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Educating the Student with Asperger’s Syndrome

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1 Educating the Student with Asperger’s Syndrome
Chiko Noguchi

2 What is Asperger Syndrome?
A developmental disorder that affects a child's ability to socialize and communicate effectively with others. Children with Asperger's syndrome typically exhibit social awkwardness and an all-absorbing interest in specific topics. Doctors group Asperger syndrome with four other conditions that are called autistic spectrum disorders or pervasive developmental disorders. These disorders all involve problems with social skills and communication. Asperger syndrome is generally thought to be at the milder end of this spectrum.

3 Asperger Syndrome differs from Autistic Disorder in that early cognitive and language skills are not delayed significantly. Individuals with Asperger Syndrome are motivated to be social, but do not know how. Social interactions are often one sided, verbose, and insensitive.

4 Signs and symptoms 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

5 Signs and symptoms 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

6 Medical professionals do not know of the cause or cure for Asperger Syndrome
There is no specific treatment or intervention to consistently alleviate or reduce symptoms of this disorder Asperger Syndrome occurs much more frequently in males

7 In the classroom, a child with Asperger Syndrome may show:
Strengths in areas of verbal ability Weaknesses in nonverbal areas such as visual motor and visual spatial Mild motor clumsiness and awkwardness Overactivity and inattention Well developed language skills but problems with turn taking in conversations. Often have pedantic speech, using awkward phrases and big words.

8 Teachers often mistake students with AS as being unmotivated, disobedient, and uncooperative, due to their typical appearance, peak skills, and intelligence A student with excellent reading skills may have difficulty with comprehension, and a student with excellent ideas may neglect writing assignments due to poor fine motor skills A student who can compute complex equations may not be able to make change at the grocery store

9 Students with AS may experience difficulties dealing with:
Changes in routines and surprises Dealing with sensory overload Transitioning from activity to activity, subject to subject, classroom to classroom Unstructured periods Organization settling down after becoming upset/excited

10 Students with AS may exhibit behaviors such as:
Inefficiency to inhibit behavior Intense reaction to change Preoccupation with specific objects or topics Repetitive behaviors Emotional outbursts Behaviors that injure the self or others

11 As educators, we must remember that behavior problems of children with AS may be due to misunderstanding situations, instructions and/or overstimulation. Behaviors can often be corrected by modeling appropriate behavior and guidance.

12 Interventions in the classroom
Use classroom situations to teach about emotions, feelings, and appropriate behavior Encourage structured play to boost social skills-board games, cards Use behavioral intervention, social skills groups, relaxation techniques

13 In order for a student with AS to succeed in school, he/she may have modifications in their IEP’s such as: Increased time on tests due to organizational, writing, and attention problems Reduced written assignments or permission to use alternatives to writing such as tape recorders, and word processors Modified testing arrangements

14 What Can We Do As Teachers?
Develop a visual schedule that the student can refer to on their desk, binder, or lockers. Alert students and parents of any changes in the schedule that may come up such as fire drills, field trips, assemblies. Familiarize students around the classroom and the school at the beginning of the year. Make sure the student feels comfortable going through the cafeteria, bathroom, etc independently so that he/she does not have to feel frustrated or anxious throughout the day.

15 What Can We Do As Teachers?
Establish clear, classroom rules Model appropriate behavior and conversation skills. Provide a safe place for a student to calm down if the student feels anxious. Use special interests of the student with AS to link teaching new ideas or other skills Use social stories when appropriate

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