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Assistive Technology for Aspergers Children INST 5130 – Dr. Odin Jurkowski November 17, 2008 Brandy Beardsley, Samuel Carel, Juanita Mummert & Janet Smith.

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Presentation on theme: "Assistive Technology for Aspergers Children INST 5130 – Dr. Odin Jurkowski November 17, 2008 Brandy Beardsley, Samuel Carel, Juanita Mummert & Janet Smith."— Presentation transcript:

1 Assistive Technology for Aspergers Children INST 5130 – Dr. Odin Jurkowski November 17, 2008 Brandy Beardsley, Samuel Carel, Juanita Mummert & Janet Smith

2 Introduction: A Personal Experience Billy born 7/3/98 A normal baby with the only problem being acid reflux Though by the time Billy was three, he quit talking and took many steps back in developmental areas.

3 Introduction: A Personal Experience Due to many wrong diagnoses, Billy was on a variety of medications that made him look anorexic or like a druggie by July 2004. Some of these diagnoses included: –ADHD –ADD –Bi Polar –Schizophrenia Medications included (certainly not exhaustive) these stimulants: –Ritalin –Concerta –Adderall XR Behavior included: –Inability to sit still –Inability to make friends –Immature socially –Talking to imaginary friends Q. Why didnt the medicine help and why did Billy turn psychotic by Christmas of 2004?

4 Introduction: A Personal Experience A. WRONG DIAGNOSES! –Stimulants brought about real psychosis –Aspergers was being ruled out although that was the most likely. –It took Billy trying to kill, yes kill, his 5 month old sister, in a psychotic state, to finally look at the REAL picture. –And, failing grades were becoming typical as the lighter side of the issue. December 22, 2004 –Antipsychotic medication Risperdal was finally started Copyright Sears, 2006

5 Introduction: A Personal Experience Summer/Fall 2004 –Loving Billy was back. –But, whats going on in school? Nothing is wrong with that boy! Hes just lazy. Still ruling out Aspergers … Three and a half years later –After many failing grades and lowered self esteem from school –After gaining horrid weight on the Risperdal and being tried on other medications –After a mother fought day after day, tear after tear –After a 4 th grade teacher sent Billy back over the edge completely to psychosis last winter once hed already shown signs of decomposing –AND, ONLY AFTER another psychological evaluation confirming Aspergers –Billy was given an IEP in April 2008. Q. What in the world took so long for this boy to get help in school to be able to use his average IQ to the best of his ability?

6 Introduction: A Personal Experience A. Billys Mom learned Billy should have had an IEP in 1 st grade but the school board wouldnt allow it. Still, today, November 10, 2008, Billys IEP is a complete joke as its almost identical to the worthless 504 Plan hed had since the 1 st grade. Our presentation will demonstrate what technological options schools and parents may have to help their children succeed not only in the present, but most importantly, for the rest of their lives.

7 What is Aspergers Syndrome? Plain book definition – Diagnostic Criteria For 299.80 Asperger's Disorder –A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following: marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as: eye- to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people) lack of social or emotional reciprocity –B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following: encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects Continued …

8 What is Aspergers Syndrome? –C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning –D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g., single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years) –E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood –F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia (Kirby, 2005)

9 What is Aspergers Syndrome? A more personal definition provided by the Mayo Clinic (2006): –Developmental disorder causing communication and socializing issues –Part of the Autism Spectrum Disorders or Pervasive Developmental Disorders –Higher functioning part of the spectrum 2 out of 10,000 children have Aspergers with boys being 3-4 times more likely to have it –A child is diagnosed with Autism every 20 minutes NO cure, only treatment! Possibly connected to genetics and abnormal structures in the brain –Some suggest mercury containing vaccinations may also be the cause.

10 What is Aspergers Syndrome? Symptoms provided by Mayo Clinic (2006): –Engaging in one-sided, long-winded conversations, without noticing if the listener is listening or trying to change the subject –Displaying unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures –Showing an intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects, such as baseball statistics, train schedules, weather or snakes –Appearing not to understand, empathize with, or be sensitive to others' feelings –Having a hard time "reading" other people or understanding humor –Speaking in a voice that is monotonous, rigid or unusually fast –Moving clumsily, with poor coordination –Having an odd posture or a rigid gait

11 What is Aspergers Syndrome? Other symptoms from personal experience: –Problems perceiving a situation –Traits close to those of psychosis –Low self esteem and/or depression –Issues processing information quickly Low grades in school Extra time learning –Needs Structure, Structure, Structure!

12 What is Aspergers Syndrome? The Basics –N–No formal test for diagnosing Various tests to assess speech, language and visual motor problems IQ and academic testing Emotional, psychological and behavioral testing –A–Aspergers is often misdiagnosed because its symptoms are much like other mental illnesses. –Even worse, some children with undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome are labeled as willful or malicious troublemakers. - Mayo Clinic Staff (2006)

13 What is Aspergers Syndrome? How to help and teach Aspergers children by Mayo Clinic Staff (2006): –Social skills and communication training Much like a foreign language to teach but can be done –Cognitive behavior therapy Recognizing a tough situation –Interpretation –Obsessions –Meltdowns and/or angry outbursts –No exact medication for Aspergers – Can only treat the symptoms Hyperactivity Depression Psychosis –Schools, as well as parents, must be aware of assistive technologies that have been shown to work in effectively teaching children with Aspergers

14 Assistive Technologies What are these? –Rempel (2007): products, devices or equipment, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that are used to maintain, increase or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Aspergers normally requires visual, not auditory learning, as offered by Assistive Technologies.

15 Assistive Technologies and Aspergers Assistive Technologies offer two features for Aspergers: –O–Organization –S–Socializing

16 Assistive Technologies and Aspergers Organizational –Aspergers strong inclination to work within a literal framework –Softwares to utilize Calendars Task minders Priorization programs –Customized to personal needs –Used on personal technology units to allow for individual pace and timeframe with a minimum of human interference present to complicate the process –Handwriting Slow speed, poor letter formation and need to write down exactly what they want to say causes frustration Technology allows Aspergers students to do less handwriting and turn in better quality work, without constant erasing. This adaptation removes many barriers for the successful completion of written and communication based tasks.

17 Social –D–Difficulty unscrambling complex social cues from body language, vocal tones, facial expressions, personal space, and slang language or gestures –V–Visual Assistive technologies aid Asperger's children in understanding and integrating communication skills. –A–Auditory delivery of information takes longer for the child to process. Allows Aspergers children to relate through a buffer zone without a lot of face to face Older technologies also help –H–Headphones, with relaxing music or nature sounds, to muffle extraneous auditory stimuli –B–Basic word processing equipment and programming helps avoid extra visual stimuli which can cause distraction Assistive Technologies and Aspergers

18 Emotion Recognition (Lacava, Baron-Cohen & Myles, 2007) in Aspergers children: –MindReading: The Interactive Guide to Emotions software for 10 weeks, testing included: Cambridge Mindreading Face-Voice Battery for Children –Six basic emotions such as happy, sad and surprised –Nine complex emotions like loving, embarrassed and jealous Child Feature-Based Auditory Task –Speech segments that Aspergers children identified how the speaker felt Reading the Minds in Film Test-Childrens Version –Aspergers children decide how a target character feels in a short social scene from a childrens movie Mind Reading software used in the intervention –Many lessons including emotions library, learning center and game zones RESULTS: Aspergers children IMPROVED on face and voice emotion recognition for basic and complex emotions that were in the software, as well as for complex voice emotion recognition for emotions not included in MindReading. Emotion Recognition and Aspergers

19 Palm Handhelds and Aspergers Special Education teacher Lynn Parsons (Butler, 2006) –Palm Handheld to motivate Aspergers children through an after school social skills class Colored screens for essays, pictures, stories, notes, videos and voice recordings Allows Aspergers students to learn social skills with the others with Aspergers on new features found Allows Aspergers students to feel more in control with features such as the calendar and journaling their frustrations Draws Aspergers students into more social conversations as they want to learn more features from each other Parsons uses as a social tool and has seen results!

20 Stokes (n.d.): –The Mayer-Johnson software program, Boardmaker, offers a 3,000 Picture Communication Symbol (PCS) library in either black/white or color, and can be accompanied by any written word/message. This program is extremely user friendly for adults and children. Symbols can be made in any size, and tend to be universally understood. They present a relatively clear, 'uncluttered' representation and remove any ambiguity, which can sometimes arise when using photographs, especially personally-made photographs, as in the following example. Examples of Assistive Technologies and Aspergers Continued …

21 A teacher took photographs of the various teachers that a child with autism encountered at school, in order to help him learn the names of his teachers. When reviewing the names of the teachers in the photographs, the child referred to the photograph of a particular teacher as "Mexico". Upon further review of this photo, the teacher realized that in the background, barely visible, was the corner of a map of Mexico. Although the teacher's face was the prominent feature in the photo, the child processed the minimally visible map as the most prominent feature and thus labeled the photograph according to this feature. Examples of Assistive Technologies and Aspergers Continued …

22 If a child prefers the color red, and the Picture Communication Symbol (PCS) for "lunch" has a red apple as well as a brown sandwich and orange juice, the child may only process the apple, as it contains his preferred color. The child may not even process the image, but attend only to the color red. Therefore, the PCS becomes non-meaningful to the child. Examples of Assistive Technologies and Aspergers Continued …

23 Examples of Assistive Technologies and Aspergers To teach a child, who is using photographs or objects as his visual representation system, to understand black/white line drawings, place a small black/white picture communication symbol in the corner of the various objects/photographs currently used by the child. Gradually increase the size of the picture communication symbol until it eventually covers up the entire photograph/object.

24 The Future for Aspergers Children Blacher & Howell (2008): Without proper social skills, Aspergers children may grow into depressed adults with low employment rates. Children have an 8 week training session they can utilize, which has shown an increase in proper social behavior and decrease in anti-social behavior. Looking to develop pro social skills classes for adults

25 The Future for Aspergers Children It has been found though … (Mayor, 2008) –Individuals with Asperger Syndrome may make the best Technology designers, programmers, and workers. These individuals thrive on directed analytical processes that are involved in the creation and use of technology. And, their focus isnt broken by the need for involved human interaction.

26 REFERENCESREFERENCES Baker, Linda J. (2004). Asperger's Syndrome: intervening in school, clinics and communities. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Betts, Stacey W. & Dion E. (2007). Asperger Syndrome in the inclusive classroom: advice and strategies for teachers. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Blacher, J., & Howell, E. (2008, October). Becoming social: Interventions with youth who have high-functioning Autism and Asperger Syndrome. Exceptional Parent, 38(10), 56-57. Butler K. (2006, June). Palm handhelds touch students with autism. District Administration, 42, 19-21. Continued …

27 REFERENCESREFERENCES Kirby, B. L. (2005). What is asperger syndrome?. Retrieved November 9, 2008 from University of Delaware, O.A.S.I.S. Web site: Lacava, P., Golan, O., Baron-Cohen, S., & Myles, B. (2007, May). Using assistive technology to teach emotion recognition to students with Asperger Syndrome: A pilot study. Remedial & Special Education, 28(3), 174-181. Mayo Clinic Staff (2006, November 17). Asperger's Syndrome. Retrieved November 11, 2008 from, Web site: Mayor,Tracy (2008, May 5). IT'S Open Secret. Computerworld, vol 42 Issue 19, 22-27. Continued …

28 Myles, Brenda S. (2005). Children and youth with Asperger Syndrome: strategies for success in inclusive settings. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Prior, Margot (2003). Learning and behavior problems in Asperger Syndrome. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Rempel, Stacy (July, 2007). Assistive Technology and Autism. Educational Technology Program, Northern Arizona University. Stewart, Kathryn (2002). Helping a child with nonverbal learning disorder or Asperger's Syndrome. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger. Stokes, Susan. Assistive Technology For Children With Autism. Wisconsin Department of Instruction. REFERENCESREFERENCES

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