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  1. #1
    Kendall
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    Default asperger's syndrome

    Hi, I'm a grade 2 teacher from Ontario. In September I will have a student in my class who has asperger's syndrome. He is above average in all subjects but is quite disruptive in class. His behavior includes arm flapping, speaking out and distracting others. He generally is a nice little boy but he has a big problem socially. He talks very close to other students and has no friends because his behavior is so different. I would really like to help this student so that others will be more accepting of him. I've read several articles on directly teaching children with asperger's how to communicate properly with other students. I'm wondering what techniques other teachers have used and if they were successful.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    mvanpelt
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    Hi. I will teach first grade this year, after a year of K, and 4 years of K-6 self-contained. One of the students I had in sped for 4 years was a little boy with autism-high functioning. This boy could read when he started K, and could always read above grade level. (comprehension was poor though) He too has many social problems, makes noises, and is disruptive to class. One thing I have seen work with him while he is in the reg classroom, is to have him read aloud to his classmates. They are all amazed at his ability to read more difficult material than they know how to read. Study your student's IEP & file and find out as much information as you can. Having a reward of some sort may help your student stay on task longer. My student would cooperate better when he was working toward computer time, tape player, bubbles, etc. Caution: The reward soon lost it's appeal to him, and we had to change frequently. We all eventually learned to ignore foot-tapping, pencil-tapping, etc. and concentrated on more serious behaviors. These students are very challenging but can bring you great joy. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Member Space Invaders Champion scrivener's Avatar
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    I'm bumping this topic up in the hopes that someone might have something to add. Asperger's is finding its way into mainstream journalism more and more, and I'm wondering if anyone has something to contribute to these two excellent posts.

  4. #4
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    I have a sister who has autism and have worked with early childhood students who have autism as well. One thing you can't do is to expect the child to stop the distracting behaviors. What you can do is try to find an acceptable way for him to release those behaviors out. The main frustration of children with autism is that they cannot communicate and sometimes those quirky distracting behaviors are their way of communicating. For example, if he feels like he is about to flap his arms in the middle of class, he can go to a private corner of the room to let that out. If he is one that talks out alot, perhaps alter your day to where there are plenty of group discussion times where he is aloud to talk.

    As far as the kids accepting him....If they see that you accept him and don't feel uncomfortable around him, then they will be more likely to do the same. I don't know how helpful my ideas are since I don't know the child. Every child with autism is different, but hopefully that helped.

  5. #5
    Member Space Invaders Champion scrivener's Avatar
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    Nicely put. It occurs to me that a lot of the strategies you mention sound similar to what works for ADHD students. I have no experience with autistic students or students with Aspergers, but a very large percentage of students at my school has ADHD or some other attention-related issue, and I agree with the strategy of teaching students to manage their behavioral tendencies, rather than trying to wedge them into a classroom system that's more attentive to the needs of the teacher than the students.

  6. #6
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    My son is autistic and what works best for him is having his own schedule. It is the same everyday (laminated) and he crosses things off as he goes along. He does much better if he knows what to expect. If something is going to change, he needs to be prepared ahead of time. For example... at lunch recess he loves to run on the grass, but can't do so on rainy days. If it is raining I tell him on the way to school that he can't go on the grass at recess and his teacher will also let him know first thing in the morning. Little things like this can prevent unwanted behaviors.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SLP's Avatar
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    My favorite website for helping parents and teachers understand children with Asperger's & high functioning autism is:

    http://oddsandfriends.typepad.com/askanaspie/

    (Ask an aspie):College students who have Asperger's answer your questions. They are very insightful and much more helpful than a bunch of "book" experts who try to analyze them! And yes, they even have some non-autistic experts who are involved in the website also.

  8. #8
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    Wow. That is a great resource, SLP - good find! Hopefully they continue to update their blog (looks a little slow lately).
    Get the Teacher's Corner RSS feed:
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  9. #9
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    Hello. I'm new here, but the reason I found this message board is because I was doing a search for asperger's in the classroom. I've found the above advice to be very helpful!

  10. #10
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    Wink aspergers syndrome

    Hi Kendall,
    I have had several students classified with A.S. Most of them have had 1:1 aides. However, I think the thing to remember is they take things literally. So you have to remember to break things down into single steps and say exactly what you mean. For example, I had a child who lost her work quite often. So after going around and around with, "did you do it?" "where did you put it?" "look in this folder and that folder." I finally said..."Well, just look in your desk!" I was exasperated and frustrated, as she must have been. So after not hearing from her for several minutes I went to check on her. There she was sitting on the floor staring into her desk.
    That's exactly what I had asked her to do.
    In my school, students are amazing and know when someone is challenged. They are patient and often quite helpful. I have "assistants" as one of my jobs on the job chart. Every week someone is in charge of helping someone who needs help. It gives others insight into the struggles of these students and it assists the student in need.

    I have to say, the biggest obstacle for me is often that it is not the affliction of the student that gives me pause, but the parents and their needs. Usually, the student is pampered and probably catered to at home, because their parents don't know what else to do. So I often have to overcome the "entitlement complex" when I get new students. That is the hardest thing I have to deal with in many special needs student.

    It is a challenge, and patience is a virtue. Good luck and don't hesitate to look for help!

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