2nd Grader with Autism Struggles to Finish Work

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Dear Sylvia,
My son is 7 years old in the second grade, and at school is takes too long to copy assignments and complete his work . How can I help him improve? He also randomly forgets to pack up all that he needs to bring home from school.

Hello there!
I have seen many many kids (with and without autism) go through this same phenomenon. First, I’ll ask this: Is he capable of copying them down with a little more time? Could he have some formal accommodations at school (through his IEP) to receive a list of assignments or already-copied out handouts? Could he be officially responsible for doing a few less problems, or shorter writing assignments? Can you negotiate with the teacher for him to complete assignments at home each night?

Many kids on the spectrum take longer to complete their work, and do not want to stop part way through. If they will need to stop partway, I suggest using a written explanation in advance, so they will be prepared. When you get to the homework part of the day, I suggest using a list or schedule of assignments so that your son will know when he will be finished. Feel free to schedule breaks in there if he has a lot to complete.

As for packing the correct things: Are the items he needs based on what day of the week it is? For example, does he always need his reading book on Mondays or is it random? Does he generally need the same basic items? I’ve seen good results from people making a laminated tag on the outside of a kid’s backpack with a picture of something they like, and a list of what to pack up. See this example.
packing visual

Let me know if this works!

Thanks for writing,
Sylvia

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