Originally Posted by Pookietooth
I just remembered that there was a panel discussion (I think they called it a circle chat) about unschooling kids on the spectrum at the Life is Good Unschooling Conference, I think it was in 2011 (we didn't go last year because it is too chaotic for my kids and my dh, all of whom fit somewhere on the spectrum). One of the moms (and they were all moms) was Lyla Wolfenstein. Aha, I found it in the yahoo group, it was called Moving Past the Diagnosis Miriam Mason, Sierra Ansley & Lyla Wolfenstein
Couldn't find this...do you have a link?
OP - I am unschooling two who are on the spectrum. PDD-NOS. They are very verbal, but struggle with social and problem solving skills. I personally cannot abide the passive viewing. If I allowed it, it would totally dominate our lives. Plus I have found thru years of trial and error that it triggers irritability and detachment from what is really going on around them. When we are screen-free for any length of time, its as if they are literally waking up, coming out of a fog. Temple Grandin commented at a speech I attended that with kids so visual, TV and video games are like drugs. She called it i-crack, LOL. With all I have read, heard, and seen with my own eyes, I have become pretty anti-screen for kids on the spectrum. I know its not a popular position in the adult-ASD community (like wrong planet), and I have had doctors flat out tell me to "get your kids addicted to some kind of screen. Its the only way you'll get any peace." Peace, yes, but at a price. A price I am no longer willing to pay.
Art has helped us tremendously, and my kids are turning to art more and more as a way to de-stress sans screens. Its also a great way for them to express emotions and ideas without words. We are also focusing on basic living skills. They are included in shopping, household chores, meal prep etc. So much learning goes on in just the basics. I like the PP who says she just lives her life and the kids come along and learn with her.
ASD kids do needs structure so sometimes we have to do unschooling with a twist. My kids choose there own educational pursuits, but we do follow a schedule for wake times, hygiene, chores, meals, etc. They would completely flounder without it.
I do have goals for my kids, but they are simple. With my 11 year old DS, who was tormented by school and all the expectations, my goal is to allow him to discover that life isn't torture, that there is joy to be found, and its ok to follow a different path. Success has many different forms! Had he remained in school with all that pressure, I have no doubt he would have ended up profoundly depressed as a teen. Once I totally took that pressure off, he blossomed. It took several months to happen, but it did.
Also just wanted to mention that having my son home has also helped me to better evaluate his health needs and he is responding well to a GFCF diet. Two years ago he couldn't tolerate it but he was in school and struggling with being different, not having the classmates b-day cake etc. Home full-time I was able to implement it and he is doing amazing and is much calmer, more talkative, and more curious, asking questions, etc. A year ago I would have poo-pooed someone telling me to try a diet, but right now I am a big fan.