Asperger Syndrome Managing and Organizing the Environment
The Basics of AutismSpectrum Disorders Training Series Regional Autism Advisory Council of Southwest Ohio (RAAC-SWO) RAAC Training Committee 2011
Training Series Modules Module One: Autism Defined, Autism Prevalence and Primary Characteristics Module Two: Physical Characteristics of Autism Module Three: Cognition and Learning in Autism Module Four: Getting the Student Ready to Learn Module Five: Structuring the Classroom Environment Module Six: Using Reinforcement in the Classroom
Training Series Modules Module Seven: Autism and Sensory Differences Module Eight: Sensory in the Classroom Module Nine: Communication and Autism Module Ten: Communication in the Classroom Module Eleven: Behavior Challenges and Autism Module Twelve: Understanding Behavior in Students with Autism
Training Series Modules Module Thirteen: Social Skills in the School Environment Module Fourteen: Functional Behavior Assessment Module Fifteen: Working Together as a Team Module Sixteen: Autism and Leisure Skills to Teach Module Seventeen: Special Issues of Adolescence Module Eighteen: Safety and Autism Module Nineteen: Special Issues: High School, Transition, and Job Readiness
Training Series Modules Module Twenty: Asperger’s Syndrome: Managing and Organizing the Environment Module Twenty-One: Asperger‟s Syndrome: Addressing Social Skills
Characteristics of Students with Asperger Syndrome Difficulty in social understanding and Difficulty in understanding and social skills discussing feelings Sensory issues Often show limited interest in others Often interact more successfully Strong preference for sameness with adults or younger children than same-aged peers Excessive time and energy devoted to special interests Difficulty establishing and maintaining friendships Attention challenges Difficulty understanding and using Poor organizational skills body language (i.e., eye gaze, gestures, and facial expression) Difficulty regulating their emotions May repeat back information without Poor handwriting comprehending the content Impaired gross motor skills Often fail to seek clarification when (Brenda Smith Myles, 2006) they do not understand something
Asperger SyndromeAcademic performance usually ranges fromadequate to exceptional, but students withAsperger Syndrome are likely to haveincreased difficulty in the classroom settingsecondary to their difficulty withinterpersonal skills (relating to others),reading social cues, and working with peers ingroups and cooperative activities.
Big IdeaStudents with Asperger Syndrome can be misidentified as attention deficit or behavior concerns in the general education setting.
Managing the Environment Things to consider to help a student with Asperger Syndrome be more successful in a classroom include: Structuring seating arrangements Providing a „safe haven‟ Preparing the student for changes in the routine and/or schedule Operating on Asperger‟s time Teaching Routines Explicitly Simplifying the language Providing Visual Supports
Structuring Seating Arrangements Place the student next to an understanding “peer buddy” who can build a relationship with the student Consider the proximity of where the student sits. Some students may work most effectively seated near the teacher or near a quiet area. When organizing group work, avoid self-selection. Assign students to groups ensure that the student with Asperger‟s is assigned to an appropriate group.
Provide a „Safe Haven‟ Many students with Asperger‟s can become overwhelmed by noise, crowds, perceived chaos, or just the stress of engaging socially with peers. Students with Asperger‟s should have an identified place or person that is available to them to access when they are becoming overwhelmed. A set plan for „escape‟ should be written for when students with Asperger‟s get overwhelmed or upset in the classroom. Students should be taught how to request this break to the safe haven. Staff should be aware of what the pre-physical or verbal behaviors that a student may exhibit when they are beginning to get upset.
Prepare the Student for Changesin the Routine and/or Environment Most students with Asperger‟s need clear expectations and routines. This helps to reduce the anxiety that can overwhelm students. Whenever possible, explain changes in the routine well in advance. (“On Friday, we will have an assembly. That means that you will go straight from your second-period class to the auditorium.”) Indicate these changes in the student‟s schedule the day of by writing them or having a picture of the change.
Big Idea Be Pro-active. Many problem behaviorscan be avoided by pre-teaching skills or preparing students for changes in the environment.
Operate on Asperger‟s Time “Twice as much time, half as much done.” Make sure that the student has Modify Requirements ample time to complete For example, in math class organizational and related tasks students are given a such as: worksheet with 20 problems Taking out/organizing books, on it. Have the student do paper, pencil the first 10 problems, the odd Putting away materials number problems, etc. Finding and turning in Reduce or eliminate homework handwriting Moving from classroom to classroom Allow the student access to the computer or scribe Organizing backpack Dressing out for physical Avoid Rushing education Organizing materials to go home after school
SIMPLE MODIFICATIONS TO HELP STUDENTS WHO NEED TO OPERATE ON THEIR OWN TIMEReduce the number of problems on a page Have the student use a personal digital assistant orby (a) circling the problems that the pocket computer instead of a handwritten plannerstudent has to complete or (b) maskingthe problems that the student does notneed to completeChange short answer questions to Have the student dictate book reports and similartrue/false or multiple-choice questions assignments into a tape recorder instead of having to write by handAllow the student to dictate answers into Have another student write for the student witha tape recorder Asperger’s SyndromeAllow the student to use a computer for Use a time timer to allow the student to see timewritten assignments instead of having to passing visuallywrite them by handProvide a five, four, three, two, oneminute transition reminder
Teach RoutinesEnsure that students with Asperger‟s know the routine for how to do the following: How to ask for help How to make up missed work due to absences or related reasons How and when to sharpen pencils How to line up for lunch, recess, etc. When and what to throw away and where How to walk down the hall in a line with other students How to ask to go to the bathroom How to get ready to transition to How to obtain school supplies when another activity within the same they forgot to bring them to class class How and when to hand in homework How to get ready to transition to another activity that is not within the How to pass out papers same class How to organize materials on desk How to get ready for recess How to place school supplies in a How to get ready to go home locker, backpack or desk so that they are easily accessible What to do during free time How to navigate lunchtime
Simplify the Language Avoiding using idioms “Put your thinking caps on”, “Open your ears” and “Zipper your lips” will leave a student with Asperger‟s confused and wondering how to do that. Avoid using sarcasm If a student accidently knocks all your papers on the floor and you say “GREAT!” you will be taken literally and this behavior may be repeated on a regular basis.
Simplify your Language Comprehension is not guaranteed Repeat directions and ask for clarification Be simple and concrete It is more effective to say “Pens down, close your journals, and line up to go outside” than “It looks nice outside. Let‟s do our science lesson now. As soon as you‟ve finished your writing, close your books and line up at the door. We are going to study plants outdoors today.”
Simplify your Language Address the pupil individually at all times For example, the student may not realize that an instruction given to the whole class also includes him/her. Calling the student‟s name and saying "I need you to listen to this as this is something for you to do" can sometimes work; other times the student will need to be addressed individually.
Visual Supports While students with Asperger Syndrome have strong expressive skills, there may still be difficultly with understanding and comprehending the content presented during class. Visual supports help aid the students ability to process and understand the content presented in class. Visual supports provide structure and organization to information a student with Asperger Syndrome may find confusing.
Types of Visual Supports Written Schedules Graphic Organizers Organizational Checklists/Systems
Big IdeaJust because a student has good verbal skills does not mean that they have good comprehensionskills and understand is being saidto them. Test for understanding.