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  • 1. Asperger Syndrome: Defined and Applied in the School Setting
    By Karen Hobbs
  • 2. History
    Term given by the Viennese psychiatrist, Hans Asperger, whose journal was the first to recognize the disability.
    Studied the “consistent pattern of abilities and behaviors” in males in 1944.
    In 1990, because of his work, “specific diagnostic criteria for Asperger's Syndrome was included in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition as well as the International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition.” (Stokes)
  • 3. Symptoms
    Characteristics may include all or some of the following:
    Inability or lack of desire to react with peers
    Socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior
    Repetitive adherence to self or others
    Speech and odd voice characteristics, including misinterpretations of literal-implied meanings
    Limited use of gestures or facial expressions
    Clumsiness (Nielsen)
  • 4. How does Asperger’s affect the brain?
    Research points to the idea that “during fetal development, embryonic cells in the brain affect the neural circuits controlling thoughts and behaviors” (Nielsen)
    Structural and functional differences in Temporal Lobe and the Amygdala parts of the brain (http://aspergerssymptoms.net/parents-of-aspergers-children-dont-be-intimidated)
  • 5. How is Asperger’s different from Autism?
    One of the five development disabilities classified within ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorders.
    Asperger's Syndrome is thought to be much less severe, allowing the child to fit in socially and developmentally with much more ease.
    Children with the disability tend to show intense, or obsessive interest in one or two very specific and narrow topics such as rocks or train schedules (Gates)
  • 6. Differences Highlighted
    The graph shows the differences in emotional intensity among the different ASD syndromes. Teachers should be aware of these differences to adequately diagnose and or teach these students. (http://www.ian community.org/cs/ian_research_questions/attention_and_mood_issues)
  • 7. School Performance
    Preschoolers may have high memorization skills with letter and numbers while obtaining better conversational speech and language patterns
    “Immature social skills and lack of peer-relationships” may be seen as a behavior issue from teachers and parents
    Middle school students have difficulty accepting individual differences and may be seen as eccentric (Nielsen)
  • 8. Asperger’s in the Classroom
    The following chart relates the amount of students with Aspergers who are completely integrated into the classroom versus those who are specifically designated to a Special Education classroom. With these numbers, it is vital that teachers understand that working with a child with Aspergers will most likely occur at some point in his or her career (http://www.ian community.org/cs/ian_research_reports/back_to_school_2008)
  • 9. Strategies for Teachers
    Curriculum should be presented both visually and orally with plenty gesturing and modeling (Nielsen)
    Be aware of sounds that may distract the student, while possibly “allowing the student to listen to soft music with headsets or using earplugs during class times including excessive noise”
    Minimizing transitions to insure the environment is predictable for the student (May)
  • 10. The TEACCH Technique
    Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-handicapped Children program.
    4 elements
    Pleasing physical structure of classroom
    Visual display of daily schedule
    Explanation of length and type of expected work
    Instructions visually and verbally explained (May)
  • 11. More Strategies
    Coupling a “buddy” with the student while arranging a seating chart.
    Scope and sequence training involves teaching a student the tone of a person's voice
    Use student as a teacher’s aide when appropriate
    Do not use vague terms such as “perhaps, maybe and later” (Nielsen)
  • 12. Things Teachers should Remember
    • Inclusive classrooms give them the opportunity to have their intellectual capacity challenged and nurtured (Nielsen)
    Remember that if the student repeats words or consistently talks to himself, this is not a sign of disrespect; the teacher should make positive reinforcements, not disciplinary actions
    “Consider all the elements involved in public education and not just deciding which area to modify” (May)
  • 13. References
    http://aspergerssymptoms.net/parents-of-aspergers-children-dont-be-intimidated. 15 FEB 2010. 28 JUL 2010.
    http://www.iancommunity.org/cs/ian_research_questions/attention_and_mood_issues. Image “Classroom Setting” and “Issues of Mood and Attention: Children with ASDs (All Ages).
    Gates, Donna. “What is Asperger's Syndrome? How Does it Differ from Autism, 
and Can it Be Overcome?” BodyEcology.com. 28 JUL 2010. http://www.body ecology.com/07/10/04/what_is_aspergers.php.
    May, Kelly. “Teaching Strategies for Asperger's Students. New Horizons For Learning. 28 JUL 2010. http://www.newhorizons.org/spneeds/autism/may.htm#.
    Nielsen, Lee. Brief Reference of Student Disabilities. “Asperger’sSyndrome”p. 42-49. Corwin Press, California; 8th edition, 2009.
    Stokes, Susan. “Children with Asperger's Syndrome: Characteristics/Learning Styles and Intervention Strategies.” 28 JUL 2010. http://www.specialed.us/autism/asper/asper11.html.