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Fourth grade research paper

Posted by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 8:24 PM
  • 8 Replies

My 9 year old aspie has trouble putting his thoughts into coherent sentences, much less paragraphs. He can memorize facts but getting him to regurgitate them in any kind of logical order is a pain. So when I found out he has to write a research paper about Red Foxes...well, let's just say I wasn't happy. 

We've been working on it for a week now (the rough draft is due friday) and looking at it you'd think he'd spent all of five minutes. Truth is, he isn't putting in much effort, but I know he's frustrated because this doesn't come easily for him. I don't want to write it for him, but at the same time I can't read what he has without cringing. 

I was thinking about typing up the sentences he has written and cutting each one out individually then working with him to rearrange them. He won't want to do it, but I have no idea how else he'll get a passing grade (and he will flip out if he doesn't get a passing grade). Any ideas? Any mamas out there with older aspies who have tackled this problem?

by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 8:24 PM
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by Platinum Member on Mar. 20, 2013 at 9:18 PM
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I know this must be hard on him. Your idea sounds good about cutting it up. Could you ask his teacher if maybe he could do it with visuals. Maybe with pictures it would be easier for him to write a out it. Sorry that is the only thing I could come up with

by on Mar. 20, 2013 at 9:20 PM
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What if he made it sort of in the form of a comic book? Like individual pages of facts with a picture where he can describe something he wants to explain about the foxes? You could take the series of pictures he draws (or cuts out or prints off the computer) and then try to place them in the form of a story once he's done. Surely he would get points for creativity, and he would probably have more fun doing it. That's how comic books are made, or how filmmakers put storylines together for movies, you could tell him something like that. 

Violet's Mom

Twitter @autismnotebook

by Carissa on Mar. 20, 2013 at 11:30 PM
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I would love to hear some ideas too. Ashton is in 2nd grade so won't be long until he is doing reports.

by Bronze Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Thanks, ladies, you have some great ideas! Unfortunately I think it is too late in the game to try those for this research paper, but I will definitely keep them in mind for the next one :)

by Darby on Mar. 21, 2013 at 5:44 PM
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Hugs Lynn!  Hope things turn out well!

by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 6:49 PM
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Here is one suggestion.  Have him give you the facts and you write them out.  My son is a 7th grader and for all research projects we go online and pick out the facts and then we gives them to me in sentence.  I write exactly what he tells me to write. This has worked well for us.  It gets him enaged by googling on the internet and he is much more excited about the project.  I have share with school how we do the assignment and as long as I am writing what he tells me they are OK with this.

by Jen on Mar. 21, 2013 at 8:37 PM
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My son has similar issues when it comes to writing. When he was in elementry school, I would type as he would dictate to me what he wanted to say.

I think I'd take all the facts he has so far and help him pick out several topics/ideas. Either underline them or highlight them. I'd encourage him to pick things he can group, like things foxes eat, where foxes live, etc. He could highlight all the facts that go with each topic different colors (everything about what they eat could be highlighted orange).

Then, you can sit at the computer and have him dictate each paragraph. The paper doesn't have to be written in order. Once you have the paragraphs written, you can rearrange them.

Also try to remember, fourth graders aren't the best writers anyway. Dh and I would cringe at what our kids were turning in but they'd get good grades. It's just hard (for us) to know what a typical fourth graders writing is really like.
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by Bronze Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Well we got it done...barely. He was more focused on slapping it together so he could get back to playing video games and I was more focused on trying not to edit what he was saying. I'm an aspiring writer so some of those sentences made my inner editor scream but I let them pass. I did as many suggested and had him dictate the paper to me. At first he tried just arranging the facts that I had cut out and then taking off to play games while I typed it up. I called him back and explained that some of the facts were sentence fragments and I needed him to tell me what he wanted to say. Once we got a few paragraphs in he was getting into it a bit more, telling me to start new paragraphs, rearranging things I'd already typed, etc.  I think it probably turned out really well for a fourth grade paper. He'll never be much of a writer, but that's okay. I just want him to put in his best effort :)

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