Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NOW I Know Why It's Called Language ARTS

My aspie's sixth grade Language Arts class could be the considered the seventh circle of Hell for me. It isn't the teacher - she's a wonderful, caring, understanding woman who definitely knows her stuff. It's the writing projects that lead me to dreaming about jamming a pencil in my own eye rather than work on them with C.

My son is incredibly imaginative, creative and intelligent. He reads at an 11-12th grade level and has a vocabulary that resulted in his 5th grade teacher making the rule "You can answer out loud IF you promise to use words other 5th graders know." He has the capacity to become an extraordinary inventor, scientist or engineer. He will NEVER be a writer.

I suppose a part of the pain I experience during these writing projects stems from the fact that I am and always have been one who loves to write. I can express myself best in written word; it is a release for me to put my fingers to the keyboard - or pen to paper - and 'say' what I'm thinking and feeling.

C is my polar opposite when it comes to expressing himself and his knowledge via the written word. He'd rather I pull out his fingernails than be verbose in his writing. This is the child who answered an essay question in elementary school with "See page 67". His reasoning was that obviously the teacher would know he read the material because he told her exactly where to find the answer and writing something already written in a book is just a waste of time. Sigh....can you hear the thumping of my head against the nearest wall?

C is absolutely unwavering in his belief that writing should use the fewest words possible, when he's the writer. That brain of his simply cannot comprehend why a teacher would want him to use a lot of descriptive words to tell her about something she already knows. Add that to the fact that handwriting is a huge chore for him and his very literal, black and white thinking and you've got a literary disaster in 50 words or less.

I feel for his Language Arts teacher. I can truly understand how frustrating, disappointing and maddening it is to try and coerce him into writing anything with some substance. His teacher this year has extended deadlines for him and even allowed him to bring an essay exam home to complete. She isn't at fault in any way - it's the damn autism spectrum disorder that's to blame (and if we're being totally honest, I do blame him some, too. Lord, that child is STUBBORN!)

The current project he's already late in turning in involves writing a reflection consisting of a minimum of 5 paragraphs, 5 sentences minimum in each paragraph, and creating an audio collage of "several" songs that he thinks convey the message in the book and writing about how each of the songs relate to the story. All I can say is UGH, UGH, UGH!!! Tonight he quibbled with me about the meaning of several - he insisted it means only 3. He then managed to choose ONE song and write ONE sentence about how it applies to the book. That was an hour of work - he may have this done by the time he finishes 7th grade at this rate. And it's a safe bet that I'll be bald by the time he finishes....


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