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Effective Academic Accommodations for Students with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism

The vast majority of students with Asperger’s (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA) receive their educational experiences predominantly in general education classrooms. Thus, general education teachers are primarily responsible for the education of these “special needs” students, although frequently with the support of special education teachers.

In many ways, students diagnosed with AS and HFA are well qualified to benefit from general classroom experiences. They typically have average to above average intellectual abilities, are motivated to be with their fellow classmates, and have good rote memory skills and other assets that bode well for their educational success. However, all too frequently, these young people have significant problems in academic performance, and some have learning disabilities. The reasons for these problems often are related to the social and communication deficits connected to AS and HFA.

==> Teaching Students with Aspergers and HFA

In addition to social and communication deficits, students on the autism spectrum exhibit:
  • concrete and literal thinking styles
  • difficulty applying skills and knowledge to solve problems 
  • difficulty attending to salient curricular cues
  • difficulty in comprehending abstract materials (e.g., metaphors, idioms)
  • difficulty in discerning relevant from irrelevant stimuli
  • difficulty understanding inferentially-based materials
  • inflexibility
  • obsessive and narrowly defined interests
  • poor organizational skills
  • poor problem-solving skills
  • problems with generalizing knowledge and skills

These challenges make it difficult for them to benefit from general education curricula and instructional systems without support and accommodations. But, with suitable support, most of these “special needs” students can be successful in school, and many are able to attend college and enjoy a variety of successful careers.

Studies of academic achievement in AS and HFA students reveal the following:
  • in spite of being highly verbal, there are significant difficulties in understanding the orally-presented messages of others and arriving at logical solutions to routine and real-life problems
  • mathematics scores are low, especially in solving equations and answering mathematical calculation problems
  • mean academic achievement scores are within the average range
  • strengths tend to be in comprehension of factual material, and in the areas of oral expression and reading recognition 
  • there are significant difficulties in the areas of problem-solving and language-based critical thinking
  • there is a relative weakness in comprehending verbally presented information
  • written language scores are significantly lower than oral expression scores

Many teachers fail to recognize the special academic needs of young people on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum, because they often give the impression that they understand more than they do. Thus, their ability to word-call without having the higher-order thinking and comprehension skills to understand what they read, parrot-like responses, pedantic style, and seemingly advanced vocabulary may actually mask the deficits of these students.

Academic modifications essential for AS and HFA students are those that increase structure and predictability and also address their multifaceted needs. Specifically, these accommodations take into account some of the manifestations that are like learning disabilities and gifted-like traits that are evident in this population. Appropriate modifications, include:

1.  priming
2.  classroom assignment modifications
3.  notetaking
4.  graphic organizers
5.  enrichment
6.  homework

We will look at each of these in turn:

1.    Priming—

Priming was developed to:
  • bring predictability to new tasks and thereby reduce stress and anxiety
  • familiarize AS and HFA students with academic material prior to its use in school
  • increase their academic success

The actual materials that are used in a lesson are shown to the student the day, the evening, or even the morning before the activity is to take place. Priming also may occur just prior to an activity. A parent, resource teacher, or trusted peer can serve as a primer.

It is generally recommended that the actual teaching materials be used in priming. However, in some cases, priming can consist of introducing an upcoming task using a list or a description of the activities, not the actual materials. Priming is most effective when it is built into the student's routine. It should be done in an environment that is relaxing and should be facilitated by a primer who is both patient and encouraging. Finally, priming sessions should be short, providing a brief overview of the day's tasks in 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Classroom Assignment Modifications—

The amount of reading the student with AS or HFA is expected to complete should be evaluated. Students on the autism spectrum who sometimes read slowly and can’t discern relevant from irrelevant information spend an inordinate amount of time concentrating on facts that will not be tested and are considered unimportant. Highlighted texts and study guides help these young people maximize their reading time. Teachers also should consider identifying the information the student is responsible to learn for an upcoming assignment or test.

Handwriting is a concern for many students with AS and HFA. Thus, teachers should offer these students several ways to demonstrate mastery, for example:
  • using the computer instead of a pen or pencil
  • giving verbal responses instead of written essays
  • creating a project rather than writing a report
  • completing a multiple-choice rather than a short-answer test
3. Note-taking—

Many students with AS and HFA have difficulty taking notes in class. Often, motor problems prevent them from getting important content onto paper. Also, some of these students have difficulty listening and writing at the same time. Depending on the amount of assistance they need, the teacher can provide for the student:
  • the opportunity to use outlining software
  • a skeletal outline that he or she can use to fill in details
  • a peer-constructed outline
  • a complete outline including the main idea and supporting details

4. Graphic Organizers—

Graphic organizers highlight important concepts and display the relationship between them. They provide abstract or implicit information in a concrete manner. Graphic organizers can be used before, during, or after AS/HFA students read a selection, either as an advanced organizer or as a measure of concept attainment.

Three commonly used graphic organizers are semantic maps, analogy graphic organizers, and timelines. The focal point of the semantic map is the key word or concept enclosed in a geometric figure (e.g., circle or square) or in a pictorial representation of the word or concept. Lines or arrows connect this central shape to other shapes. Words or information related to the central concept are written on the connecting lines or in the other shapes. As the map expands, the words become more specific and detailed. For AS and HFA students who are younger or who require additional cues, semantic maps can use pictures for the key words or concepts.

An analogy graphic organizer contains two concepts and their attributes. The teacher and student define how the two concepts are alike and how they differ, then draw a conclusion. Often the teacher has to assist the student in identifying attributes by presenting choices (either written or pictorial) from which he or she can select. This task can be completed individually, in small groups, or with an entire class.

Timelines provide benchmarks for completing tasks and thereby aid AS and HFA students in budgeting their time. Timelines consist of a list of steps needed to complete the task with affiliated due dates. This visual representation enables the student and teacher to monitor progress toward project completion. Ideally, teachers enlist the aid of moms and dads in developing and monitoring timelines to ensure student follow-through at home.

5. Enrichment—

Research has shown that a greater percentage of students with AS and HFA have IQs in the superior range than is found in the general population. Thus, these young people benefit from enrichment activities because they already have mastered age-appropriate academic content. Enrichment activities can consist of having them learn the same content in much more depth and detail than their “typical” peers, or introducing new topics that usually are presented to older students.

6. Homework—

Teachers and moms and dads should work together to determine whether homework should be assigned, and if so, how much. Because students with AS and HFA need structure, it is often best for the teacher to assign tasks that they can complete in the structured school environment.

If homework is assigned, an assignment notebook and a parent-teacher communication system will help moms and dads monitor their youngster's homework. In some cases, parents may have to model the task for their child, so teachers should ensure that the moms and dads understand their youngster's homework. To facilitate home-school communication, some schools have established a "homework line" that students and parents can call to hear an overview of assigned work. This system is ideal for students on the spectrum.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

Aspergers Students: Summary of Educational Considerations

Is your child with Asperger's or high functioning autism going to have a new teacher in the upcoming school year? If so, you will do your child a big favor by emailing the following "summary of educational considerations" to his or her teacher. Here is the link:

Most Asperger's (AS) kids have normal or above-normal intelligence, and are able to complete their education up through the graduate or professional school level. Many are unusually skilled in music or good in subjects requiring rote memorization. On the other hand, the verbal skills of kids with AS frequently cause difficulties with educators, who may not understand why these "bright" kids have social and communication problems.

Some AS kids are dyslexic; others have difficulty with writing or mathematics. In some cases, AS kids have been mistakenly put in special programs either for kids with much lower levels of functioning, or for kids with conduct disorders. AS kids do best in structured learning situations in which they learn problem-solving and social skills as well as academic subjects. They frequently need protection from the teasing and bullying of other kids, and often become hypersensitive to criticism by their teenage years. One approach that has been found helpful at the high-school level is to pair the adolescent with AS with a slightly older teenager who can serve as a mentor. The mentor can "clue in" the younger adolescent about the slang, dress code, cliques, and other "facts of life" at the local high school.

Asperger's kids are characterized by a number of elements:
  • Abnormal eye contact - either avoidance or prolonged intense gaze
  • Clumsy and uncoordinated
  • Competence with expressive speech and number often masks poor comprehension Literal interpretations of speech
  • Competent with puzzles
  • Consistent unawareness of non-verbal feedback (including consequences of actions)
  • Cope well in a structured predictable environment with clear and simple rules stated in concrete terms - they will follow the rules to the letter
  • Holistic approach to tasks and does not cope with approximations
  • Lack of interest in pleasing people (e.g., educators and parents) and unresponsive to the usual subtle cues of displeasure such as head shaking etc
  • Lack of spontaneity in exploring new situations
  • Learn from direct instruction, not intuitive perception
  • More interested in books and factual information
  • Poor or absent capacity to use or understand facial expression, gesture, tone, pause or body language
  • Precocious visual and auditory memory
  • Slow development of speech without the usual approximations
  • Use of speech to gain gratification or impart information and rarely for communicative intent
  • Very egocentric

Areas of Difficulty—

The school environment is a complex, constantly changing and often unpredictable. Children are required to cope with changing stimuli; varying behavioral expectations; complex social interaction with adults, peers and children of other age levels; the academic challenges of each day; their own mood and state of health and are expected to behave appropriately at all times. This can be a challenge for neurologically typical kids but for those with learning and social disabilities, it can, unless properly, managed be almost insurmountable.

Kids diagnosed with AS may not be able to understand or express their emotions, understand what is expected of them or be able to apply the rules learned at other times and in other situations to the situation with which they are faced.

These children are often of average or above average intelligence and as they mature, they become aware of their difference and want to fit in but don't know how to. This can lead to intense frustration which may either result in outbursts of verbal and/or physical violence or withdrawal into themselves. The quiet, well behaved student is often the most at risk because the problem issues are unseen and thus unaddressed.

The student may have a "reputation that precedes them" for both children and staff. Older children may have low self esteem and an expectation of failure both academically and behaviorally.

The main characteristics of Asperger's, which hinder both academic and social progress are:

• Cognitive Skills
• Communication Skills
• Physiological Deficits
• Social Skills

An effective program will among many things, recognize the children' strengths and build on them to give them a feeling of achievement and thus improve their confidence. It will also recognize the problem areas and provide strategies to deal with behaviors, strategies to teach both academic and social concepts, which start with the concrete and move to the abstract at the student’s pace. Overall the program will not just teach 'academic fact' but teach strategies and skills that will assist future academic learning, social interaction and the development of the children self control and self discipline.

Learning Structures—

Kids diagnosed with AS require a mixture of the following structures to successfully achieve in the classroom. Behavior is often an indicator of frustration and stress and the following can assist in their management and reduction. Often, these ideas are beneficial to all the children.

  • Be aware that the student may be defensive of their person and/or personal space and plan for this if applicable.
  • Consider isolating the student for short periods to teach new concepts or build on pre-existing knowledge in a distraction free setting.
  • Ensure that the youngster is in a position of least distraction from the source of the information to which the youngster must respond (i.e., up the front and away from visual and auditory "clutter").
  • Structure the physical environment to facilitate learning and minimize frustration (providing visual and physical order assists in focusing).
  • Watch for peers who feed-off and feedback inappropriate behaviors and position them away from the student - often the student will like these peers but the relationship is not necessarily the best for either student.
  • Watch for peers who obviously or subtly annoy the student and position them away from the student.

In Class Structure:
  • Break tasks up into manageable segments and train the student to schedule and plan.
  • Brief, precise, concrete instructions and make sure that they understand - don't assume that repeating the instruction means that the student has understood.
  • Predicable environment and routine with preparation for any changes.
  • Set behavioral limits and monitor to implement consequences or provide coping strategies.
  • State clearly what is expected - be concrete and allow time for the student to process the information.
  • Teach the student to ask for help and appropriate methods of doing so.

Presentational Issues:
  • Break work into small steps.
  • Have written instructions for older primary children and include visual cues and mark clearly the things that need to be completed.
  • Keep black/whiteboard presentation as neat as possible.
  • Know and use the student's strengths.
  • Present new concepts in a concrete manner.
  • Show examples of what is required.
  • Use activity based learning where possible.
  • Use visual prompts as appropriate.

Teaching Issues:
  • Do not do for the student what they can do for themselves.
  • Don't expect the student to automatically generalize instructions.
  • Use language to tie new situations to old learning.
  • Don't rely on emotional appeals or presume that the student will want to please you.
  • Concentrate on changing unacceptable behaviors and don't worry about those which are "simply" odd.
  • Use the obsessive or preferred activity as a reward.
  • Use opportunities which arise to teach the student about how other children feel and react when they are hurt or upset.
  • Be absolutely consistent and don't give options if there are no options.

Work closely with the parents and listen to them - they have already had much experience coping with the youngster. And don't judge atypical parenting as odd – it is often a coping reaction to the student's behavior rather than the cause of the behavior.

Other Strategies to Support Development:
  • Explain metaphors and avoid where possible (i.e., 'Frog in your throat').
  • Explain the timetable to the secondary youngster so they understand the daily structure - a simple written timetable also helps primary age kids and can benefit all the class.
  • Explicitly teach rules of social conduct so that the youngster does not constantly interrupt or interrupt with questions relevant 20 minutes ago.
  • Have a Communication Book and use it daily to inform parents of successes and failures, ask for parental advice and receive information from parents (it is difficult for parents to find out what is happening at school but it is vital that they know so they can inform the Doctors and therapists of issues and receive and transmit advice from medicos to educators).
  • Have a strategy to employ when the youngster can't cope due to over-stimulation or confusion.
  • Have a time out area for discipline when needed (it is important to enforce consequences and to ensure that the 'time out' isn't more attractive than the activity).
  • Provide a formal "peer support network" or "mate/buddy" system for the safety of the youngster.
  • Provide the parents with a timetable to ensure that the youngster can be rehearsed for the following day and has the necessary equipment required for the day’s activities because they are not strong on organizational skills and need assistance in this area.
  • Teach "safety phrases" such as "Are you pretending? or What do you mean? or Why should I do that?" to give the youngster a vocabulary of questions to help them gain information (they won’t know how to do it naturally) so they can determine the nature of a situation and respond accordingly.
  • When an issue begins to surface, do not ignore it or think it too minor to mention to parents (parents prefer more information than less and often something minor points to a serious issue which has bearing on behavior at home).

Kids diagnosed with Asperger's have a propensity to disrupt the class due to:
  • lack of ability to focus
  • confusion
  • literal interpretation of instructions
  • inability to read social rules and cues
  • overloading of the 'senses' (too much noise, visual stimulation or physical stimulation)
  • lack of desire to 'please'
  • inability to explain feelings plus other factors.

These kids are rarely disruptive for the sake of it and are amenable to behavior modification providing that clear and simple instructions are given and consequences are consistently applied if the inappropriate behavior continues.

It is very important to keep the parents informed because that is their only way of knowing what is happening at school. This information is vital to the youngster's doctors to ensure that the management program is relevant and effective and that problems can be identified and managed quickly to minimize disruption to the youngster and fellow children.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Behavioral, Emotional, and Academic Challenges of Students with Asperger’s and HFA

Most young people diagnosed with Asperger’s and High-functioning Autism (HFA) have behavioral and emotional problems to one degree or another. These challenges are most often related to social skills deficits associated with the disorder (e.g., when the youngster fails to take his turn in a playground game, because he doesn't understand the social rules associated with it).

Social difficulties frequently involve feelings of anxiety, loss of control, and the inability to predict outcomes. As a result, kids on the autism spectrum usually have problems connected to their inability to function in a world they see as threatening and unpredictable.

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism 

The child who feels generally fearful and confused will typically act-out these troubling emotions in rather destructive ways (e.g., tantrums, meltdowns, shutdowns, aggression, etc.). Thus, it is not uncommon for others to view the Asperger’s or HFA child as mean-spirited and malicious. This, of course, is not the case in most situations. When the “special needs” child experiences behavioral difficulties, his problems are most often associated with his defensive panic reaction, social incompetence, sensory sensitivities, or an obsessive interest in a particular topic.

Because children with Asperger’s and HFA tend to be cut off from their feelings, they obtain facts and information without understanding how those facts can be applied to real-life situations. Also, due to being detail-oriented, they often miss the overall picture and apply the same level of detail to every situation whether appropriate or not.

Parents usually have a great deal of concern about the behavior and social skills deficits of their Asperger’s or HFA youngster. They often report that their child has significant weaknesses in a variety of socially related areas, including overall behavior (e.g., conduct problems, aggression, hyperactivity, withdrawal from social interaction, etc.).

Conversely, teachers often perceive the Asperger’s or HFA student to have both fewer and less significant deficits than do parents (although some teachers do view the student to be "at-risk" in the areas of attention problems and anxiety). This disparity is often due to the fact that kids on the high-functioning end of autism “appear” to perform as well as neurotypical kids in most domains (with the exception of social competency). Therefore, many of the child’s symptoms related to the disorder that result in behavioral problems may be viewed as simple defiance and/or laziness on the part of teachers.

In many ways, students with Asperger’s and HFA are well qualified to benefit from general classroom experiences. They typically have average to above-average intellectual abilities, and better-than-average rote memory skills. However, many of them have learning disabilities and other significant problems in academic performance. The reasons for these problems often are related to the communication and social deficits related to their disorder.

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism 

Additionally, even though the Asperger’s or HFA student is exceedingly gifted when it comes to comprehending factual material, he or she often experiences unique challenges that make it difficult to benefit from general education curricula and instructional systems without support and accommodations. For example:
  • concrete and literal thinking styles
  • difficulty in discerning relevant from irrelevant stimuli
  • inflexibility
  • difficulties in the areas of problem-solving and language-based critical thinking
  • trouble generalizing knowledge and skills
  • obsessive and narrowly defined interests
  • weakness in comprehending verbally presented information
  • poor organizational skills
  • difficulties in arriving at logical solutions to routine and real-life problems
  • poor problem-solving skills
  • difficulty attending to salient curricular cues 
  • difficulty in comprehending abstract materials (e.g., metaphors and idioms)
  • problems with understanding inferentially-based materials
  • problems in applying skills and knowledge to solve problems

Many teachers fail to recognize the special academic needs of students with Asperger’s and HFA, because they often give the impression that they understand more than they do. Furthermore, certain strengths of the disorder may actually mask the deficits (e.g., their ability to “word-call” without having the higher-order thinking and comprehension skills to understand what they read, parrot-like responses, seemingly advanced vocabulary, and their pedantic style).

Here’s additional information on the behavioral, emotional, and academic challenges of students with Asperger’s and HFA – and how parents and teachers can help:

Reasons Why Your Asperger’s or HFA Child Gets So Stressed-Out at School

School-Work Problems in Children on the Autism Spectrum

Helping Kids on the Autism Spectrum to “Fit-In” with Their Peer Group

Aggressive Children on the Autism Spectrum: Advice for Parents and Teachers

Students with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger’s: Crucial Strategies for Teachers

Anxiety-Based Absenteeism and School-Refusal in Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Poor Academic Performance in Students on the Autism Spectrum

Back-to-School “Quick Tip Sheet” for Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum

Parents of kids with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) have a bigger influence than anyone else on how their children make it through the new school year. Be part of the solution with effective methods that will make this the best school year ever – by participating, organizing, advocating, and any other means necessary.

Here are 10 ways to help your “special needs” child cope with his or her return to school:

1. Adopt the mind-set of “change the environment.” For example, if the educator regularly complains about your youngster's lack of desk-sitting etiquette, save the day with ideas for managing movement, reducing sensory overload, and increasing comfort. Click here for more information on creating an effective learning environment.

2. A “fine motor skill” is the coordination of small muscle movements, usually involving the synchronization of hands and fingers with the eyes. Many AS and HFA children have fine motor skills deficits. Therefore, finding the best writing instrument can make a significant improvement in the quality of their written work – and their classroom behavior. Don't just throw a random box of #2s into your cart and hope for the best. Rather, see if your youngster can benefit from a more specialized approach. Click here for more information on fine motor skills deficits.

3. Create a “contact log.” Getting what your AS or HFA youngster needs from school staff is much easier when you can quote the date you were promised something (e.g., an IEP meeting), when it was promised to occur, and who promised it to you. Instead of leaving all this information to your overworked memory bank, jot it down in a contact log.

4. Keeping your spirits up will be difficult when you're battling educators who don’t understand autism spectrum disorders, dreading report cards, and struggling over homework. But, maintaining a positive “can-do” attitude WILL put your youngster on the road to academic success. When you show your child that you have faith in him, he will begin to have faith in himself. Click here for more information on homework-related issues.

5. Parents of “special needs” students need to learn about the differences between a 504 plan under the Americans with Disabilities Act and an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Click here for more information on IEPs.

6. Organization is a common problem for many kids on the autism spectrum. Disorganization often results in missed assignments and tests, not having the correct books for homework, etc. Talk with your youngster and get her input on where she needs the most help. Then, the two of you make a plan. When making this plan, consider the following: how homework be communicated (e.g., written down or dictated); if color-coding books by subject would help; what type of binder or folder will be used for loose papers; what type of school bag will work best; what your youngster’s new timetable will be at home and school; whether or not having two sets of school books/tools would be helpful; and if a calendar or diary will be helpful. Click here for more information on organization skills.

7. You are the expert on your child. A simple way to share your knowledge with school staff is by preparing a summary of information on your youngster. The summary should include the following: calming methods, emergency contact numbers, medications, strategies that don’t work, strategies that do work, strengths, and weaknesses. Keep your summary short, and format it so that it is easy to read. Give copies to all school staff who will have interactions with your youngster. Click here for a fact sheet (email or hand-deliver a hardcopy) that provides a short description of AS and HFA – and associated behaviors.

8. Parents are the best advocates for their AS or HFA youngster, because they know their youngster best. However, they can’t be an effective advocate if they don’t have a good working relationship with the individuals involved in their kid’s education. How can moms and dads foster a working relationship with their youngster’s educators, aides, and other school staff in the new school year? Get involved in any parent/teacher organizations. Make and maintain contact with your youngster’s educators before any issues arise. Thank your youngster’s educators when they make a special effort for your youngster. Also, volunteer to help in your youngster’s classrooms, schools, or on field trips. Click here for more information on advocacy.

9. Your youngster doesn't just sit at her desk all day. There are other, less-structured moments that can act like stumbling blocks on the road to academic success. So, stay informed on what your youngster goes through as the school day progresses (e.g., on the bus, at recess, lunch, gym, in the restroom, etc.), and know how intervene.

10. When the parent is standing up for her youngster's rights, it's important to have a good command of the bureaucratic language – especially when the parent is involved with individuals who throw out lots of elaborate terms to let her know they know more than she does. Thus, learn a few IEP acronyms with a cheat sheet (one is provided below).

Cheat Sheet—

Here are the key terms parents will see and hear as they work with the IEP team: 
  • Transition plan: This part of the IEP is for older students and lays out what your adolescent must learn and do in high school in order to succeed as an adult. He and the IEP team develop the plan together before it takes affect at age 16. The transition plan includes goals and activities that are academic and functional, but they extend beyond school to practical job training and life skills.
  • Special education: This is specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of your youngster. It should be designed to give her access to the general education curriculum. 
  • Related services: This includes any support services your youngster needs to benefit from special education (e.g., transportation, occupational therapy).
  • Present levels of performance (PLOP): This is a snapshot of how your youngster is doing currently. PLOP describes your youngster’s academic skills (e.g., reading level) and functional skills (e.g., making conversation, writing). The school prepares this report for the IEP meeting. This is the starting point for setting annual IEP goals.
  • Accommodation: This is a change to (or in) your youngster’s learning environment. Accommodations can help him learn and then show what he’s learned without having his deficits get in the way (e.g., if your youngster takes longer to answer questions, he can be given extra time to take a test). Even with accommodations, “special needs” children are expected to learn the same content as their classmates.
  • Standards-based IEP: This alternative to the traditional IEP is only used in some states. A standards-based IEP measures a child’s academic performance against what the state expects of other children in the same grade.
  • Due process: This is a formal process for resolving disputes with a school about special education and IEPs. Other ways to resolve a dispute include mediation and filing a state complaint.
  • Annual goals: The IEP document lists the academic and functional skills the IEP team thinks your youngster can achieve by the end of the year. These goals are geared toward helping her take part in the general education classroom. 
  • Parent report: This is a letter that parents write. It’s a good way for them to document their youngster’s strengths, challenges, and success at school, home, and in the community. By sharing the report with the IEP team, parents give the team a more complete view of the youngster.
  • Modification: A modification is a change in what the child is expected to learn and demonstrate (e.g., the educator may ask the class to write an essay that explores five major battles during a war, but the “special needs” youngster with a modification may only be asked to write about the basic facts of those battles). 
  • Least restrictive environment: Children with documented disabilities must be taught in the least restrictive environment (i.e., they must be taught in the same setting as children without documented disabilities as much as possible). The school must offer services and supports to help the youngster with an IEP succeed in a general education classroom.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): IDEA is a federal law that guarantees all kids with disabilities access to a free and appropriate public education.
  • General education curriculum: This is the knowledge and skills that all children throughout a state are expected to master (curriculum varies from state to state).
  • Supplementary aids and services: These are supports to help your youngster learn in the general education classroom (e.g., special equipment, assistive technology, audiobooks, highlighted classroom notes, etc.).
  • Extended school year services (ESY): Some children receive special education services outside of the regular school year (e.g., during the summer, during Christmas break).
  • Disability: To qualify for an IEP, your youngster must have a disability that is one of the 13 categories listed in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Learning and attention issues usually fit into one of three categories: specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, and other health impairment (e.g., ADHD).
  • Behavior intervention plan (BIP): This is a plan designed to teach and reward positive behavior. The plan usually uses techniques to prevent and stop problematic behaviors. It can also have supports and aids for your youngster. To get a BIP, your youngster must have a functional behavioral assessment (FBA).
  • Progress reporting: This refers to how the school will report to parents on their youngster’s progress on annual goals. 
  • Assistive technology (AT): This includes any device, equipment or software that helps the youngster work around his deficits. AT can help the youngster learn, communicate, and function better in school (e.g., apps that read text aloud).

Starting school is usually a difficult time for kids on the autism spectrum. Every youngster is hesitant to go somewhere new and see a bunch of strangers she has never met before. Moving up a grade means having a new teacher, facing more academic demands, and adjusting to a changing social circle. Children who are starting school for the first time or moving to a new school have to cope with an even bigger adjustment. The good news is that with a little bit of preparation, parents can make those first weeks of school easier for their AS and HFA children.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Teenage Son with ASD has Stopped Going to School


We are desperately trying to motivate our teenager [with autism spectrum disorder] to graduate from high school. He is a senior who needs 20 more credits to graduate. He has stopped going to school. Any advice? HELP!!!


Every teen with ASD is unique, but when you face a challenge like teenage dropouts, you are never alone. Countless individuals have faced the exact same situation and have survived and thrived. Teenage dropouts are all too common - and occur for a variety of reasons, including over-indulgent and over-protective parenting, mental illness, gangs, drugs, indifferent teachers, and just generally bad choices. 
Dropping out of school seems like a good option for teens on the spectrum who are bored in school and feel rejected by their peer group. But they often have a rude awakening once they drop out and have no place to turn.

How you can help:
  • Make the curriculum more interesting.
  • Offer advice on other teenage dropouts.

What to say:
  • Tell them how much you care about them.
  • "What’s your plan?”
  • "How can I help?”

What not to say:
  • "Yeah, that’s a good idea."
  • "Don't do it."
  • "Don’t worry."

In many states, once a teen turns sixteen years old, he or she can drop out of school. Some school systems are now reporting an alarming increase in the amount of drop outs that occur yearly. What can moms and dads and educators do to keep these teens in school? 

By the time a teen reaches the age of sixteen, half of the battle may already be lost. Moms and dads need to instill a love of learning when their kids are small. Moms and dads should begin reading to their kids when they are babies. As kids grow, moms and dads should encourage their kids to excel in school. High expectations should become evident even when kids are in preschool.

As kids move from elementary school into middle school, many kids are left behind academically. If a youngster falls behind in one subject, a parent should take action immediately. Both moms and dads and teachers should communicate in order to plan a successful course of action. A youngster may need extra tutoring, or if there are problems at home, counseling may be in order. 
If a parent questions their youngster’s ability, testing may need to be conducted to determine if that youngster has a learning disability. A learning disability, such as dyslexia, can inhibit a youngster’s progress in school, and this will leave the youngster feeling discouraged and inept, prompting even poorer academic performance.

It is also important to encourage your son with ASD to be involved in school related activities as much as possible. The more active your youngster becomes, the less time he’ll have to think about failure. Encourage him to go out for sports and academic teams, band or chorus, and drama. 
If he is not really the academic type, help him to find a niche that he really loves, such as welding, auto mechanics, carpentry, drafting, and graphic arts. The key to instilling a need and desire for success in your youngster is to help him find what he is successful at doing. 

Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances which can lead to a drop in a youngster’s grades. These circumstances may include a youngster’s illness, a recent move, problems at home, such as a divorce or death, or unexplained emotional problems. It is extremely important that these problems be addressed promptly. If left unattended, the problems could escalate, and when a teen reaches the age that he can legally withdraw from school, he may simply give up.

If you are struggling with a teen that seems apathetic to his academic career, you need to discern what the root problem might be. If the youngster is struggling with a particular subject or subjects, he may need extra tutoring. As a parent, you can encourage your youngster by spending time working with him in the evening. If you don’t feel knowledgeable enough to tutor your youngster, you can arrange for help from someone else.

Many schools now have afternoon tutoring available to help students who are falling behind. Some schools also have “last chance” programs. These programs are typically given at night or on the weekends. They offer students a chance to take a subject or subjects that they have failed, so that they might still be able to graduate on time.

As a parent, you should realize that there may be more serious causes behind your teen’s lack of ambition. Drug abuse is a real problem among teens in today’s society. If you feel that your youngster is exhibiting signs of drug abuse, you should have him tested immediately. If he tests positive, you will need to decide on a direct course of action. 
It is also important to remember that even if you succeed in helping your youngster get off drugs, he will still be inundated with temptation if he is hanging with his same crowd of friends. You and your youngster may need to make some serious decisions regarding his every day environment.

Finally, never give up on your son. There may be times when both he and you are discouraged about his academic success. Try to hide your discouragement as much as possible, and, instead, let him see that you believe in him and have high expectations that he will succeed.

==> Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens


•    Anonymous said… A senior who still has 20 credits to earn (half of the required number to graduate with a diploma, not a certificate) isn't interested in graduating high school. Home schooling won't change this. Alternate schooling won't change this. Only the Aspie's mindset will change this. If he cannot be motivated and he cannot motivate himself to buckle down to business and earn the outstanding credits, he will not graduate high school in the time allotted by the department or ministry of education in his state or province.
•    Anonymous said… Can't you look at things another way? What are his hopes and aspirations for his future. What work does he want to do? If it's something he needs exams and qualifications for (sorry, english so don't get your system) then point out that these boring credits he must earn are a step he must take to get there. If otherwise, investigate work experience and apprenticeships, things to look good on a CV and give hands on experience of employment. Ultimately we want our children supporting themselves independantly, and conventional routes may not always work, so find others. Good luck!
•    Anonymous said… Homeschool instead! Either with an online program through the school system or with something completely different of your/his choosing.
•    Anonymous said… I would love to homeschool my daughter but I am afraid she will use that online time for computer games or unrelated school things.
•    Anonymous said… No it's not. It's just a different way that they see the world. All they may hear is 'you're a failure' rather than 'you need to do xy and z to succeed' and that will just push them in a downward spiral.
•    Anonymous said… Same boat. My son is very close to high school exam and he does not have motivation to study. I am thinking of a new environment for him however Vietnam does not yet have homeschooling or online learning for high school. I dont know what to do. Pls advise! Thanks.
•    Anonymous said… Sometimes it's a matter of giving him the environment he needs. Does your state have online school? If he can do his studies in the comfort of his own home where you can easily review his progress , that might be a better way.
•    Anonymous said… That's justification for poor choices on the part of the Aspie.

Post your comment below…

Teaching Children and Teens with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism

In this post, we will look at (a) the major challenges that Aspergers (high functioning autistic) students face in an educational setting, and (b) the appropriate classroom accommodations that teachers can utilize:

Poor Motor Coordination— 
Students with Aspergers are physically clumsy and awkward; have stiff, awkward gaits; are unsuccessful in games involving motor skills; and experience fine-motor deficits that can cause penmanship problems, slow clerical speed and affect their ability to draw.

Classroom Accommodations—
1. Students with Aspergers may require a highly individualized cursive program that entails tracing and copying on paper, coupled with motor patterning on the blackboard. The educator guides the student's hand repeatedly through the formation of letters and letter connections and also uses a verbal script. Once the student commits the script to memory, he can talk himself or herself through letter formations independently.

2. Do not push the student to participate in competitive sports, as his poor motor coordination may only invite frustration and the teasing of team members. The student with Aspergers lacks the social understanding of coordinating one's own actions with those of others on a team.

3. Individuals with Aspergers may need more than their peers to complete exams (taking exams in the resource room not only offer more time but would also provide the added structure and educator redirection these students need to focus on the task at hand).

4. Involve the student with Aspergers in a health/fitness curriculum in physical education, rather than in a competitive sports program.

5. Refer the student with Aspergers for adaptive physical education program if gross motor problems are severe.

6. When assigning timed units of work, make sure the student's slower writing speed is taken into account.

7. Younger students with Aspergers benefit from guidelines drawn on paper that help them control the size and uniformity of the letters they write. This also forces them to take the time to write carefully.

Academic Difficulties— 
Students with Aspergers usually have average to above-average intelligence (especially in the verbal sphere) but lack high level thinking and comprehension skills. They tend to be very literal: Their images are concrete, and abstraction is poor. Their pedantic speaking style and impressive vocabularies give the false impression that they understand what they are talking about, when in reality they are merely parroting what they have heard or read. The student with Aspergers frequently has an excellent rote memory, but it is mechanical in nature; that is, the student may respond like a video that plays in set sequence. Problem-solving skills are poor.

Classroom Accommodations—
1. Academic work may be of poor quality because the student with Aspergers is not motivated to exert effort in areas in which he is not interested. Very firm expectations must be set for the quality of work produced. Work executed within timed periods must be not only complete but done carefully. The student with Aspergers should be expected to correct poorly executed class work during recess or during the time he usually pursues his own interests.

2. Capitalize on these students' exceptional memory: Retaining factual information is frequently their forte.

3. Students with Aspergers often have excellent reading recognition skills, but language comprehension is weak. Do not assume they understand what they so fluently read.

4. Do not assume that students with Aspergers understand something just because they parrot back what they have heard.

5. Emotional nuances, multiple levels of meaning, and relationship issues as presented in novels will often not be understood.

6. Offer added explanation and try to simplify when lesson concepts are abstract.

7. Provide a highly individualized academic program engineered to offer consistent successes. The student with Aspergers needs great motivation to not follow his own impulses. Learning must be rewarding and not anxiety-provoking.

8. The writing assignments of children with Aspergers are often repetitious, flit from one subject to the next, and contain incorrect word connotations. These students frequently do not know the difference between general knowledge and personal ideas and therefore assume the educator will understand their sometimes abstruse expressions.

Emotional Vulnerability—
Students with Aspergers have the intelligence to compete in regular education but they often do not have the emotional resources to cope with the demands of the classroom. These students are easily stressed due to their inflexibility. Self-esteem is low, and they are often very self-critical and unable to tolerate making mistakes. Individuals with Aspergers, especially teens, may be prone to depression (a high percentage of depression in adults with Aspergers has been documented). Rage reactions/temper outbursts are common in response to stress/frustration. Students with Aspergers rarely seem relaxed and are easily overwhelmed when things are not as their rigid views dictate they should be. Interacting with people and coping with the ordinary demands of everyday life take continual Herculean effort.

Classroom Accommodations—
1. Affect as reflected in the educator's voice should be kept to a minimum. Be calm, predictable, and matter-of-fact in interactions with the student with Aspergers, while clearly indicating compassion and patience. Hans Asperger, the psychiatrist for whom this syndrome is named, remarked that “the educator who does not understand that it is necessary to teach students [with Aspergers] seemingly obvious things will feel impatient and irritated.”

2. Be aware that teens with Aspergers are especially prone to depression. Social skills are highly valued in adolescence and the child with Aspergers realizes he is different and has difficulty forming normal relationships. Academic work often becomes more abstract, and the teen with Aspergers finds assignments more difficult and complex. In one case, educators noted that a teen with Aspergers was no longer crying over math assignments and therefore believed that he was coping much better. In reality, his subsequent decreased organization and productivity in math was believed to be function of his escaping further into his inner world to avoid the math, and thus he was not coping well at all.

3. Do not expect the student with Aspergers to acknowledge that he is sad/ depressed. In the same way that they cannot perceive the feelings of others, these students can also be unaware of their own feelings. They often cover up their depression and deny its symptoms.

4. Educators must be alert to changes in behavior that may indicate depression, such as even greater levels of disorganization, inattentiveness, and isolation; decreased stress threshold; chronic fatigue; crying; suicidal remarks; and so on. Do not accept the student's assessment in these cases that he is "OK".

5. It is critical that teens with Aspergers who are mainstreamed have an identified support staff member with whom they can check in at least once daily. This person can assess how well he is coping by meeting with him daily and gathering observations from other educators.

6. Prevent outbursts by offering a high level of consistency. Prepare these students for changes in daily routine, to lower stress (see "Resistance to Change" section). Students with Aspergers frequently become fearful, angry, and upset in the face of forced or unexpected changes.

7. Report symptoms to the student's therapist or make a mental health referral so that the student can be evaluated for depression and receive treatment if this is needed. Because these students are often unable to assess their own emotions and cannot seek comfort from others, it is critical that depression be diagnosed quickly.

8. Students with Aspergers must receive academic assistance as soon as difficulties in a particular area are noted. These students are quickly overwhelmed and react much more severely to failure than do other students.

9. Students with Aspergers who are very fragile emotionally may need placement in a highly structured special education classroom that can offer individualized academic program. These students require a learning environment in which they see themselves as competent and productive. Accordingly, keeping them in the mainstream, where they cannot grasp concepts or complete assignments, serves only to lower their self-concept, increase their withdrawal, and set the stage for a depressive disorder. (In some situations, a personal aide can be assigned to the student with Aspergers rather than special education placement. The aide offers affective support, structure and consistent feedback.)

10. Teach the students how to cope when stress overwhelms him, to prevent outbursts. Help the student write a list of very concrete steps that can be followed when he becomes upset (e.g., 1-Breathe deeply three times; 2-Count the fingers on your right hand slowly three times; 3-Ask to see the special education educator, etc.). Include a ritualized behavior that the student finds comforting on the list. Write these steps on a card that is placed in the student's pocket so that they are always readily available.

Impairment in Social Interaction— 
Students with Aspergers show an inability to understand complex rules of social interaction; are naive; are extremely egocentric; may not like physical contact; talk at people instead of to them; do not understand jokes, irony or metaphors; use monotone or stilted, unnatural tone of voice; use inappropriate gaze and body language; are insensitive and lack tact; misinterpret social cues; cannot judge "social distance;" exhibit poor ability to initiate and sustain conversation; have well-developed speech but poor communication; are sometimes labeled "little professor" because speaking style is so adult-like and pedantic; are easily taken advantage of (do not perceive that others sometimes lie or trick them); and usually have a desire to be part of the social world.

Classroom Accommodations—
1. Although they lack personal understanding of the emotions of others, students with Aspergers can learn the correct way to respond. When they have been unintentionally insulting, tactless or insensitive, it must be explained to them why the response was inappropriate and what response would have been correct. Individuals with Aspergers must learn social skills intellectually: They lack social instinct and intuition.

2. Students with Aspergers tend to be reclusive; thus the educator must foster involvement with others. Encourage active socialization and limit time spent in isolated pursuit of interests. For instance, a educator's aide seated at the lunch table could actively encourage the student with Aspergers to participate in the conversation of his peers not only by soliciting his opinions and asking him questions, but also by subtly reinforcing other students who do the same.

3. Emphasize the proficient academic skills of the student with Aspergers by creating cooperative learning situations in which his reading skills, vocabulary, memory and so forth will be viewed as an asset by peers, thereby engendering acceptance.

4. In the higher age groups, attempt to educate peers about the student with Aspergers when social ineptness is severe by describing his social problems as a true disability. Praise classmates when they treat him with compassion. This task may prevent scapegoating, while promoting empathy and tolerance in the other students.

5. Most students with Aspergers want friends but simply do not know how to interact. They should be taught how to react to social cues and be given repertoires of responses to use in various social situations. Teach the students what to say and how to say it. Model two-way interactions and let them role-play. The student's social judgment improves only after they have been taught rules that others pick up intuitively. One adult with Aspergers noted that he had learned to "ape human behavior." A college professor with Aspergers remarked that her quest to understand human interactions made her "feel like an anthropologist from Mars".

6. Older children with Aspergers might benefit from a "buddy system." The educator can educate a sensitive nondisabled classmate about the situation of the student with Aspergers and seat them next to each other. The classmate could look out for the student with Aspergers on the bus, during recess, in the hallways and so forth, and attempt to include him in school activities.

7. Protect the student from bullying and teasing.

Restricted Range of Interests— 
Students with Aspergers have eccentric preoccupations or odd, intense fixations (sometimes obsessively collecting unusual things). They tend to relentlessly "lecture" on areas of interest; ask repetitive questions about interests; have trouble letting go of ideas; follow own inclinations regardless of external demands; and sometimes refuse to learn about anything outside their limited field of interest.

Classroom Accommodations—
1. Do not allow the student with Aspergers to perseveratively discuss or ask questions about isolated interests. Limit this behavior by designating a specific time during the day when the student can talk about this. For example: A student with Aspergers who was fixated on animals and had innumerable questions about a class pet turtle knew that he was allowed to ask these questions only during recesses. This was part of his daily routine and he quickly learned to stop himself when he began asking these kinds of questions at other times of the day.

2. For particularly recalcitrant students, it may be necessary to initially individualize all assignments around their interest area (e.g., if the interest is dinosaurs, then offer grammar sentences, math word problems and reading and spelling tasks about dinosaurs). Gradually introduce other topics into assignments.

3. Some students with Aspergers will not want to do assignments outside their area of interest. Firm expectations must be set for completion of class work. It must be made very clear to the student with Aspergers that he is not in control and that he must follow specific rules. At the same time, however, meet the students halfway by giving them opportunities to pursue their own interests.

4. Children can be given assignments that link their interest to the subject being studied. For example, during a social studies unit about a specific country, a student obsessed with trains might be assigned to research the modes of transportation used by people in that country.

5. Use of positive reinforcement selectively directed to shape a desired behavior is the critical strategy for helping the student with Aspergers. These students respond to compliments (e.g., in the case of a relentless question-asker, the educator might consistently praise him as soon as he pauses and congratulate him for allowing others to speak). These students should also be praised for simple, expected social behavior that is taken for granted in other students.

6. Use the student's fixation as a way to broaden his repertoire of interests. For instance, during a unit on rain forests, the child with Aspergers who was obsessed with animals was led to not only study rain forest animals but to also study the forest itself, as this was the animals' home. He was then motivated to learn about the local people who were forced to chop down the animals' forest habitat in order to survive.

Insistence on Sameness— 
Students with Aspergers are easily overwhelmed by minimal change, are highly sensitive to environmental stressors, and sometimes engage in rituals. They are anxious and tend to worry obsessively when they do not know what to expect; stress, fatigue and sensory overload easily throw them off balance.

Classroom Accommodations—
1. Allay fears of the unknown by exposing the student to the new activity, educator, class, school, camp and so forth beforehand, and as soon as possible after he is informed of the change, to prevent obsessive worrying. (For instance, when the student with Aspergers must change schools, he should meet the new educator, tour the new school and be apprised of his routine in advance of actual attendance. School assignments from the old school might be provided the first few days so that the routine is familiar to the student in the new environment. The receiving educator might find out the student's special areas of interest and have related books or activities available on the student's first day.)

2. Avoid surprises: Prepare the student thoroughly and in advance for special activities, altered schedules, or any other change in routine, regardless of how minimal.

3. Minimize transitions.

4. Offer consistent daily routine: The student with Aspergers must understand each day's routine and know what to expect in order to be able to concentrate on the task at hand.

5. Provide a predictable and safe environment.

Poor Concentration—
Students with Aspergers are often off task, distracted by internal stimuli; are very disorganized; have difficulty sustaining focus on classroom activities (often it is not that the attention is poor but, rather, that the focus is "odd" ; the individual with Aspergers cannot figure out what is relevant, so attention is focused on irrelevant stimuli); tend to withdrawal into complex inner worlds in a manner much more intense than is typical of daydreaming and have difficulty learning in a group situation.

Classroom Accommodations—
1. A tremendous amount of regimented external structure must be provided if the student with Aspergers is to be productive in the classroom. Assignments should be broken down into small units, and frequent educator feedback and redirection should be offered.

2. Students with severe concentration problems benefit from timed work sessions. This helps them organize themselves. Class work that is not completed within the time limit (or that is done carelessly) within the time limit must be made up during the student's own time (i.e., during recess or during the time used for pursuit of special interests). Students with Aspergers can sometimes be stubborn; they need firm expectations and a structured program that teaches them that compliance with rules leads to positive reinforcement (this kind of program motivates the student with Aspergers to be productive, thus enhancing self-esteem and lowering stress levels, because the student sees himself as competent).

3. If a buddy system is used, sit the student's buddy next to him so the buddy can remind the student with Aspergers to return to task or listen to the lesson.

4. In the case of mainstreamed children with Aspergers, poor concentration, slow clerical speed and severe disorganization may make it necessary to lessen his homework/class work load and/or provide time in a resource room where a special education educator can provide the additional structure the student needs to complete class work and homework (some students with Aspergers are so unable to concentrate that it places undue stress on moms and dads to expect that they spend hours each night trying to get through homework with their student).

5. Seat the student with Aspergers at the front of the class and direct frequent questions to him to help him attend to the lesson.

6. The educator must actively encourage the student with Aspergers to leave his inner thoughts/ fantasies behind and refocus on the real world. This is a constant battle, as the comfort of that inner world is believed to be much more attractive than anything in real life. For young students, even free play needs to be structured, because they can become so immersed in solitary, ritualized fantasy play that they lose touch with reality. Encouraging a student with Aspergers to play a board game with one or two others under close supervision not only structures play but offers an opportunity to practice social skills.

7. Work out a nonverbal signal with the student (e.g., a gentle pat on the shoulder) for times when he is not attending.

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

Aspergers Summer Camps

The Learning Camp
Vail, Colorado, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Phone: 970-524-2706
The Learning Camp delivers twelve years of building confidence and academic success in males and females 7-14 with ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia and other learning differences. Located in the Vail Valley of CO…

Camp Kodiak
McKellar, Ontario, Canada
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 877-569-7595
Phone: 705-389-1910
Integrated, non-competitive camp for kids & adolescents with & without ADHD, LD, NLD, & AS. Social skills & academic programs, 50+ sports & activities, professional staff, 2-to-1 ratio, lakeside cabins...

Camp Caglewood
Suwanee, Georgia, USA
Camp Type: Residential | Day | Adult
Toll-Free: 800-979-2829
Phone: 678-405-9000
Camp Caglewood provides weekend camping and day trip programming for kids and adults with special needs...

Camp Discovery
Pacific Palisades, California, USA
Camp Type: Day
Phone: 818-501-5522
Camp Discovery is an outdoor day camp for kids ages 3 – 10 with mild or moderate special needs. Camp Discovery offers a 1:3 therapist to youngster ratio. All of our therapists have special training to...

Social and Sensory Camps
Campbell, California, USA
Camp Type: Day
Phone: 408-871-8711
The Lighthouse Project offers a wide range of summer camps for high functioning kids with Nonverbal Learning Disorders, Asperger's, high functioning Autism, and Attention Deficits...

Camp Buckskin
Ely, Minnesota, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Phone: 218-365-2121
We have been helping young people with AD/HD, LD, and Aspergers to become more successful since 1959. We offer instruction in both traditional camp and some academic activities in our scenic Northwoods…

Oregon Trails
Redmond, Oregon, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 888-458-8226
Phone: 828-697-6313
Hiking trips for adolescents with Asperger's syndrome or ADHD take place in the Redmond, Oregon area...

Winston Preparatory Summer Enrichment Program
New York, New York, USA
Camp Type: Day
Phone: 646-638-2705 x 688
Winston Preparatory Summer Enrichment provides students with the unique opportunity to participate in an individually designed program aimed to enhance academic skills. Each student receives daily…

Frontier Travel Camp
Miami Shores, Florida, USA
Camp Type: Travel
Toll-Free: 866-750-CAMP
Phone: 305-895-1123
Summer travel program for those with special needs. With quality staff and accommodations, Frontier travels throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere…

Kinark Outdoor Centre
Minden, Ontario, Canada
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 800-805-8252
Phone: 705-286-3555
The Kinark Outdoor Centre is a program of Kinark Child and Family Services facilitating skill development, social recreation, family enrichment and adventure based programs for kids and families ...

Summit Camp
Honesdale, Pennsylvania, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 800-323-9908
Phone: 570-253-4381
Sumimt Camp & Travel offers camping for males and females with attention, social, or learning issues...

Camp Huntington
High Falls, New York, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 866-514-5281
Phone: 845-687-7840
Camp Huntington is a co-ed, residential, seven-week program for kids and young adults with a variety of special needs. Our program is designed to maximize a youngster's potential and develop their…

Seattle, Washington, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 888-458-8226
Phone: 888-458-8226
Northwestern adventures for kids with Asperger's, NLD, ADHD, or other social skills needs...

Camp Kirk
Kirkfield, Ontario, Canada
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 1-866-982-3310
Phone: 416-782-3310
Camp Kirk is a wholesome experience for kids with learning disabilities and/or ADHD, and those with incontinence or enuresis(bed wetting) difficulties set in the beautiful Canadian countryside...

Ko-Ach Adventures
Temagami, Ontario, Canada
Camp Type: Residential | Tours | Family | Adult
Phone: 647-298-1860
Ko-Ach Adventures provides meaningful summer programming to young people and young diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Aspergers Syndrome or a mild to moderate developmental delay...

Turn-About Ranch
Escalante, Utah, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 866-280-1764
Phone: 435-826-4240
Real ranch. Real values. Real change. Turn-About Ranch is a working horse and cow ranch for adolescents...

Charis Hills
Ingram, Texas, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 888-681-2173
Phone: 325-247-4999
Charis Hills is a Christian, co-ed, residential summer camp which helps kids with learning differences build confidence and find success. We welcome kids with ADHD, LD, ED, and Asperger’s...

Camp Connect
Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA
Camp Type: Day
Phone: 508-697-7557
For Kids & Adolescents with Asperger's Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, and related challenges...

Turn-About Ranch
Lake Saranac, New York, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 888-458-8226
Phone: 828-697-6313

Northwestern, Washington, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 888-458-8226
Phone: 888-458-8226
Talisail is a sailing program for adolescents (13-17 y/o) with Asperger’s, high-functioning Autism, or ADHD/LD, and takes place in the world-class waters of the San Juan archipelago in Northwestern Washington…

Camp Akeela
Thetford Center, Vermont, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 866-680-4744
Phone: 802-333-4843
Camp Akeela is a co-ed, overnight camp in Vermont. Within a well-rounded and traditional program we emphasize the social growth of our campers, many of whom have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome…

Camp Northwood
Remsen, New York, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Phone: 315-831-3621
Providing quality programming to a coed population of 165 kids in need of structure and individualization. The Camp Northwood program is oriented toward a population of learning challenged/ADHD...

Talisman Programs
Zirconia, North Carolina, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 888-458-8226
Phone: 828-697-6313
Talisman Programs are designed specifically for kids and teenagers with ADHD, learning disabilities, Aspergers, and similar social and behavioral needs. Our activities focus on building confidence...

Summit Travel
Honesdale, Pennsylvania, USA
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 800-323-9908
Phone: 570-253-4381
Sumimt Camp & Travel offers camping for males and females with attention, social, or learning issues...

Camp Kennebec
Arden, Ontario, Canada
Camp Type: Residential
Toll-Free: 1-877-335-2114
Phone: 613-335-2114
Camp Kennebec is an inclusive residential camp for kids with various learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, ASD, and other social and behavioural exceptionalities. Camp Kennebec offers...

Blooming Acres
Oro Station, Ontario, Canada
Phone: 705-487-3076
The Blooming Acres summer Camp is a therapeutic agricultural, recreational and vocational experience for kids, teenagers and adults diagnosed with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and other related…

Circle of Friends Social Skills Camp
Marietta, Georgia, USA
Phone: 770-352-9952
Day camp for social skills training and friendship development for kids with special needs…

Extreme Sports Camp
Aspen, Colorado, USA
Phone: 970-920-3695
Extreme Sports Camp is an overnight summer camp in Aspen, Colorado, where older kids with autism spectrum disorders can safely engage in sustained physical activities and find personal growth through…

Ranch Camp at Down Home Ranch
Elgin, Texas, USA
Phone: 512-856-0128

HI-STEP Summer Social Skills Program Camp
Somerset, New Jersey, USA
Phone: 732-873-1212
HI-STEP (formerly Stepping Stone) Summer Social Skills Program / Camp in New Jersey may serve as Special Education Extended School Year (ESY) program…

Camp Health Hope and Happiness
Seba Beach, Alberta, Canada
Camp Health, Hope & Happiness is the only camp in Alberta that accepts, and provides programs, for individuals who have any type and any degree of disability or illness…

Confidence Connection
Wellelsey, Massachusetts, USA
Serving kids ages 4-12, with Autism/PDD, Asperger’s, developmental and speech/language delays…

The Monarch School Summer Program
Houston, Texas, USA
The Monarch School offers a 5-week summer program with an emphasis on Executive Functioning, Relationship Development, Academic Competence, and Self-Regulation…

Camp Maple Leaf
Wallingford, Vermont, USA
A FUN summer day camp experience (ages 8-17) that teaches social/ relaxation skills to individuals diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, Asperger's Syndrome, PDD, and HFA…

Summer Sensations
Columbia, Maryland, USA
Sensory Motor Full Day Camp carefully designed for kids with sensory processing differences…

Mitchell's Place
Irondale, Alabama, USA
Mitchell's Place developed out of one family's need to provide their son with comprehensive treatment that would address his specific needs and enhance his many strengths…

Rock Climbing Social Skills Group
Huntington Beach, California, USA
Rock Climbing Social Skills Group

Sense Abilities For Kids
Leesburg, Virginia, USA
Our Special Needs Summer Camp offers kids of all abilities to explore their world using touch, movement, body awareness, sight and sound…

St Francis Camp on the Lake
Jerome, Michigan, USA
St Francis Camp serves the needs of our special campers aged 8 - 80. We are located near Jerome MI...

Camp Rise Above
San Diego, California, USA
Camp Rise Above is a specialized summer camp for kids who don’t enjoy the typical summer camps with 30+ kids and low supervision. Our camp is a small group environment where every youngster receives…

Expressions at George School
Newtown, Pennsylvania, USA
Expressions is a day camp designed specifically for males and females ages 7-15 with High Functioning Autism, Apserger's Syndrome, Nonverbal Learning Disabilities and other similar social challenges...

Wediko New Hampshire Summer Program
Windsor, New Hampshire, USA
A 45-day therapeutic residential program that provides academic instruction, experiential education, group therapy, family therapy, milieu therapy, and psychiatric consultation to kids aged 6-18…

YouthCare MGH
Charlestown and Westwood, Massachusetts, USA
Founded in 1969, YouthCare offers a fun-filled seven-week therapeutic day camp for kids through age 14. Each camp day consists of recreational activities as well as therapeutic groups and…

Gulf Islands Film and Television School
Galiano Island, British Columbia, Canada
Intensive weeklong and monthlong media production programs for young people & adults. Students produce short films in teams of four. Rural island off the west coast of B.C.

Advantage Riding Academy
Merrimac, Massachusetts, USA
Horseback riding from the therapeutic to advanced level…

Spectra Academy
Montclair, New Jersey, USA
This is a new program for kids and adolescents with Asperger’s disorder, high functioning autism and those with related social pragmatic difficulties aged 8-14. Kids in this spectrum need…

Ogunquit, Maine, USA
A SUMMER CAMP FARM EXPERIENCE FOR SOCIAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT CAMP CARD NE is a social enrichment program for kids with an autism spectrum disorder…

Camp Maple Leaf
Wallingford, Vermont, USA
A fun camp experience that focuses on social skills and leisure/relaxation skills development for kids and adolescents diagnosed with: Nonverbal Learning Disabilities Asperger's Syndrome…

SL Start
Boise, Idaho, USA
Day camp providing Developmental Therapy and Intensive Behavioral Intervention to kids 3-12...

Cincinnati Occupational Therapy Institute
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Summer experiences for kids with sensory processing disorder and other sensory and motor problems...

Camp STAR Summer Treatment for ADHD
Highland Park, Illinois, USA
Camp STAR is an evidence-based DAY camp for kids with behavioral, social and emmotional issues run but clinical staff from the University of Illinois Chicago, and NCYS North Shore Day Camp…

Camp New Connections
Belmont, Massachusetts, USA
Camp New Connections is a Summer Pragmatic Language Program for kids and adolescents with Asperger's Disorder, PDD-NOS, and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities...

Camp Excel
Allenwood (Wall Twp), New Jersey, USA
Camp Excel is a specialized summer camp for kids ADHD and others with Social Skills Challenges. We focus on developing social skills and the social awareness necessary for better relationships...

92nd Street Y Camp Bari Tov and Camp Tova
New York, New York, USA
92nd St. Y’s nurturing day camps for developmentally disabled kids ages 5-13. Bari Tov offers 1-to-1 supervision, while Tova provides a small group structure at our beautiful upstate campground…

Achieve Fluency Learning Camp
Stamford, Connecticut, USA
AFLC is a summer camp for kids with and without special learning needs age 4-12. Our unique program offers kids a great opportunity to receive special attention for their language, academic…

Children with Autism Making Progress
South Pasadena, California, USA
C.A.M.P. is based on the fundamental belief that kids with autism experience life with a super sensitivity unlike typically developing kids…

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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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.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content