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Autism Spectrum and Homework Issues

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 7/12/2012

Kids with autism spectrum disorders frequently have difficulties at homework time. Many times, the autism spectrum and homework issues just don't mix well. Here's how to get through homework time problem free!

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    Homework Help is on the Way!

    A child with a disorder on the autism spectrum and homework issues seem to go hand in hand. After all, homework is not something most children enjoy, and many kids with autism/Aspergers disorder find it especially difficult to finish assignments at home. Getting homework accomplished with minimal problems is as simple as following the following tips.

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    Teacher-Parent Communication

    Parents and teachers must keep in constant contact in order for the student with autism spectrum disorder to excel in homework assignments. Whether the student is placed in a special education, regular education, or a combination of both, assignments should reflect the student's abilities. Parents should work with teachers to determine the optimal amount of homework to benefit the child without overwhelming him. This is why it's imperative that parents and teachers work together. Communication regarding how the child is doing at home with assignments is important so that teachers can make individually appropriate assignments.

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    Find the Right Time and Place

    Developing a habit at home for doing homework and sticking to it is important to getting assignments done on a daily basis. Children with autism spectrum disorders do better with a routine, so pick a time for doing homework each day, and be sure to schedule the evening around homework time. Don't choose a homework time when you may be interrupted by sporting events, appointments, or other engagements. Also, stay away from late night homework marathons when you and your child is too tired to stay on track. After dinner, when your child has had time to rest up from school, all outside activities are finished for the day, and it's still early enough that your child is not yet too tired to work, may be the best time for some kids. Every family and child is unique, so best homework times will vary.

    Choose a quiet, out of the way place for homework. The living room is not the place for homework. It may be worth it to convert a small room or corner of a quiet room into a work space. Make sure the space is free of noises and unnecessary disruptions. Speak with other family members and ask for quiet time during homework. Small efforts like these can go a long way to help children complete homework without stress.

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    Incorporate Interests and Give Rewards

    Children with Aspergers disorder are very likely to develop intense interests. Why not make use of some of your child's favorite things to help at homework time? For example, if your child has been asked to read 2 books each night, and he loves basketball, go to the library and help him check out books on basketball. He's more likely to look forward to reading time each night when he knows he'll be reading about his favorite thing. Incorporating student interest goes a long way in keeping a child's attention during homework time.

    In addition to using student interest, consider a reward system for your child. This can be an extension of a reward system used at school, or it can be unique to the home setting. Whatever you choose, make sure it's concrete, and that rewards are frequent. Maybe a sticker with a picture of a favorite interest or 30 minutes of computer time after homework is complete. Use the child's favorite things to determine appropriate rewards.

    Autism spectrum and homework issues don't have to be automatic. If parents and teachers work together, children with autism spectrum disorders can flourish, without tantrums and stress.

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    Resources

    1. http://www.nisd.net/knowlton/autismhelp.htm

    2. http://www.autismhelp.info/htm/education/middle/middle_index.htm

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