Part 2: Teaching Strategies for Students with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism – Creating the Right Environment

We continue our series on Teaching Strategies for Students with Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism:

Environmental Noise—

In creating the right environment, one problem to be considered is that of sounds. Think of the example of nails scratching on a chalk board. Just imagining it can send a chill down your spine. To a youngster with Asperger’s (AS) or High-Functioning Autism (HFA), every day sounds can have a similar affect. Thus, teachers should take an inventory to determine sounds difficult for the AS or HFA student to listen to. Also, teachers may want to consider allowing the student to listen to soft music with headsets during class times when there is excessive noise. Earplugs are another option as well.


Minimizing the stress AS and HFA students face is critical to education, and minimizing transitions and insuring the environment is predictable may be one of the best ways to reduce stress. Frequent changes in routines make it difficult for the student to focus on the curriculum due to preoccupation concerning what will come next in the day. When there are changes in the routine, the student should be prepped ahead of time in order to avoid excessive anxiety.

Transition Planning—

A public school is not a static environment. AS and HFA students, like all others, change teachers each year. In addition, there is the requirement of moving from elementary to middle to high school. Thus, a "transition-planning meeting" can be scheduled prior to such transitions. This meeting allows the previous teacher to educate the incoming teacher on successful techniques as well as provide general education on the traits of AS and HFA. The “special needs” student should be orientated as well. Allowing him or her extra time to become familiar with a new environment will prevent unnecessary stress during transition.

==> Teaching Students with Aspergers and HFA

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