In another post I describe a former 7th grade student of mine who was classified as having asperger’s and tested at a 1st grade or kindergarten math and reading level. He was not doing his homework. His science teacher explained that he was prompting the student to copy the homework. The student’s guardian explained that she asks to see his homework but he didn’t have any. I set out to research why.
The first photo below shows what he copied for his science homework in his agenda. Immediately apparent is the problem with writing, spelling and simply making sense of the assignment. I took his agenda to the science classroom and found what he had copied (2nd photo below). It was not even the assignment but the key sections for a lab report.
My takeaway from this is as follows:
- A problem with homework completion can be the result of a variety of causes.
- The most common approach to supporting homework completion that I have seen in 17 years is to prompt the student to copy homework.
- General ed teachers can easily overlook the complexity of completing homework that a child with a disability can encounter.
- Even the act of completing homework is a skill with numerous steps that can be broken down by a task analysis (see my post about homework and reading).
- As Dr. Molteni, one of my professors overseeing autism studies at the University of Saint Joseph often stated, students with autism who find success usually have an individual who takes a personal and direct role in helping the student. That is certainly what this student needed.