Friday, 9 January 2015

Teaching an Oppositional child with Aspergers

 Its that time of year when everyone is blogging about new year resolutions, their plans for this term and their home school routine. It's the time of year when I have to remind myself that home educating an oppositional child is nothing like  home educating a compliant, sociable, neuro typical child. Take my daughter for instance, she has gone off to Hawkhirst scout winter camp near Kielder this weekend. She is never at home, if it's not a scout expedition , it's doing volunteer work at our local brownie troupe for Duke of Edinburgh, or drama with Sunday Troupe. I have no need to motivate her, in fact I have to reign her in on occasion so that she doesn't wear herself out.
That sort of home education requires little effort or preparation, you simply facilitate learning by acting as a taxi driver, juggling diary dates and paying the odd camp fee. I could posr fantastic photos of all the wonderful activities she takes part in and write pages and pages about what she has learned.
Google on the other hand hates socialising, rarely goes out and fights any effort to teach him anything.You are met with a glare, ignored completely or ordered to "get lost" (and that's the polite version) if you try to suggest he learns anything.
I learned very early on that  normal teaching methods just didn't work.In fact they resulted in aggression, procrastination and deliberate avoidance tactics to get out of doing anything.I used to worry about it.How would I explain my teaching methods to the Local authority, what proof could I provide or education if he wouldn't write, or draw or do crafts?It took me a long time for the penny to drop.If the education system couldn't succeed when they tried to 'force' my son to comply then why should I be any more successful.I was flogging a dead horse and needed to change my teaching style.
I'd learned enough by then to know that if my son was interested in something he would focus intently and could spend hours, days and even weeks teaching himself about a subject.He would read books, watch tutorials on You Tube, go to museums, watch documentaries, in fact totally submerse himself in a subject until it came to a natural conclusion.I began to realise that he was learning far more than he would have learned at school and had a much greater in depth knowledge of his 'specialist' subjects than his Peer group, in fact than many people a great deal older than him. The key was to observe him and discover his interests. After that, education was the easiest thing in the world.It didn't matter what Google learned or when he learned it, there was no race or 'end date'.Neither was there a magical date when he had to start his GCse courses or university degree (that's if he ever decides to do either of those things) The important thing is that he is intelligent enough to do them if he chooses (and it will be his choice).My job meanwhile is to offer opportunities, purchase resources and 'listen' to my child to make him the best possible student he can be!


  1. oh my did i need to read this today - thank you so much

  2. Sometimes I think we wonder where we are going wrong kizzy22 when in fact we haven't gone wrong at all! We have just taken a different, more challenging path!