HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

Search MyAspergersChild.com

Teaching the Visually-Oriented Aspergers Student

Despite difficulties with eye contact, most children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) are visual learners. Visual learners need to see the information. The whiteboard, texts for reading, or information on the computer all help these children succeed in the classroom.

It's important to distinguish that some visual learners prefer the written form of the language (e.g., a book that explains grammar or vocabulary). This preference is similar to an “analytical approach.” Other visual learners prefer diagrams or charts that illustrate grammar or vocabulary. This preference is similar to a “global approach.” Both types of visual learners may need to write down information in order to remember it. 

Although some teachers believe notes aid memory, visual learners see notes as a prerequisite to memory. In other words, if they don't write down the information and/or draw charts and diagrams, then they won't remember the information.

Information or ideas heard may not be retained as well as if the Aspergers child had been able to take notes. Visual learners should be allowed to write notes or draw charts and diagrams in the class, perhaps with the teacher providing a minute or two after an explanation or presentation to take down the information. Longer recall times to activate the language will prove necessary if visual imagery doesn't accompany explanations.

The 7 learning styles:
  1. Aural (auditory-musical): Student prefers using sound and music.
  2. Logical (mathematical): Student prefers using logic, reasoning and systems.
  3. Physical (kinesthetic): Student prefers using his/her body, hands and sense of touch.
  4. Social (interpersonal): Student prefers to learn in groups or with other people.
  5. Solitary (intrapersonal): Student prefers to work alone and use self-study.
  6. Verbal (linguistic): Student prefers using words, both in speech and writing. 
  7. Visual (spatial): Student prefers using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.

Research shows us that each learning style uses different parts of the brain. By involving more of the brain during learning, we remember more of what we learn. Researchers using brain-imaging technologies have been able to find out the key areas of the brain responsible for each learning style. For example: 
  1. Aural: The temporal lobes handle aural content. The right temporal lobe is especially important for music.
  2. Logical: The parietal lobes, especially the left side, drive our logical thinking.
  3. Physical: The cerebellum and the motor cortex (at the back of the frontal lobe) handle much of our physical movement.
  4. Social: The frontal and temporal lobes handle much of our social activities. The limbic system also influences both the social and solitary styles. The limbic system has a lot to do with emotions, moods and aggression.
  5. Solitary: The frontal and parietal lobes, and the limbic system, are also active with this style.
  6. Verbal: The temporal and frontal lobes.
  7. Visual: The occipital lobes at the back of the brain manage the visual sense. Both the occipital and parietal lobes manage spatial orientation.

Teachers should remember the following when working with Aspergers and HFA students:


1. Flashcards with pictures and/or words are an excellent tool for visual students. If flashcards aren't available, then the child can make his own. Alternatively, when encountering new words, the child can picture the object in his/her head.

2. Listening skills are a primary component of oral communication. Extra opportunities should be given to build listening ability, with many opportunities for visual learners to hear and process the information.

3. Visual students may struggle with pronunciation, intonation, tone, register, and other aural skills.

4. The child with Aspergers or HFA tends to have the following traits:

•    Arrives at correct solutions intuitively
•    Creates unique methods of organization
•    Develops own methods of problem solving
•    Develops quite asynchronously
•    Enjoys geometry and physics
•    Generates unusual solutions to problems
•    Has good long-term visual memory
•    Has visual strengths
•    Is a good synthesizer
•    Is a late bloomer
•    Is a whole-part learner
•    Is better at math reasoning than computation
•    Is creatively, mechanically, emotionally, or technologically gifted
•    Is turned off by drill and repetition
•    Is very sensitive to teachers’ attitudes
•    Learns best by seeing relationships
•    Learns complex concepts easily, but struggles with easy skills
•    Learns concepts all at once
•    Learns concepts permanently
•    Learns whole words easily
•    Masters other languages through immersion
•    May have very uneven grades
•    Must visualize words to spell them
•    Prefers keyboarding to writing
•    Reads maps well
•    Relates well to space
•    Sees the big picture, but may miss details
•    Thinks primarily in pictures

5. The child with Aspergers or HFA tends NOT to have the following traits:

•    Attends well to details
•    Can show steps of work easily
•    Can sound out spelling words
•    Can write quickly and neatly
•    Develops fairly evenly
•    Excels at rote memorization
•    Follows oral directions well
•    Has auditory strengths
•    Has good auditory short-term memory
•    Is a step-by-step learner
•    Is an analytical thinker
•    Is an early bloomer
•    Is comfortable with one right answer
•    Is well-organized
•    Learns by trial and error
•    Learns in spite of emotional reactions
•    Learns languages in class
•    Learns phonics easily
•    Learns well from instruction
•    May need some repetition to reinforce learning
•    Progresses sequentially from easy to difficult material
•    Relates well to time
•    Thinks primarily in words

Teaching Students with Aspergers and HFA

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our son was diagnosed today at 7 years old. The newletters have been extremely helpful. Thank You!!

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But...

Don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

If your child suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, expect him to experience both minor and major meltdowns over incidents that are part of daily life. He may have a major meltdown over a very small incident, or may experience a minor meltdown over something that is major. There is no way of telling how he is going to react about certain situations. However, there are many ways to help your child learn to control his emotions.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing a child with a neurological disorder. Violent rages, self-injury, isolation-seeking tendencies and communication problems that arise due to auditory and sensory issues are just some of the behaviors that parents of teens with Aspergers will have to learn to control.

Parents need to come up with a consistent disciplinary plan ahead of time, and then present a united front and continually review their strategies for potential changes and improvements as the Aspergers teen develops and matures.

Click here to read the full article…

Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

Although they may vary slightly from person to person, children with Aspergers tend to have similar symptoms, the main ones being:

=> A need to know when everything is happening in order not to feel completely overwhelmed
=> A rigid insistence on routine (where any change can cause an emotional and physiological meltdown)
=> Difficulties with social functioning, particularly in the rough and tumble of a school environment
=> Obsessive interests, with a focus on one subject to the exclusion of all others
=> Sensory issues, where they are oversensitive to bright light, loud sounds and unpleasant smells
=> Social isolation and struggles to make friends due to a lack of empathy, and an inability to pick up on or understand social graces and cues (such as stopping talking and allowing others to speak)

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent?

Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Parents face issues such as college preparation, vocational training, teaching independent living, and providing lifetime financial support for their child, if necessary. Meanwhile, their immature Aspergers teenager is often indifferent – and even hostile – to these concerns.

As you were raising your child, you imagined how he would be when he grew up. Maybe you envisioned him going to college, learning a skilled traded, getting a good job, or beginning his own family. But now that (once clear) vision may be dashed. You may be grieving the loss of the child you wish you had.

If you have an older teenager with Aspergers who has no clue where he is going in life, or if you have an “adult-child” with Aspergers still living at home (in his early 20s or beyond), here are the steps you will need to take in order to foster the development of self-reliance in this child.

Click here to read the full article…

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content