Asperger S Syndrome

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A short presentation on Asperger's Syndrome & how it affects a child's functioning in school.

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Asperger S Syndrome

  1. 1. Asperger’s Syndrome in the Schools Presented by Jil Matthews Teacher Consultant-ASD Programs Dearborn Public Schools
  2. 2. What Is Asperger’s Syndrome? <ul><li>Person has diminished nonverbal communication and social interaction, but normal (or superior) vocabulary and cognitive development </li></ul><ul><li>Neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a number of areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Atypical sensitivity to sensory input </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problems with motor and coordination skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pragmatic language (verbal and nonverbal) difficulties </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Facts about Asperger’s Syndrome (AKA, Myth Busting) <ul><li>AS is NOT a behavior disorder </li></ul><ul><li>AS cannot be empirically or medically determined (e.g., with blood tests, CT scans, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>AS is four times more common in boys than girls </li></ul><ul><li>AS has symptoms that make it difficult to accurately diagnose/differentiate from other disorders </li></ul>
  4. 4. Asperger’s Is A Daisy… … the more petals you find, the better the diagnosis.
  5. 5. Asperger’s Description “intelligent, a fluent but original language user, clumsy, assiduous pursuer of idiosyncratic interests, and cut off from others by a subtle but pervasive oddity which permeates every social encounter.”
  6. 6. Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome <ul><li>Perseveration on specific topics of interest </li></ul><ul><li>Insistence on sameness/difficulty with changes in routine </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulty with reciprocal conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Inability to make and keep true friends </li></ul><ul><li>Socially naîve, literal thinkers </li></ul><ul><li>Low frustration tolerance </li></ul><ul><li>Poor coping strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Problem-solving abilities tend to be poor </li></ul><ul><li>Impulsivity </li></ul><ul><li>Poor concentration </li></ul><ul><li>Emotional vulnerability/lability </li></ul><ul><li>Fine and/or gross motor problems </li></ul>
  7. 7. Now the confusing part… <ul><li>• Average to superior vocabulary; poor comprehension skills (oral/reading) </li></ul><ul><li>• Phenomenal memory for minutiae in area of interest; can’t memorize simple facts for a test </li></ul><ul><li>• Unusual mental math ability; can’t pass a “Mad Minute” </li></ul><ul><li>• Can remember things that were said-verbatim-days, sometimes years, earlier, but can’t tell you what they had for dinner last night </li></ul><ul><li>• Want friends; have NO IDEA how to make friends (or how to avoid making enemies) </li></ul><ul><li>• May SEEM to tell lies/manipulate---actually telling you what you/they WANT to have happened (e.g., Telling Mom, who he sees as being worried about his homework completion, that he has no homework…even when he does!) </li></ul><ul><li>• ” Really smart”…but failing (several) classes </li></ul><ul><li>• Extreme interest in one area (art, music, science)…but failing that subject! </li></ul>
  8. 8. Behavior IS Communication! <ul><li>Behaviors of people with AS/ASD are often misinterpreted </li></ul><ul><li>Stress/anxiety are common </li></ul><ul><li>See the world as unpredictable and threatening (which is why children with AS tend to prefer adult interaction …we’re more predictable than children…or teenagers!) </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t (CAN’T) access the thinking area of the brain under stress (often can’t speak under stress, so “act out”) </li></ul><ul><li>Can’t accurately read social cues; often misinterpret situations; mis-read basic emotions of others </li></ul><ul><li>“ Manipulative” behavior is a way of having NEEDS (not wants) met, when they can’t find another way </li></ul>
  9. 9. Academic Difficulties <ul><li>“ Adversely affects educational performance” </li></ul><ul><li>Standardized test scores differ significantly from day-to-day school performance </li></ul><ul><li>Pragmatic language impairments affect every aspect of life---home, school, community </li></ul><ul><li>Inability to organize himself (or maintain an organizational system, when one is created “for” him) </li></ul><ul><li>Perception of teachers when grades don’t match perceived ability </li></ul>
  10. 10. What Teachers Can Do In A Classroom <ul><li>Teacher-selected groups…and seating </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize student strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a predictable, safe environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual cues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Firm, consistent expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frequent positive, genuine, specific feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structured day/class period (agenda on the board) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accommodations for assignments, as needed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide adequate “wait time” and/or “priming” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep instructions simple </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow typing vs. handwriting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Positive behavior management techniques </li></ul>
  11. 11. Factors That May Escalate a Crisis <ul><li>Judgmental or emotional responses </li></ul><ul><li>Arguing </li></ul><ul><li>ASSUMING intentionality and/or ability to control behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Sarcasm, nagging, ultimatums </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental changes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Substitute teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assemblies, fire/disaster drills, class changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Calling in the cavalry” </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Factors that May Diffuse a Crisis <ul><li>Have a plan---and follow it! </li></ul><ul><li>Remain calm </li></ul><ul><li>Honor personal space </li></ul><ul><li>State expectations calmly but firmly </li></ul><ul><li>Allow options, if possible (e.g., “What will help you to calm down?” or “Do you want to go to Mr. TC’s office or Ms. SW’s?”) </li></ul><ul><li>Give person adequate attention, but avoid staring </li></ul>

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