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Carolyn's side of the story See also: MathInTheBlood (Part 1) I should explain that for my son, school has never been an ordinary undertaking. As a young child, he was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (Pervasive Development Disorder, which is a diagnosis that means 'looks like some kind of autism to me'). His preschool years were a nightmare of trying to treat his developmental problems with Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy, while simultaneously searching for a medical treatment that would help him. The tough thing about having a kid with this disorder is that you have to work on him hardest in the earliest years, when you're most clueless about his prognosis: it's utterly crazy-making, and I was pretty crazy. In his elementary school years, my son has made great progress; but he still has an attention deficit, severe organizational difficulties, and problems with deep reading comprehension and social cognition. So the fact that he was flying independently with Saxon math, and hit a mountainside when we encountered Everyday Math in fourth grade, was a Big Deal. Besides, he's a smart kid with an autism spectrum disorder. Math is his greatest strength, and a career in math, science, computers or engineering is his most likely future. In those fields, his colleagues will know how to deal with him (given the sheer numbers in which kids are getting autism-like disorders these days, they'll probably be just like him). At the end of fourth grade, during a conference with his teachers, I floated the possibility of his doing fifth grade math on his own, with me as his tutor, using Saxon math. It's legal in this state to homeschool in one subject like that, but we all had big reservations about it. We've worked so hard to enable Ben to function in a regular classroom with the other kids that the thought of separating him from the other kids at that point, just because we didn't like the math curriculum, seemed unbearable. So I sighed, gave up, and we entered fifth grade with Ben still signed up for Everyday Math. Somewhere early in fifth grade, Catherine and I struck up an Internet Friendship (we have never actually met in the flesh!). Among her other interests, Catherine is a noted non-fiction author who specializes in autism research and treatment... we encountered each other in the way that people do online, and I figured out who she was. Catherine is a true Math Revolutionary. While I, with all my math degrees and our successful experiences with Saxon Math, was still dithering about whether or not to pull my son out of school and teach him myself, Catherine was actually doing her ten-year-old son's fuzzy math homework for him every night, so she could get that over with quickly, and move on to teaching him mathematics from what she regarded as a better curriculum. Completely independently, she had chosen Saxon Math for him. Catherine and I, in spite of our different paths in life, have a heck of a lot in common. more to come... Back to main page.
Users must register to comment.Well, since I'm beta testing, let's see how and where comments show up. -- SheygetsGoyishekop - 23 May 2005 Hi Carolyn. I did register, but I can't tell if it knows who I am. Let's see . . . -- EmmaAnne - 23 May 2005 It did! Yay! If it is an easy change, it would be really nice to know if there were any comments to read before going to look. They all say "Comments . . ." whether there are any comments or not. -- EmmaAnne - 23 May 2005 Hmm... I was checking into giving comment counts on the front page, and it turns out that that's pretty tricky. But maybe just saying whether there are any comments is a bit easier... thanks for checking in! -- CarolynJohnston - 23 May 2005