Wednesday, August 17, 2011

When genuine interest isn't there

One of my favorite magazines is The Old Schoolhouse. The most recent magazine to arrive features an interview with Guy and Angie Penrod. You may 'know' Guy, as I do, via his music with the Gaither Vocal Band.

In the fantastic interview with TOS's Deb Wuehler, Angie Penrod makes a statement that makes me stop for a moment of a little pity party: "Because of the kids' genuine interest..." All eight of their children enjoy learning, have genuine interest, study, listen, read, write, etc, without complaining. All. eight. of. them.

What does a parent or teacher do when the "genuine interest" isn't there? What if interaction with mom or dad or a teacher is difficult due to developmental delays? That has to happen before genuine interest can happen. What if auditory processing challenges interfere with read-alouds and oral narration? What if fine motor skills interfere with the physical part of writing and composing? What if math and reading don't come easily? When all of those things are in place, we often see pure resistance replace any kind of interest.

I don't even know why I'm blogging about this, except to say that reading a statement like that can be discouraging to a parent in my shoes, that I still have to fight the urge to compare myself to a homeschooling mom like that one, to fight the urge to call her a success and me a failure.
I have to resist the urge to wish my kid were more like hers and focus on accepting mine as she is and moving forward from there. I still grieve the child before the regression into autism and I am painfully reminded that all it takes is a statement in a magazine to remind me of it, even a teeny little bit and I still compare myself to others in an apples to oranges way.


Autism Cakery said...

THANK you, thank you for posting these musings. I'm a homeschooling autism mom and need redirection away from comparisons all the time. I think "he can't write" "he can't understand read alouds" "he doesn't want to play with me" "I'm not challenging him enough" "I'm challenging him too much" I mean, why else would he keep abandoning our, in my head, highly desirable interactions to go lay on the floor and stim? Oh, right. Because he has Autism.
Its nice to hear a validating voice.

Cristi said...

I have to be in the right mood to read many homeschooling stories (or even look at the pictures in some catalogs). I'm not sure if I'd ever mutter the phrase "genuine interest" in regards to our homeschool days. I don't believe that success is found in easy days; success is when you refuse to give up in the midst of challenges.

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