Teaching Students With Asperger Syndrome

Children with Asperger syndrome, a form of Autism, can be difficult to teach because most of these students don't know how to act in a social setting, nor do they understand human relationships. Like many syndromes and disorders, all AS children are unique and different, but because they can share the same symptoms of Asperger, they can be taught in many different ways around the same main goal.

Some children with AS hate change and so consistency is key. "Children with AS are easily overwhelmed by minimal change, are highly sensitive to environmental stressors, and sometimes engage in rituals. They are anxious and tend to worry obsessively when they do not know what to expect; stress, fatigue and sensory overload easily throw them off balance.

Teaching suggestions:

* Provide a predictable and safe environment;

* Minimize transitions;

* Offer consistent daily routine: The child with AS must understand each day's routine and know what to expect in order to be able to concentrate on the task at hand;

* Avoid surprises: Prepare the child thoroughly and in advance for special activities, altered schedules, or any other change in routine, regardless of how minimal." (udel.edu)

Kids with AS have problems with social interaction. They don't know how to hold or initiate conversations, they may not like to have physical contact and they usually don't understand jokes and talk AT people instead of TO them. So because of this and more, teachers should try to avoid the student being bullied or made fun of, teach them how to interact with others and how to act on social cues, give them a buddy (a buddy system) and encourage and almost force the child to be involved with other students.

These children also usually have a restricted range of interest, so force them to talk and ask questions about things that they don't already know about and care about.

AS children can be very distracted and have poor concentration, which is why redirecting and reinforcing the task at hand must be used. Timed exercises can often help students with AS focus because they need to finish this goal… it's like a race for them. There should be regimented structure and the assignments should be small and lots of teacher feedback should be present.

AS children are most likely clumsy and don't have normal body movement. They should therefore turn to physical activity, but it shouldn't be in a competitive sport. Teachers should help these students with normal physical activity to practice, such as walking or running.

Most AS students are smart and have a high intelligence but have poor thinking and comprehensive skills. Because of this, the teacher should make easier assignments when the assignment is dealing with abstract thinking. They should also quiz a student on what they know to see if they comprehend, even if they rattled back to you exactly what you just said. Help their learning be rewarding and not so hard that they get filled with anxiety.

And Lastly, these children are usually very vulnerable and have a low self-esteem. They are easily stressed and they can't accept and tolerate when they make mistakes. Therefore, the teachers should offer consistency whenever they can and should help the students cope when they are under stress so they don't have outbursts or breakdowns. TEachers should be calm and predictable so a student can feel comfortable around them and talk to them when they are dealing with stress in the classroom.

For more tips, go to:

http://www.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger/karen_williams_guidelines.html

Added by Kaley Walker