Autism-Related Articles, Books, Services

Friday, September 19, 2008

Homeschool Conference and the Child with Autism

Today, Tom and I took a trip to Boxboro MA, to a homeschool conference. It was an unusual type of event, run by the Family Resource Center - an organization that creates homeschooling programs with museums and other non-profits. There were all kinds of exhibitors, and all kinds of programs - and we had a great time last year. This year was more so-so, but that was partly because we had so little time (had to rush home for Sara's 4:00 bus).

Interestingly, to me, many of the exhibitors were very focused on selling us on "what boys like," on skill building, and so forth. I found myself, more than usual, aware that my child was NOT like most boys... that he ISn't a skilled engineer-in-training, or "loaded with energy," or any of the usual stereotypes. In fact, he spent a fair amount of time in the exhibit hall engaging with soft animal pelts... blech.

Not to complain, because he really did do a great job, and enjoyed the one program we did attend (weaving). But I did find myself continually looking at "cool" programs (US Constitution for Kids, Exchange City, Invention Camp, Challenger Space Programs) and saying to myself "too abstract... too group-oriented... too focused on fine motor... too this that or the other."

It feels strange, because honestly I've felt - at home - that Tom's doing a great job, developing all kinds of skills, and really progressing. Yet out there in the "real" world, where typical kids are more common than those with autism, it's still a pretty rocky road.

On the up side, I got lots of ideas - not only for homeschooling, but also for marketing my new unit studies materials!



Mrs. C said...

Hello! I found you on frog school's sidebar and thought I'd visit. I have two (maybe three, one's a mostly non-verbal kid) autistic children. I, too, wish I could do the coops and stuff like that.

I try not to focus on the things we miss out on, but it's very difficult.

Lisa Jo Rudy said...

Hi, Mrs. C! thanks so much for posting. It is a little lonely out here on the edge of things... but then again, nice to be able to see things through Tom's eyes. I guess it all depends on my mood LOL!