Aspergers for Teachers 1


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A powerpoint presentation to introduce teachers to Asperger's Syndrome and ways to deal with it in the classroom.

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Aspergers for Teachers 1

  1. 1. Be et ho ven John Denver Cha rles n Ay kroyd Dick o ns onAl Gore Da Jim s Hin a te son il lG B Charles Schulz Albert Einstein Ro bin Bob Dylan Wil liam s Thomas Edison Emily Dickinson Mark Twain
  2. 2. A Teacher’s Guide toAsperger’sSyndrome
  3. 3. What is Asperger’s Syndrome? An autism spectrum disorder that effects language and communication skills Children with AS have trouble reading facial expressions and peoples’ gestures They find it difficult to identify and express their feelings They may also have a hard time connecting to other people, such as classmates
  4. 4. Whom does Asperger’s Syndrome affect? Over 400,000 families are affected by Asperger’s Syndrome It is estimated that 1 out of every 88 children will be diagnosed with the disorder Asperger’s Syndrome affects boys more often than girls -1/54 boys 1/252 girls AS is usually diagnosed between the ages of 5 and 9 however early detection is the goal (age 2)
  5. 5. Common Signs of Asperger’s Syndrome Peculiar mannerisms such as odd speech patterns (they may sound like “little professors”) Few facial expressions and difficulty reading others’ body language Unusual sensitivity to light, sound, smell, taste & touch Obsessions with a single topic such as music, dinosaurs, cars or the mechanics of a toaster A need for routines, rituals and consistency (such as a familiar morning routine) Lack of “common sense” and an inability to identify social cues
  6. 6. Don’t try this at home (or school)! Don’t use humor, sarcasm or idioms without explaining what you mean Don’t ignore the student’s complaints, no matter how menial they seem to you Don’t randomly change the child’s schedule, routine or rituals without warning the child Don’t confront the child in a public setting Don’t ignore or minimize the signs and symptoms … Ignoring negative behavior doesn’t make it go away! It escalates the situation.
  7. 7. How do I help my students?There are 5 domains that need to be addressed. They include communication skills, social interaction skills, sensory skills, behavior skills and academic skills
  8. 8. Communication Skills What does the problem look like?  Difficulty asking for help or figuring out what the task entails  Easily confused by complex directions  Talking at the same time as others  Making statements that seem “out of the blue”  Saying things that seem disrespectful, inappropriate or argumentative
  9. 9. Communication Skills How do I help?  Break complex directions down into “smaller pieces”  Repeat instructions, being careful not to rephrase because the student may still be processing your first set of instructions  Make clear, precise statements  Physically SHOW them where they are supposed to be in their work or reading when they have “fazed out”  Explain sarcasm, metaphors, and idioms as words with a double meaning  Help the student find a phrase or signal for when he or she does not understand directions
  10. 10. Social Interaction Skills What does the problem look like?  Inability to read facial cues or body language  Unable pick up on verbal and non-verbal social cues  Difficulty making small talk or conversation  Trouble understanding emotions of themselves and others  Clumsy, not coordinated
  11. 11. Social Interaction Skills How do I help?  Protect the student from bullying and teasing  Pair the student with a buddy who can act as a “social mentor”  Know the difference when he is isolated by choice and when he is isolated because peers won’t include him  Explain Asperger’s Syndrome to classmates  Help the student understand the use of humor
  12. 12. Sensory Skills What does the problem look like?  Increased sensitivity to sound, light, taste, touch and smell (to the point of having a meltdown)  A student with AS is prone to notice the tapping of a pencil or the humming of the overhead fluorescent light (IT WILL DRIVE THEM CRAZY)  Sensitivities may make him anxious, stressed or over-react  Difficulty staying focused because of sensitivities  The need to deal with the sensitivity quickly because he may get overwhelmed and over-react
  13. 13. Sensory Skills How do I help?  Predict sensory/environmental changes and make the student aware of them before they occur, giving him or her a chance to prepare and adjust  Provide a personal, quiet space for the student to relax and collect his or her thoughts  Allow the student to have a calming item to use when experiencing sensory issues (i.e. a stress ball, worry rock, etc)
  14. 14. Behavior Skills What does the problem look like?  Seemingly Egocentric  Easily annoyed, agitated and impatient  Tendency to state exactly what is on his mind  Mood swings – withdrawn and unable to engage at times, and hyper at other times  A perfectionist – really hard on himself or others when a mistake is made  Inclination to get “stuck” thinking about a problem or special interest
  15. 15. Behavior Skills How do I help?  Model acceptance of the student for her peers  Don’t take the student’s comments personally  Use the student’s special interest to engage her in conversation or class discussion  Be consistent and clear in your expectations  Teach the student replacement behaviors for when she is frustrated, angry or anxious
  16. 16. Academic Skills What does the problem look like?  Strong in concrete subjects such as math and science, while weak in abstract areas such as language arts  Unable to find the “main idea”, because everything or nothing is important to him  Avoiding a certain subject he is uncomfortable with or uncertain of  Over-stimulated by lengthy activities
  17. 17. Academic Skills How do I help?  Be calm, matter-of-fact and predictable when teaching  Give materials/directions orally and visually  Use concrete examples when teaching  Use predictable classroom routines, rules and expectations  Provide frequent, positive feedback
  18. 18. As a teacher……. Try not to take it personally, it is not meant personally Look beyond the SYNDROME to the CHILD Remember that allowing a student to “level the playing field” does not take away an opportunity from other children or give the AS child an advantage
  19. 19. Where can I find more information?