Aspergers Syndrome Academics

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					Help! Napoleon Dynamite Is In My Class (Academics and Asperger’s Syndrome)
2006 Annual Convention American Speech-Language Hearing Association November 16, 2006 Timothy P. Kowalski, M.A.,C.C.C. Professional Communication Services, Inc. 1294 Palmetto Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789 www.socialpragmatics.com mrtim@socialpragmatics.com

About Your Presenter Timothy P. Kowalski, M.A.,C.C.C. is a Speech-Language Pathologist in Winter Park , Florida who has had extensive experience in treating individuals with psychiatric and behavioral/emotional deficits in acute, residential, and outpatient settings. He presents extensively on social, emotional and behavior disorders, Asperger’s syndrome and autistic spectrum disorders at local, state, national, and international settings. He is a consultant for academic facilities for children with and without developmental and autistic spectrum disabilities and served on the board of directors for the Greater Orlando Chapter of the Autism Society of America. He is the author of the Source for Asperger’s Syndrome, published by LinguiSystems, Inc., and Assessing Communication Skills in Asperger’s Syndrome: An Introduction to The Conversational Effectiveness Profile. He is the recipient of the “TEAMS 2000 Speech-Language Pathologist of the Year” award for his work with autism in the four county region of greater Orlando. He is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and Southern Connecticut State University and has been residing in Orlando since February 1983.

Academic Issues • difficulty with assignments and homework may be related to: • • • • lack of interest perceived as “busy work” too difficult excessive completion time

Asperger’s Syndrome and Academics Timothy P. Kowalski, M.A.,C.C.C.

ASHA 2006 Annual Convention November 16, 2006

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organizational difficulties

Organizational Issues at School • • • • • • didn’t get proper instructions eye-hand difficulties all information is equally important can’t remember information has only part of the information too much information presented

Organizational Issues at Home • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • doesn’t understand his instructions missing instructions/inefficient notes doesn’t have necessary items poor time management skills highly distractible difficulty initiating work focuses on unimportant information frequently talk off-task daydream ignore new information poor reading comprehension disorganized poor self-monitoring skills clumsy poor eye-hand coordination avoid group sports IQ: normal to gifted

Asperger’s Syndrome and Academics Timothy P. Kowalski, M.A.,C.C.C.

ASHA 2006 Annual Convention November 16, 2006

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problem solving skills are poor abstract reasoning skills are poor extremely literal erratic performance perfectionists: hate making mistakes hyperlexia is common

Initiating Work Assignments • • • • • • • • • • • remain calm always use a positive attitude use southern vernacular “We all...” demonstrate expectations build upon successes use timed work sessions use contingency statements grading should always start off easy and gradually get harder segment workloads when difficulties occur, explain and demonstrate to reduce frustration anticipate anxiety producing situations and modify accordingly

Increasing Motivation • • • • • • use a buddy system alternate verbal/physical prompts use task lists use visual prompts alternate preferred with non-preferred tasks schedule tests during optimum times

Asperger’s Syndrome and Academics Timothy P. Kowalski, M.A.,C.C.C.

ASHA 2006 Annual Convention November 16, 2006

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adapt the curriculum use preferential seating front center may not be best

Increasing Attention • • • • • • • • • • • • • use nonverbal prompts to redirect always be aware that information may be distorted by personal opinion arrange tasks by hierarchy limit distractions video tape for social autopsy: are you working on task here? use traffic signals for guides (think SAT) use words and pictures use visual prompts get attention first before providing instructions use extended time wisely use study guides use Time-Timer (timetimer.com) use watch-timer to help with independence

Adapting the Curriculum • • • • • • • use an easier curriculum be aware that many use multiple hypotheses and AS will not have flexibility of thought to explore alternate options modify curriculum to capitalize on current interest simplify abstract lessons: consider vocabulary use one-step commands pair objects and visuals

Asperger’s Syndrome and Academics Timothy P. Kowalski, M.A.,C.C.C.

ASHA 2006 Annual Convention November 16, 2006

Academic Modifications • • • • • • • • • • • • • • use support personnel provide information prior to rest of class shorten the assignment use outlines instead of essays use real-life situations for math adapt the number of items in task adapt the time allotted adapt student’s participation adapt presentation mode provide more direct assistance be specific: “I want you to remember the 3 following items...” paraphrase information fraction calculator speaking calculator coinculator

Improving Reading Comprehension • • • • • • • • • • use colored overlays change background color on word processor color code words to emphasize without distortion highlight main idea use transparent colored tape increase word spacing use “find-replace” feature teach predictive ability use graphic organizers discuss the purpose and goals for each reading assignment

Asperger’s Syndrome and Academics Timothy P. Kowalski, M.A.,C.C.C.

ASHA 2006 Annual Convention November 16, 2006

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teach main components of story such as character, setting, etc.) teach how to draw plausible conclusions to a story

Improving Cognitive Processing • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • capitalize on good memory skills use mnemonics be aware of classroom layout use visuals be consistent with location of items in room simplify oral language repeat directions teach abstract thought teach logic problems teach inferential reasoning teach “unwritten rules” teach story summary using your hand (1-5-3-2-4) teach critical thinking teach idioms use simple word problems during computational tasks

Fine Motor Issues • • • • • • horrible penmanship pencil grasp fatigue dexterity issues “all thumbs” issues related to sensory integration especially noise

Asperger’s Syndrome and Academics Timothy P. Kowalski, M.A.,C.C.C.

ASHA 2006 Annual Convention November 16, 2006

Intervention Strategies for Fine Motor • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • encourage cursive instruction use breaks to reduce fatigue and frustration consider oral responses instead of written tape record responses use extended time to complete tasks be aware of procrastination use pencil grips grades initially based on content, not legibility use raised paper allows for tactile feedback for letter formation use literacy lined paper allows for visualization of descenders use slant boards use Wikki-Stix use cardstock templates for specific tasks: use labels to reduce repetitive tasks: • • • • • headings on paper

use spell checkers with handwriting animation to teach penmanship use graph paper for printing use word processors Refer for Occupational Therapy


				
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