing vision issues his screen time is limited anyhow. Like a lot kids (and adults ha!) he would lose himself in computer games for 12 hours straight if left alone. He hates that he finishes so soon because that means a lot of down time before he can play either his computer game or a table top game with me or his siblings. He has chronic health issues that make going out in cold weather prohibitive so he really often is stuck inside though we will go out on warm days to play catch or play ball or sword fight with the neighbor boys but again not until the end of the day and that still gives him several empty hours. I know he needs to move more.

    He has a ton of table top games he plays with ...lots of rules oriented type games he loves them but no one else gets done early enough to play..he will read though mostly sports stats and non fiction books a few fictional but he is very particular about them so it limits that and in his 'routine' he reads in the evening to wind down...reading for entertainment right after morning of reading for school is unappealing so that is out for the afternoon ...standing next to a sibling who is is doing math and quoting football stats is out because it only annoys them... standing and staring quietly at mom is also out ha!

    He will do chores though he likes them listed/negotiated early in the day as changes do freak him out...he has a great attitude about them stays focused and does a good job but adding on an unexpected can trigger a meltdown...and boy I hate just giving him more and more jobs to keep him busy because he is done with lessons when he has a distracted dawdling sibling who gets less done of either ...that seems unfair on so many levels...

    He had a long period where he could not see and had to listen to books on tape for school so he really does not like audio, I think it just has too many negative feelings so audio is not an option...

    He really just has a hard time filling those hours...and you can only spend so many hours jumping on the bed ...and he does a lot! :P

    If he was an only kid I would be free to play all those games with ridiculous rules with him but I need to be on task with the others so we are kind of stuck. He is such a loving helpful kid but he is prone to either asking for food or picking fights when he is feeling anxious/at loose ends and he does not like that feeling and would prefer to keep himself scheduled hence the tears... but with what? I think that is very mature insight on his part but I am not sure how to help him.

    Do I add more subjects? Expand the ones we have more? Fill his school day or try to expand his free time options? One of the best things that ever happened to us was when my MIL bought MP packages for the kids 2 years ago it was the best thing for ds 's learning and as a wonderful surprise his emotional well being as well but he can not do lessons 24/7...
    Sorry that was kind of long and there may not be any good answers but thought I would ask. Just ack what do I do with this kid from 1:30 -4 every day!?

    Any thoughts or at least a reminder spring will come and he will go outside again in mid June!
    Winter 2019 :
    DD - Graduated!
    DS - core 9 with remediation/support
    DD - core 6 with remediation/support
    DS - moving from SC to grade 4

    #2
    Re: Suggestions for an (almost) teen ASD kiddo dealing with schedules/ free time use

    Hi, MaggieAnnie.

    It sounds like he needs a hobby that is at least somewhat relaxing and engaging. Does he like to construct kits or models with clear-cut instructions?

    Also, given his age, would he like to begin an exercise program? This was a big help for our son, who was also a rather compulsive tea-scheduler! Your mention of this made me smile.

    As you said, purposeful movement is good and rest the eyes. FitDeck or FitDeck Jr. cards can be done indoors quietly (i.e., no DVD to follow). Both of our now-adult children still follow these cards as part of their daily exercise program. Even if your son is not completely independent with these at first, he can learn to do these on his own, and they do not require special equipment.


    Just chiming in, because I have access to the forum again. (We were without power earlier today.) Despite the Missouri ice storm, our power is back on!

    Thanks-
    Cheryl

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Suggestions for an (almost) teen ASD kiddo dealing with schedules/ free time use

      I don't have anyone on the spectrum, but one of my boys gets VERY anxious when he doesn't have anything to do or doesn't like any of the available options. If he's bored for too long, the anxiety triggers a migraine which will then lead to vomiting. Yeah. Not cool.

      My suggestion was going to be to expand his free time options in order to encourage some balance in his days between work and leisure; but if he doesn't like art-based activities, that could be difficult to do. Maybe he could do things like wood or soap whittling/carving or balsa wood models? Another idea would be "snap circuits" sets or other robotics-based things. If he likes to be in the kitchen, maybe he could do baking once a week? My kids are very art-centric so we spent most of our Christmas budget on supplies for them all to use. This has made a huge difference in our house as the kids now have more options than read, write, draw or play with random toys!
      Jennifer


      2018-2019
      DS-14 & DS-15 (MP9 Literature, Novare Intro to Physics, Light to the Nations I (CTP), MPOA for: Latin, Pre-Algebra, Ref/Con
      DS-12 (6M)
      DS-10 (SC3)
      DD-8 (MP2)
      DD-6 (SC2)
      DD-3 (NT using SCB for gradual intro to JrK)

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        #4
        Re: Suggestions for an (almost) teen ASD kiddo dealing with schedules/ free time use

        My oldest loves Magnetix, Qvolution, Legos, blocks -- anything he can build with. You might consider one of those options (I'll give you the Legos for free -- UGH... They should have a warning on the box that most of the master set is made up of microscopic little blocks destined to be stepped on barefoot or sucked up in the vacuum cleaner).

        He also might enjoy building models. Take a trip to Hobby Lobby and buy a few model planes, cars, dioramas, etc. He can build, paint and glue with a purpose. It's kind of "art based" but more appealing than construction paper and scissors.
        Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
        Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
        Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
        Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

        “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
        ~Pope St John Paul II

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Suggestions for an (almost) teen ASD kiddo dealing with schedules/ free time use

          Oh ugg stress migraines with vomiting we get those too you have my sympathy Jen!

          Cheryl of course our fitdeck! We got one when we were doing OT and have not used it since last spring...they tend to get put away in the summer and forgotten about, I think I will get a couple of new ones to try out with our superman one to renew interest...he certainly could incorporate that into his routine with a little prompting. I could help him schedule it between tea times

          Had a long talk with Grampy and he is going to help us redo our garage to put in a climbing wall and hang a therapy/sensory swing in one corner...with some mats it will be a good place for doing fitdecks in our dark icy rainy winters.

          Anita bwaaha legos ..we have ceded a whole qtr of the living room of them to our other 3 we can not get enough of those ds though can not handle his siblings always taking apart sets and rearranging them it messes with his sense of order...hmmm models...he does like all of ds's old painted game models...he has a box of old unpainted ones...I could try letting him choose one of the old armies and paint it up with some fresh brushes and paints from the craft store...it could combine his love of games with a new hobby...dh loves to play but hates painting so it could be a win win if he likes it ha.

          thanks! Oh dd is waiting on me got to go lots to think about!
          Winter 2019 :
          DD - Graduated!
          DS - core 9 with remediation/support
          DD - core 6 with remediation/support
          DS - moving from SC to grade 4

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Suggestions for an (almost) teen ASD kiddo dealing with schedules/ free time use

            We have seven boys and the early teen years have been notoriously hard for each. Do you know about Boy Scout Merit Badge books? They are fantastic in depth guides to learning about careers and hobbies. Check this website for a list of books currently available. We have found many in our local library. Though it starts with another "book," many of the badge topics lend themselves to hands on activities and hobbies.
            If you desire a bit more academic approach to studying the material in the books, merit badge worksheets are a tool to help boys prepare for the meeting they have with a counselor. These might help direct your son's learning and interests in a more structured way if that helps him.
            Last edited by kimrankin; 01-22-2017, 07:22 PM.
            Wife to Rich - 27 years.
            Step-Mom to DS age 33 years, 30 years. Mom to DD 26 years old and DS(s) 23 years, 22 years, 21 years, 17 years, 3 years.
            Grandma to baby girl due June, 2016.
            Began homeschooling in 1992. Graduated 6. Use a mixture of curriculum for DS (Senior year '16-'17). Use SC for 3 year old.

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Suggestions for an (almost) teen ASD kiddo dealing with schedules/ free time use

              This isn't for a specific activity suggestion, but something that has helped my ASD guy with free time, is this. I made a single page of pictographs of his favorite activities that he can do quietly and alone. I remind him to check his 'Anti-boredom' page, and seeing the activities gets him interested in one of them more than me just listing them off.
              Miah - married to Warcabbage, 3 boys, BS in social work, AS in Electrical Engineering Technology

              Evulcarrot - 18, freshman in college, Medical Technology , mild autism
              Battlebroccoli - 17, lives with grandma, attends a special high school program part time
              Doomsprout - 10, highly verbal moderate autism, anxiety, motor delays, sensory processing issues - SC 4 with R&S 4

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Suggestions for an (almost) teen ASD kiddo dealing with schedules/ free time use

                Originally posted by Miah View Post
                This isn't for a specific activity suggestion, but something that has helped my ASD guy with free time, is this. I made a single page of pictographs of his favorite activities that he can do quietly and alone. I remind him to check his 'Anti-boredom' page, and seeing the activities gets him interested in one of them more than me just listing them off.

                Yes! This greatly reduces our tendencies as parents to unnecessarily and ineffectually rescue, nag, or lecture.

                Instead: "Check your list!"

                You can create this yourself or include him in the choices. You might add light chores to the list, if he really prefers to be helpful.

                Because of his age, words might suffice for him, rather than pictures, but the idea is the same. Thanks, Miah.

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