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Aspergers Students: Tip for Teachers

As a teacher, you are responsible for helping to shape the lives of young people and preparing them to be successful adults. Your Aspergers (high-functioning autistic) students may come from different family backgrounds and leave your classroom for different futures, but they spend a significant portion of their young lives with you right now. Next to their parents and immediate family, you have the greatest opportunity and the power to positively influence their lives. To do this successfully, you need to understand and be able to meet their needs. You already know that, in addition to intelligence, passion, and enthusiasm, teaching requires patience, sensitivity, and creativity.

Having a youngster with Aspergers in your classroom will present unique challenges for you as a teacher, but it also gives you the opportunity to learn new ways to teach young people the academic and social skills that will last them a lifetime.

With the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1975 and subsequent legislation, all kids with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education. Inclusive classrooms, where kids with all types of disabilities are included in the general education classroom for part or all of the day, are now the norm in public schools. Given the increasing numbers of kids diagnosed with Aspergers, chances are good you will have a youngster with the disorder in your school and at some point in your classroom.

Having a youngster with Aspergers in your class will have an impact on the educational and social environment of the classroom. Kids with Aspergers have academic strengths and weaknesses like all kids, but the effects of the disorder require different teaching strategies to discover and capitalize on their strengths and facilitate successful learning. Kids with Aspergers also face many obstacles to successful social interactions and relationship building, which are essential elements of the school experience for young people.

As a teacher, you can help ensure that kids with Aspergers are fully integrated into the classroom and are able to participate socially with their peers in the day-to-day activities of school life.

The first challenge for you in teaching a youngster with Aspergers is to recognize it as a serious mutual challenge for the student and you. It can be very deceptive, almost invisible to the untrained eye at first. Kids with Aspergers can look and act like their typical peers and often perform as well or better academically, thus masking the potential effects of Aspergers.

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

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD 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.

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

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 or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your 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.

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Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

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

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD 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 ASD 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."

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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