Curriculum plans for my 9 year old daughter (J) and 12 year old son (L); both of whom have autism.
Our primary goal for math this year is to cement the concrete meaning to the number symbols. L can do basic math in his head and more complex problems with manipulatives and visuals, but is unable to transfer that to working problems on paper. We are using a program I created which appears similar to Touchmath, where the number symbols themselves are the manipulative/visual. We will play lots of math games (Set, Quick Pix, Top Speech, Dino Dice, etc.) and use hands on materials like tangrams, unifix and geoboards. Living math books like the Sir Cumference series will also be used as well as Splash Math (iPad app) grade 2 for L and grade 3 for J.
History, Bible, Art, Literature:
We have always combined these subjects using Five In A Row as our core. This year we will be using Sonlight for the first time, beginning with Core C (the second half of world history) and supplementing with many resources I have used over the years with my older children. Since L and J are able to do very little work independently, I am excited to see if it is a good fit and how much time it will save me compared with developing my own curriculum. We also love to listen tonBible on the iPad (BibleIs). Art is incorporated through history (coloring, painting, building, notebooking) and both L and J attend art class twice per month at our homeschool co-op.
I have the Sonlight reading guides and language arts for second grade and accelerated (which seems to be about fourth grade) and will supplement with Primary language Lessons, GUM Drops, Write on/Wipe Off Grammar and Punctuation, Novenops and Story Cubes. My goal is that L and J will be able to produce some writing by the end of the year using a combination of techniques from IEW and Writing Skills for Special Students. Handwriting is HWT Character (basic print) for L and HWT Character (beginning cursive) for J. Read, Write and Type will be used 2-3 times per week for typing and spelling practice.
God’s World News
L and J both practice piano five days per week and have free play with Boomwhackers and other instruments at least once a week. They also have Music Therapy at the Autism center each week.
We study a composer each month, reading biographies and listening to Classical Kids and other CDs while coloring and often during OT.
Using Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day and the corresponding lapbook from Knowledge Box Central, we will study bats and flying dinosaurs in September, then insects in the spring. During the late fall and winter we will explore simple machines, Snap Circuits and do many experiments.
Speech & Social Skills:
We have a large assortment of games and iPad apps that focus on improving speech, social communication and social skills including idioms, making friends, how to respond appropriately and DVDs from Model Me Kids that use video modeling to demonstrate behavior. J also has in-clinic speech twice each week and they both attend weekly social skills groups at the Autism Center.
We use too many OT resources to list them all, but some of our favorites are pictured above. L and J both need sensory breaks throughout the day as well as fidgets or access to swings and trampolines while I am reading out loud. We have designated OT time at least once a day to work on fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, visual perception and increasing sensory tolerances. I also set up a large sensory bin with a new theme each week that correlates to something we are studying in history, science or literature.
L does in home physical therapy three days each week, J twice per week. They both participate in the 2-3 grade gym class at our homeschool co-op twice per month, go swimming at the local hotel at least twice per month, play Wii Fit and go bowling at least twice a month. L will also be participating in the Special Olympics (starting with bowling in September).
Additional Life Skills/Character:
L is working on Contenders for the Faith while J is working in Keepers at Home. We will do two books from the Write upon My heart curriculum; “Cheerfulness” and “Compassion”. We are working on basic skills with Taking Care of Myself and Life Skills for Kids with Autism. The short term focus for L is tying shoes, sweeping and putting away laundry. J is learning to dust, put away silverware and wash off the dining room table.
It is very difficult for me to determine which activities are “curricular” versus “extra-curricular.” I really count every activity somewhere. Things we do that might not be considered a “normal” part of school include: 4H, Special Olympics, Social Skills group, Speech Therapy, Play Therapy, Skills Training, Physical Therapy and Music Therapy.