Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders


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Should Aspergers children be placed in school based on their chronological or academic level?

Most children with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism are very intelligent. Highly intelligent children on the autism spectrum often developed “asynchronously” (i.e., their minds, cognitive and emotional functions are developed differently and are ahead of their physical growth). Their interests are completely different from those of their peers, and they prefer the company of adults or older children because they can relate to them in a better way.

Many children with Aspergers are not in school to socialize – they are there to learn (one of the things these children hate is other students disrupting class). So, if your Aspergers child is, for example, grade 5 chronologically but grade 7 academically – I would recommend that you place him/her with the 7th graders. 

How can you know if grade-skipping is right for your Aspergers youngster?

1. Assess how your youngster handles an unexpected challenge. If he is a perfectionist, easily frustrated, or easily becomes upset over a failure, advancing could be devastating.

2. Kids must demonstrate a desire to advance, and a commitment to learning and completing tasks.

3. If your youngster is bored at school, or doesn't do his homework because the work is too easy, that could be an indicator that grade skipping is appropriate.

4. Physical health is imperative, but not necessarily a youngster's size, which may be more of a concern for males than females. Some families are deterred by the loss of a high school athletic career.

5. Standardized testing can determine the difference between someone who is well-educated and one who is intellectually gifted. To advance successfully, some teachers indicate that kids should have a measured IQ in at least the 98th+ percentiles (IQ measurements vary depending on the test, but 125-130 is a minimum) and should already work at the average level of the desired grade placement.

6. They need to be well-adjusted emotionally (except for social difficulties that stem from inappropriate school placement), and should not be simultaneously coping with other emotional pressures (e.g., divorce in the family, moving to a different school, etc.).

Grade skipping is not perfect for everyone, and the decision should be carefully weighed in light of the "whole" youngster. But if you feel that your Aspie is a good candidate for acceleration, be assertive with your school in requesting that he or she be evaluated.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook


Kim said...

I totally agree, but the public schools don't agree with it. All they care about is the socialization of a "weird" child and they do not look at the academic level and that being with knowledge peers may actually develop their social skills.

Anonymous said...

my son doesnt fit in with kids his age and is bored by the work because he already knows it

Anonymous said...

We had the same problem in primary school. My son wanted to talk about cosmology and the other kids wanted to talk about action man. Now he is 17 and is fine with others his own age but in primary it was ridiculous! For that and many other reasons we ended up Home Educating for the remainder of his primary school. Best decision we ever made.
43 minutes ago · Like

Anonymous said...

This one of the many reasons I love home education. Tailoring the education to my child, not my child to the education. ...Also, the homeschool kids we are around don't seem to pay attention to 'age'. They all just mingle together, having fun like people in the real world.

Anonymous said...

My son is academically ahead and socially behind. The public school system does not have a clue how to teach social skills effectively so that these children can thrive without torment from their peers. He is not learning a thing at grade level, however, no matter where they place him academically, he will still deal with the same social issues.

Anonymous said...

from what most of you are saying it seems we are lucky my boy(he's 9) has had some really good teachers that understand him,his strenghts and we work hard with him on his social skills and behavour which is our job as parents.too often nowdays people expect the school system to teach the kids how to behave,manners,all the things that should be the parents job

Anonymous said...

When my son was 4 and in preschool, he was academically ahead of all the other kids. After an evaluation for speech, we had a meeting and they wanted to place him in the 1st grade, even after the school complained about him being immature. We refused. If he's immature in preschool what would he be like in 1st grade where they are a little more mature? To me kids should be kept with their own age group. Like with our school, he is given more advanced work, than the others in his class.

Anonymous said...

Its why I homeschool. My son is far advanced in science, he is in 5th, and some science is high school level already. Same with history, he is doing 8th grade. Math he is behind and language arts as well. Thus way ÷ can foster wach level he is at.

Anonymous said...

We found a public magnet school that places children in subject classes based upon their skill level rather than their age. This means that our 12 year old twins, one with Aspergers (and dysgraphia) the other with other learning disabilities are both 6th graders but only share one or two classes. My Aspie does 8th grade level math and 4th grade level writing. The school meets the children where they are without Special Ed pull-outs or labeling them as "gifted." They also are assigned to "families" consisting of two children from 1st-8th grade who work together for a 20 minute project every day, which additionally extends the childrens' social range. This has enabled my Aspie son to interact with and engage in friendships with younger children who are better social peers for him. This school model has allowed both children to be successful in school, academically and socially, for the first time.

Anonymous said...

Such a tough question. My daughter's maturity level is well below her peer/grade level (I would say 4-5 yrs) but her academic and intellectual prowess is far above her peer/grade level. I know that she finds the academic stuff "'too easy" but she most certainly is not ready for high school social situations...she can't even handle middle school social situations most days. Where is the right fit? Answer: There is none. Home-schooling is not an option for us, nor am I convinced that it would be a good idea (because I feel she needs the social interactions with other kids far too much and also I think she's smarter than I am ;)). When my daughter struggles with social stuff, I remind her that some of her classmates might find the social stuff 'easy' but then struggle with math, which SHE finds 'easy' all evens out one way or another. She likes that helps her to see that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, not just kids on the autism spectrum. So back to the topic...I would not change anything. My girl enjoys school with kids her age (when she can stave off the meltdowns) and is 'working on' various skills there ~ they just don't happen to be academic ones, for the most part. ;-)

Anonymous said...

tough one... my son has tested off the charts in math and science and there have been a lot of problems due to the fact that he gets bored easily when he has to pace himself to the speed of other kids. So that's a debate I've been having for a long time now. Some times we're lucky and get a teacher that recognizes this and teach him a little bit of extras, some years we're not that lucky... I think there needs to be a special program developed specifically for these kids.
Maybe one day the schools will have to adapt to the kids they teach...

Cyborg Kid said...

I am a "high-functioning" adult now and skipped two grades as a child. From an academic point of view this was a good decision (not mine - I didn't want to go) but socially it completely destroyed any relation ships I might have had with classmates. I spent ten years in primary and secondary school without saying a word unless the teacher forced me to speak. On the other hand, the school work was so boring I might have dropped out when I was 15 or 16 but by then I was graduating. (I was thrown out of university when I was 16 but still graduated with a BA at 19:) I would suggest you explain things clearly to your child and consider their opinion. My son has lived through the same situation without skipping grades and he is marginally better than I am with his social skills. I don't know what difference it might have made but throughout my life I would have gladly traded some higher education in exchange for some better social-coping skills.

Patrick in Canada

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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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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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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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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content