My Son's Autism Workbook
This week, after spending a lot of effort trying to prepare for the Mac OS X 10.5 Advanced System Administration test, I took off the last half of the week to work on a workbook for my son. Â As those of you who have followed my blog know, my son Jonathan is within the Autistic Spectrum, at either very high level autism or Asperger's Syndrome (we find out in February which it is). Â As such, trying to work with him has been an adventure, to say the least. Â We found a book that has been a great help. Â The Autistic Spectrum Parents' Daily Helper by Philip Abrams and Leslie Hendriques provides a great insight into teaching in general, and teaching autistic children specifically. Â It's focus is on learning through repetition, Constructivist learning by building upon skills and recognizing associations between skills, and finally learning design. Â Why learning design? Â Because autistic children vary across the spectrum, their learning requirements are different. Â The only way to teach your autistic children the skills they know is to break them down and teach each part of the skill. Â This book tells you what to do, but it does lack in telling someone how to do it. Â That means parents may know that they have to do a skills analysis, but they don't know how to do it. Â Luckily the book provides several references for parents that need more help.Â This book is more about doing something, which ultimately is what all students want. Â Parents want to be able to do what they can, and this book is perfect for them. Â It has a workbook for parents (giving them a teaching skill crash course), and a workbook for the child(ren). Â The students are focused on tactile and visual learning, which is great for autistic children (mostly because their auditory learning is generally challenged). Â The workbook is focused on basic skills that most children pick up through imitation. Â This includes doing chores, dressing oneself, etc. Â It's a great workbook, and one that I want my son to use. Â Now, the workbook is designed to have tear-out pages, but I have this thing about tearing out portions of books. Â That, and it's a standard 8.5" by 11" which is a bit larger than I like. Â So, I took a lot of the ideas from the book and a few scans, and started making my own version of the book. Â I started by writing up all the text sections in Pages (which, ironically, I think the workbook was written in originally). Â I also broke up the sections into two pages that fit within a compact Franklin planner. Â 39 pages later I cut out the new workbook sections and laminated them. Â Then I punched holes to clip it in the planner. Â Now I have a nice and compact workbook for my son that will travel nicely. Â So, that's the workbook I have. Â There are still some small details that need to be finished with it, but all in all it's a functional workbook. Â I can set a schedule for my son, have him match some skills together, and even start to learn how to tell time. Â Needless to say, I'm quite happy with this workbook project, and look forward to augmenting it with new skills as we find that my son needs them.