First of all, I hate the idea of homework in general. There’s so much research out that that proves homework doesn’t improve test scores at all. I’m even less supportive of giving homework to kids with special needs.
There’s several sides to this coin but the biggest things are pretty solid arguments in my book.
Frankly, I can see this from both sides and here’s why.
I want my kids to reach whatever their potential is. I want them to be prepared for the real world, so they can function within to the best of their abilities. This requires that my kids be held to a reasonable standard.
Homework is something that they won’t be able to escape in high school or college and practicing now is a necessary evil.
That being said, I also feel very strongly that kids with Autism in particular, tend to give everything they have while in class. They are often pushed to their limits and will arrive home from school completely overstimulated.
The last thing in the world they need to do is bring more school home with them.
My kids barely make it out the school doors in the afternoon and into the car before they begin to fall apart. I can’t tell you how often I see meltdowns before we even arrive home and the school is only a few miles from our house.
As a parent, I feel like they need to be able to return home and decompress. Making them do homework when they’re already beyond their limits is just setting them up for failure and asking for a meltdown in the process.
I realize all kids are different and some kids on the Autism Spectrum can do just fine with homework. Unfortunately, there are many more who simply can’t bring school home with them.
With my kids, homework is hit or miss. They’re more than capable of doing the work however, there’s a great deal of anxiety that interferes with their ability to work on homework for any extended period of time, if at all.
In Elliott’s case, it’s not so much the homework but the time it takes to do it, that sets him off. Elliott has never done well with time limits, being timed or even anticipating that there’s an impending limit.
Giving him 15 minutes of homework a night can often end up taking hours and costing me what I can only assume are years off my life. All joking aside, this is a very distressing situation for him and it’s not just about not wanting to do it.
What I’ve figured out at this point is that I’m tossing out anything that even resembles a time limit or restriction. This immediately reduces his anxiety and puts him in a better place to take on homework.
The second part of this is that based on where he’s at that day, we will look through whatever homework he has left and come up with an amount that he needs to do. This outs him in control of the time required to complete it.
So far, he’s responding well to this and it’s stopped the bulk of craziness that surrounds homework each night.
I truly don’t believe that it’s widely understood just how much the school day takes out of our kids on the Autism Spectrum.