Asperger Syndrome can make school hard. Children with Asperger’s struggle with social interactions, fine motor skills, and transitions. They see the world differently than we do. Teaching a topic like writing – whether fiction or non-fiction – can be hard for them. I have a seventh grader with Asperger’s that I homeschool – and so I get it. Today, I am going to share three tips I use when teaching my son about the writing process.
3 Tips for Teaching Writing to a Child with Asperger Syndrome
Let them dictate or type:
While children with Asperger’s don’t often show any physical differences from other children, they do have some differences in their brain. One key that a lot of Asperger’s kids is that most of that struggle with fine motor muscles. These are the small motor muscles in your hand that develops gradually from birth to about 8 years old. These muscles are the ones we use for handwriting. When a child struggles to write (in terms of handwriting) – teaching them the writing process is even harder. They don’t enjoy writing anything. Spelling words, sentences, paragraphs – it is all hard for them. Add that to the hard part of connecting either wording the facts or creatives in a writing project- and you have a meltdown waiting to happen! One way that I take the hard part out is to not actually have my student handwrite the process. For younger children, have them dictate or give you the answers or ideas. This way- their brain can focus on the important part of writing – and not get frustrated on the semantics of how to form the letters.
A Great Writing Curriculum:
I have found that I can’t just “wing it” with my Asperger’s kid. I can’t just give him a writing prompt and tell him to go at it. I can’t just give him a topic and expect him to write a paper. He needs guidelines. He needs a format. He needs structure. A structure is key for Asperger’s kids! So, I have found Write Shop to be a great writing curriculum for him. It gives us the flexibility to write just 2 or three days a week, allows you the freedom to choose the skill level you need, and there is enough parent involvement in it that they don’t feel like they are doing it alone. I provided a full curriculum review recently. This curriculum also works great for children with other special needs as well.
Grace is so important. In all areas of our homeschooling- but especially in the writing process – and especially with children with Asperger’s Syndrome. Some days are just hard. Some days, you need grace too. Give yourself – and your child- the grace to make mistakes, to have hard days, to not enjoy every part of the process. It is okay. Just try gain tomorrow- because God’s grace is new each morning!
Having a child with Asperger’s is one of the most rewarding calls of my life. I love that he sees the world different than I do. Yet, there are days that there are real struggles, and real tears – and wondering, if you are doing this thing, called parenting and homeschooling right. Just remember, God doesn’t always call the equipped- he equips the called. You, through God’s grace, can do this Mama!
Worshiping With My Life,