Asperger’s Syndrome & Educating A Child

Through December 2016, I will be writing several comprehensive posts about my experiences with Asperger’s Syndrome that will be shared with my college course blog. Access to this blog is only available to my Washburn University students and professor.

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Whether you are a teacher just out of college, and beginning your teaching tenure, or you are parents looking to home school your child who may be showing signs or has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  You may want to read carefully to some information I have looked up.

Children at any age from being a child to adolescent or to becoming a teenager often display a strong academic strength due to the effects of the disorder.  However, there cannot become a “cookie-cutter” template that you would teach a normal student.  There are far too many obstacles in relationship building and interaction for this to be a start.

Secondly, to capitalize on those strengths and avoid the weaknesses presents serious tests.  It can be very unseen by trained teachers or to parents, but children look and act much like their developing peers.  These children tend to perform well or better than their classmates do.  However, the danger is it can prove a dangerous mask as it hides the effects of having Asperger’s Syndrome.

According to my research, there is a six-step plan in understanding how to make things easier for you as the teacher, but also to the student.

  1. EDUCATE YOURSELF
    1. Operate on “ASD” Time: Twice as much time, half as much has done. Students with ASD require additional time to complete assignments as they work to make things done perfectly rather than a rushed unfinished task.
    2. Manage the Environment: Any small or subtle change to a classroom can increase anxiety for a student with ASD.
    3. Create a Balanced Agenda: By developing, a visual schedule for the student to view that includes daily activities. This makes an easier day for the student.  Monitor and restructure the plan as needed.
    4. Share the Agenda: Students with ASD would have difficulty distinguishing between information that is essential, and information that is not. Also, information that others [as normal students] have acquired as like common sense, the disabled student with ASD may need to have the information provided or repeated to them again.  Ask the student if he/she understands what is going on or about to occur?
    5. Simplify Language: Keep your language simple and concise. Speak at a slow and steady pace so as the student can take notes as needed.  Students with ASD tend to have difficulty reading between the lines understanding abstract concepts such as sarcasm and having difficulty interpreting facial expressions.
    6. Manage Change of Plans: One major problem with ASD students is they like a rhythm. They evolve their day around a set schedule as they make in their minds.  Make sure as the parent homeschooling or teaching if in an open school environment that you monitor their rhythm.  Verify that the student understands planned activities can be changed, canceled, or rescheduled.  Always have a backup plan and share them with the student in advance.  Be sure to inform them about upcoming scheduled fire drills, assemblies, guest speakers, testing plans.  Recurring breaks such as at an end and beginning of a school term or semester cause anxiety for a student.
    7. Provide Reassurance: Students with ASD cannot predict upcoming events. Always provide feedback and reassurance of them frequently.  Use frequent check-ins to monitor student progress and stress levels.
    8. Be Generous with Praise: Tell your student what he/she did right throughout the day. Compliment them on successes and honest attempts at  Be specific.
  2. REACH OUT TO PARENTS
    1. Teachers who are monitoring students’ with ASD should reach out to the parents as your first and best source of information. Parents can help informing you about the child’s activity and behavior at home.  It is also highly recommended that mutually agreed upon teaching methods are given.
  3. PREPARE THE CLASSROOM
    1. Having understood from monitoring the students’ and talking with the parents, you now have that information provided in organizing your classroom. By making it more comfortable for children, adolescents, and teenagers with ASD and making it workable for non-disabled students as well.  The Educator’s Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome is a great resource for information like this.
  4. EDUCATE COLLEAGUES & PROMOTE SOCIAL GOALS
    1. Students with ASD have social deficiency making it difficult for them to establish a friendship. They are more likely than their peers to be victims of teasing and bullying.  School faculty must be aware that students with ASD are potentially prime targets and must watch for signs. Many social interactions occur during unstructured times in settings outside the classroom, where students with Asperger’s Syndrome may end up being isolated.  You may want to create a “circle of friends,” or a rotating group of responsible peer buddies for the student with Asperger’s Syndrome.
  5. COLLABORATE ON EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
    1. Schools with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome require an Individualized Education Program [IEP] to make progress through school go better. It is recommended that school faculty, psychologists, all teachers, and parents meet once at the beginning of the school term and end to focus on the pros and cons and how to prepare the student for the academic term that is upcoming.
  6. MANAGE BEHAVIORAL CHALLENGES
    1. Tantrums or meltdowns (terms that are often used interchangeably) typically occur in three stages that can be of variable length. Students with Asperger’s Syndrome rarely indicate (verbally) that they are under stress. While they may not always know when they are near a stage of the crisis, most meltdowns do not occur without warning.

I hope the guide that I put together for you from extensive research helps you whether you are graduating from college going into teaching or you are already a teacher, and experiencing a student with ASD coming into your class for the first time.  Please share this by social media and e-mail for those that need to be understood on how those with ASD communicate, work, and need stability.