Most likely you have a kinesthetic learner. It seems to be the nature of the autism beast. Highly visual , short, hands on lessons will be best. Most learning will take place during activities not on worksheets. There are times when you need the child to sit and do something so it behooves you to take their sensory needs in to account first. Once their sensory needs are met, their brain can focus on the task at hand. Think of it as their brains are firing all the neurons at once so it’s hard for them to focus on any one thing. By meeting their sensory needs, you stop the brain from firing all at once making learning easier.
10 Ways To Get Your Child With Autism To Sit Still For Homeschool
- Send him outside to jump on the trampoline , swing or run for a few minutes
- Dance around the living room for a few minutes
- Let him sit on a giant exercise ball to bounce on instead of a chair.
- Give him something to fidget with while you talk. Just because the child is not looking at you doesn’t mean he isn’t listening.
- Have him chew a piece of gum while working
- Brush him and/or do joint compressions
- Have him wear a weighted vest or sit with a weighted pillow in his lap
- Play some soothing music
- Diffuse a favorite blend of oils. Use the same blend every time to train the brain that when it smells those oils it’s time to sit down.
- Let him crunch on something hard like carrots or pretzels
- Make the lessons short, short , short
I might mention that when we first started homeschooling Logan, we did not require him to sit for more than a few minutes at a time. When I saw his frustration levels rise, we were done regardless of whether the lesson was finished or not. We would come back to the lesson later when we were able. We took the same approach for Madison. Part of this was to build the master/apprentice relationship upon which trust was essential. I needed him to trust that I would push him just past his zone of proximal development but not so far that he would be unsuccesful.
Eye contact is hard for our kids with autism. I let Logan look at a book or color or stim with his pen if necessary. Madison colors at the coffee table , does her handicraft or dresses her babies while I do the lesson. As long as they can successfully do what I ask of them after the directions were told one time, then I don’t care what they do while listening to me. I don’t repeat the directions. Part of this method is to train them to listen efficiently the first time. Since Logan has auditory processing delays, I simply slow the directions way down in addition to giving him ample time to answer. I never repeat them.
That’s the beauty of homeschooling. You can take as many sensory breaks as you need. Eventually both kids became able to sit for longer periods of time so the sensory breaks lessened. Part of it for Logan was his needs decreased as they were consistently met so the brain made new connections. Part of it for both of them was that they trusted me to stop and give a break when needed. They were willing to try and stick it out to the end. Don’t underestimate this trust factor. Once established it will take you a long way in your homeschool journey with your child.