Saturday, October 12, 2013

With autism or without?

Ancient China was on the agenda for homeschool in October. I'm reading Karen Armstrong's The Great Transformation, and wishing I knew more about the Axial Age. Plus the boys and I have been listening to a Chinese explorer's account of ancient India along the silk road and the kids both love history. So ancient China seemed a good tie-in for all of us. The thing I love about learning at home is that each of us gets something out of it. The other thing I love is the ability to totally scrap our plans if something urges us in another direction.

Apparently, The Reason I Jump, by Naoki Higashida has given us our direction for at least a little while, it has nothing to do with Ancient China, and I'm learning a little bit about my boys along the way.

Each day after lunch I offer Oliver some choices about what we will do. Right now his options include:

Math  -- He is working on Algebra and geometry via the Khan Academy
History -- Sami and Oliver do History together. They are listening to a book on the Silk Road and watching this wonderful documentary on WWI.
Science  -- He is listening to A Briefer History of Time and watching the Stephen Hawking series on Discovery, because, as you know: Stephen Hawking also cannot speak and is very, very smart so he is a hero to Sami and Oliver. Plus, there are worm holes!!!
Writing -- Which is any excuse to practice typing

Lately, however, it is all about the writing. Both boys are completely engrossed in making their video project, undoubtedly spurred on by Higashida's wonderful book.

Unfortunately, the technical part is aggravating and I am totally falling down on the job! Which is why you won't see their first efforts posted here.  The old video camera cannot download to the new laptop and the old laptop is dead so the first part of what they recorded cannot be used. We've switched to the flipcam which is simple enough that Sami can operate on his own. Since nothing else can be done with the first video, I have their permission to transcribe it and record it here. Sami's portions are spoken and Oliver's typed. Initially the boys discussed and agreed on how to begin. Oliver rejected Sami's first question: "Do you experience autism the same or different as other autistic people?" as being too difficult.


Sami: So, Oliver, do you think it would be better to have a brother with autism or without?

Oliver: I think that if I would have a brother with autism I would understand him. I would tell him to keep trying to do the things that are hard. I would remember that it is important to have people who believe in us even when things seem impossible. I would be just like my brother Sami.

Oliver: I have a question for Sami. Do you think it would be better to have a brother without autism?

Sami: Sometimes I think it would be easier. But I like you just the way you are.

Oliver: Do you ever feel embarrassed by me?

Sami: Well, sometimes it does come up.

Oliver: Like when?

Sami: You know, sometimes you make noises and people look at us. I get embarrassed because they probably think you are weird and don't know that there is a lot more to you than that. It makes me mad and I don't want them to look at you like that.

Oliver: I think maybe I am just as embarrassed as you are. I wish I did not make those noises but I can't help it.