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The Complete Guide to Teaching Students with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

Aspergers is a condition on the “autism spectrum” that generally encompasses high functioning children with autistic tendencies.

A child with Aspergers (high-functioning autism) can have difficulty in school because – since he fits in so well – many adults may miss the fact that he has a diagnosis. When these children display symptoms of their disorder, they may be seen as defiant or disruptive. When teaching Aspergers students, a teacher should be aware of their special needs and accommodate both her classroom and teaching strategy to support the students’ special needs.

Are you setting-up your Aspergers student for success? 

Use the following checklist to see where your areas of strengths and weaknesses are:
  1. Are your activities engaging and motivating for the Aspergers student?
  2. Are your objectives, routines and rules clearly understood by him or her?
  3. Are your rules and routines posted clearly and stated positively?
  4. Do you always demonstrate respect for the student and value his contributions?
  5. Do you ensure you have her attention before starting?
  6. Do you give instructions and directions at the child’s level of need?
  7. Do you have a variety of rewards and consequences that are well known by the Aspergers student?
  8. Do you have smooth transitions from one subject to another and when students return from recess or lunch?
  9. Do you pause when he/she interrupts?
  10. Do you promote self-esteem and confidence?
  11. Do you remember to have fun with her/him and provide humor when the opportunity presents itself?
  12. Have you considered the child’s learning style?
  13. Is your Aspergers student able to cope with assigned tasks?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, your teaching plan will be very successful with the Aspergers student. If you answered ‘no’ to the items on this list, look toward improving that specific area.

Teaching strategies specific to the Aspergers condition are essential for any teacher with an Aspergers student. The “Aspie” has difficulty navigating social situations, and as a result, is often teased and used as a scapegoat in the classroom. In addition, he or she often has "odd" behaviors (e.g., clumsiness, being obsessive about a specific subject, insisting on routine, experiencing meltdowns, etc.). In spite of these challenges, there are many things that teachers can do with instructional practices, classroom accommodations, and behavioral interventions to promote success for the student with Aspergers.

Aspergers students exhibit significant social communicative difficulties, as well as other defining characteristics, which may severely impact their ability to function successfully in the school setting. But, when given appropriate support strategies, through direct teaching and various accommodations and/or modifications, the “Aspie” can learn to be successful in her unpredictable, sensory-overloading, socially-interactive world. It is critical that a team approach be utilized in addressing the unique and challenging needs of a child with Aspergers -- with teachers being vital members of this team!

Having a student with Aspergers in your class gives you the chance to show your students that people who have challenges can also have strengths ...that in looking past someone's quirks, you can find someone worth knowing ...that life is richer if you don't solely interact with children who are like clones of yourself.

Teaching the Aspergers student to expect change, to be an active problem-solver, to gain skills in flexible thinking, and to manage anxiety builds a foundation for her/his future success in an unpredictable and uncertain world.

In The Complete Guide to Teaching Students with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism, teachers will: (a) gain a better understanding of the disorder, (b) gain insight into how the child acts in an academic setting, (c) learn effective educational interventions for the child, (d) learn the warning signs that the “Aspie” is being overcome with frustration and about to experience a "meltdown", and (e) learn to treat the child in a more holistic manner.


Anonymous said...

Vickie- So true!
19 minutes ago · Like

Karen- i feel that way too and now that my son sees a behavioral therapist and is medicated (took us 4 difficult years to make this decision) sometimes people do not even believe he has aspergers! take him off his meds and forget about it! now my son shows a lot of his symptoms at home as he is learning to hide them in smart.
12 minutes ago · Like

Anonymous said...

That is my son, he is normal, above normal in his IQ, but the defiance and his behavior problems are horrible sometimes if he does not get what he wants.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I've scanned the ebook and know that it is going to be very helpful as we prepare for school. Your emails and website have been very helpful also.
Warmest regards,
Mother to Isaiah, 7 years old., diagnosed in May 2011.

Anonymous said...

I can not tell you the invaluable information you have given me in regard to my Aspie. It has helped me with his IEP in school, his behavior, and the emails and my communication with and to his teacher. Thank you so much for what you do. May God continue to bless you and your obvious wonderful work.


Juliet said...

How do you find great behavioral specialist?

Anonymous said...

I homeschool my aspie son, he is 12. There is a group on fb for home ed parents of kids with special needs etc.

Anonymous said...

There is lots and lots of information on the web for homeschooling, from buying a full curriculum to putting together your own (the library is free), groups you can join, etc. Homeschooling is growing and there are more and more resources then there ever was. Good luck and have fun on your new adventure!

Anonymous said...

I'm interested but concerned about socialization. My son struggles with interactions and has strong preferences to stay home now. I'm afraid home schooling will lead to further isolation for us both. Thoughts???

Anonymous said...

Socialization of homeschoolers is a myth. There are a ton of groups, at least in our area, and activities to do outside of the home. There are more and more activities geared toward homeschoolers because there is such a need for it. It's up to you to decide how much and where.

Anonymous said...

I home school my 11 year old Aspergers son. BEST decision of my life.There are tons of groups and social things you can do with home schoolers now. Make sure to look up your state laws, they are all different. I would start by learning his learning style, then look for the curriculum that best suites him. It can be over whelming at first but worth it in the end. My son can excel in science where as in public schools he would be held back.

Anonymous said...

es! I home school my AS son is absolutely the best decision I have made for son also likes to stay home, but I have gotten a pass to the Y and have him go 3 times a week to swim and do something outside of the home. Don't allow "starting the right way" to be too much of a will learn in time what works best for both you and him...I have changed and revised lots of times to finally find what works best for will probably do that too.=) Maybe you can focus on his giftings or interests to start...then see how that leads you... Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm a homeschool teacher in the San Fernando Valley/Los Angeles area if u ever need help

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you are reaching out for resources. It's not easy to homeschool, but your resolve will go a long ways.

Anonymous said...

I have homeschooled my Aspie for 2-1/2 years. this year, in a new community and school district he thought he would try attending school. He has found he wants to return home. He loves being exposed to kids and new content, but found that everything moved too fast. We have found that his interest has expanded while at school, from only space to now include social studies. But gets discouraged because the class barely touches on the topic that intrigues him, then the homework load is so heavy that he doesn't have an opporutnity to continue exploring the topic on his own. I feel that if a child is excited about something we should foster it. We are starting out with his interests. We will do reading since he loves to read and see what those reading sessions create as an interest and explore resources to satisfy the curiosity. As for socialization, as mentioned before there are plenty of groups that meet, google your town/county homeschool support group. Also there is 4H, boy/girl scouts, church groups/AWANAs, the Y. We will be visiting our local senior center once a week as a way to give back, while learning about other people's stories and experiences. Have fun and take your time getting into homeschooling. Foloow your child's lead; ask questions, listen, and demonstrate your passion for learning and how you go about finding answers.

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.

Click here for the full article...

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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."

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here
to read the full article...

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.

Click here for the full article...