Tips for Homework Success

Homework TipsGood homework skills are important for success in school – and beyond. They teach self-sufficiency, responsibility, and how to follow directions.

For many parents, getting kids to do their homework can be a challenge; and when a child has autism, parents can find additional challenges including attention deficits, tantrums or difficulties with organization.

Milestones Autism Resources offers the following tips for parents to help their student(s) develop good homework skills. For the complete toolkit, click here.

  • Environment – Let your son/daughter make the choice of where they prefer to work, as long as it is conducive to learning. A quiet area, free from distractions with appropriate supplies nearby is the best option. Letting a student use their bedroom where they are unsupervised may not be the best choice – many children need you around where they work as it will keep them from being distracted. However, a desk or table is not absolutely necessary; if they ask to lay on the floor, sit on a couch or even stand at a counter it can work well, as long as they will be able to focus on the task at hand.
  • Use of a timer – Adding a timer can help the process. You can use it to help visualize a window of time for working, or to dictate when to take a break. Depending on the amount of work and the student’s tolerance for sitting and focusing, you may find that your son/daughter needs to take multiple breaks during a homework session.
  • Be available for help – You may not need to sit with your child, but stay close so they don’t have to search for you if they need help.
  • Be a role model – While your son/daughter is doing homework, you can help your child see that the skills they’re practicing are related to things you do as an adult (such as writing a grocery list, paying bills, reading the newspaper).

Provide positive reinforcement – Choose two or three behavioral goals for your son/daughter and write them on a chart (i.e. if yelling is the worst part of homework time, you could include: “Speak in a calm voice” or “finish all homework with a positive attitude”.) At the end of each homework session, discuss progress and reward for a positive experience. There are many positive reinforcement reward ideas, from allowing extra computer time to a favorite family outing.

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