While families all over the world dread homework time it can be very useful for students with multiple disabilities. It is one of my pet peeves that more special education classrooms don’t take advantage of homework. Homework can be helpful in multiple ways….
- Help foster a predictable routine at home
- Encourage students to generalize their school based skills into the home
- Give parents a clearer picture of what their child can do
- Build opportunities for language
Why give Homework?
1. I have had many families share that before their child started bringing homework home he or she had too much “free time”. This can be particularly difficult for children with autism and tends to lead to excessive self-stimming behaviors.
2. Many students with multiple disabilities have a very difficult time generalizing their skills to different settings, people, new situations, etc. Doing review work at home allows them to practice this. The key is to only send mastered skills home as homework. Many of the parents I work with are surprised at what types of things their child is able to do. I get a lot of positive parent feedback. At the same time you can help guide and instruct parents on ways to modify or adapt an activity so that their child can be successful.
3. Homework can create opportunities to build language and work on conversational skills. For example, the homework sheet that I send home has questions about what the child ate for dinner and which book the student read or was read. The student or parent writes that information when it is happening, but then the child has to talk about it the next day at school with others who weren’t part of the activity. Talking about events or items that aren’t present can be very difficult for students with autism. That is where my homework sheet comes in…I have the answers! If a student is really struggling with answering the questions I can modify it and give him or her choices to choose from. This has been a big help in my classroom.