A is for Asperger

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					 “A” is for Asperger’s

Understanding and Helping the
  Student With Asperger’s
•   Basic Information-Characteristics
•   Thought Processes
•   Sensory Issues
•   Lens of Interpretation
•   Self-Regulation
•   Social Needs
•   Supports
• Understand the characteristics of
  students with Asperger’s Disorder
• Gain ideas for helping students with
  social skills
• Gain ideas doe supporting students in
  work and study skills
 Asperger’s Syndrome (Disorder) was first described by
  Hans Asperger, a Viennese physician, in 1944, when
 he published a paper describing the behavior pattern of
  several young boys, who, despite normal intelligence
    and language development, displayed autistic-like
     behaviors and marked deficiencies in social and
  communication skills. It is a neurobiological disorder
   that was added to the DSM IV in 1994, but has only
      recently been recognized by professionals and
    parents. Asperger’s is a Pervasive Developmental
  Disorder, considered a part of the Autism spectrum. It
 is mainly distinguished from Autistic Disorder because
  there are no clinically significant delays in language.
           KEY FEATURES
          Social Interaction
•   Average to above average IQ
•   No verbal/performance split
•   Socially isolated
•   Tense with social demands
•   Difficulty reading social cues
•   Lack of friendship strategies
•   Immature and socially inappropriate
     Social Communication
• Language tends to be formal and pedantic or
• Voice may lack expression and may not read
  vocal tones of others
• Difficulty using and interpreting non-verbal
• Often understands things literally
• May fail to grasp implied meanings
• May tend to recite dialogue from movies, etc.
            KEY FEATURES
    Other Social and Motor Skills
• Often has an all-absorbing interest
• Rigid-insists on certain routines, etc.
• May be limited in ability to think and play creatively
• Often has difficulty generalizing skills
• Motoric clumsiness-awkward-may walk, run, and
  move “funny”
• Organizational problems
• May find it hard to write or draw neatly
• Think in concrete terms
• Fails to understand metaphorical or abstract concepts
• Takes figures of speech literally
• Have difficulty in “thinking about thinking”-have a form of “mind
  blindness”-and may have difficulty appreciating that others have
  intentions, needs, desires,and beliefs that are different from
• Difficulty with predicting, reading intentions, understanding
  emotions, explaining behaviors, reading and reacting to other’s
  interests, understanding social interactions
• Susie, Johnny, and the tapping pencil
• Executive functions are higher order thought
  processes that allow us to plan, sequence,
  initiate, and sustain our behavior towards some
  goal, adjusting along the way by using feedback.
  People with Asperger’s have difficulty with
  executive function, especially with pre-planning,
  sustaining effort, delaying action when
  necessary, integrating information from various
  sources, shifting attention from one task to
  another, starting and stopping, and operating on
  multiple levels.
• One or more sensory systems are usually affected
  such that ordinary sensations are felt as unbearably
• The mere anticipation of a stimulus can lead to
  anxiety or panic
• Most common-sound and touch
• Also can be taste, light intensity, colors and smells
• Approximately 40% of people with autism spectrum
  disorders have some abnormality of sensory
• All behavior serves a purpose
• It is functional or intended to be
• It is necessary to understand the function of the
  behavior-from the viewpoint of the child
• The point of view of a student with Asperger’s will
  lead them to interpret things differently from the
  “normal” point of view
• In order to impact behaviors, we must look at things
  through an Asperger’s lens and determine the
  function of the behavior and find another way to meet
  that need
          HOW TO HELP
• Identify the signs of overload
• Identify situations that are problematic
• Identify current strategies
• Identify environmental factors and
• Teach students how to read sensations
  and behaviors and how to manage
             WHAT TO DO
    Communication and environment
• Reduce distractions
• Give instructions in most efficient sensory
• Provide auditory frames
• Provide visual frames
• Use graphic organizers
• Use “Low and Slow”
• Use cognitive portfolios to remind students of
  strategies and behaviors
• Use timers or visual cuing for changes in activity
              WHAT TO DO
Activity level and arousal management
• Slow, rhythmic activities-deep breathing, walking,
  music,pressure-ask the student what works
• Tolerate reasonable levels of movement
• Provide frequent motor breaks
• Engage everyone in motor breaks-wall push-ups,
  stretching, deep breathing
• Walk and talk
• Allow student to stand while working or talking
• Teach allowable movement strategies
             WHAT TO DO
   Emotional and Social Support
• Teach 5 part approach-remember Low and Slow
• Help the student to interpret social situations-
  utilize rehearsals
• Use Social Autopsies
• Use Social Stories
• Use cognitive portfolios/social scripts
• Use Social Skills instruction-be blunt!
•   Social Scripts and Stories
•   Social Autopsies
•   Cue cards
•   Direct Social Skills Instruction
•   Social “clues”

•   Situation
•   Options
•   Consequences
•   Choices
•   Strategy
•   Simulation
• Helping the child structure the
  behavior by working with the student
  to design a script of what to do and
  say in a specific situation.
• For example, a child and her teacher
  may design a script for joining in
  with a group who is playing at
• A social story is a story that
  describes social situations
  specific to individuals and
  situations. A social story is
  written for a specific child
  and a specific situation.
     My name is Jane. I go to Cook School. At lunch time,
everyone in my class goes to the lunchroom. We go through
a line and get a tray, then sit at tables to eat. I do not like the
   lunchroom-it is noisy and crowded, and my ears hurt. My
    teacher Mrs. Smith tells me that I have to eat there every
  day. She helps me find ways to make it easier. First, Mrs.
 Smith showed me that putting in my earplugs helps with the
noise. They are small and no one can see them. Every day,
 I go to the restroom before lunch and put them in, then take
 them out after lunch. She also lets me be the line leader or
   the caboose. That helps me feel less crowded. The best
part is, lunch is short! I know by looking at my watch when it
      will end, and I tell myself that I will be fine until then.
• Debriefing a social error in order to
     • The cause of the error
     • The damage done by the error
     • How to prevent the error from
       happening again

•   Conversational skills-exchanges
•   Cooperative Play Skills
•   Relationship Skills
•   Classroom Skills
•   Maximize by:
      • Instruction and Interpretation
      • Coaching-generalization
• Priming-previews activities where
  student is likely to have trouble
• Home base-at end of day or after
  stressful subjects
• Safe person/safe place
• Transitions-routines,
  warnings,activities,signals, buddies
•   Highlight texts
•   Sample problems worked out as guide
•   Directions individually
•   One direction at a time
•   Cue cards
•   Graphic organizers
•   Cognitive portfolios for steps
• Provide information visually-written
  directions, schedule
• Preferential seating-near compliant
  peers, away from bullies, away from
  high traffic
• Assistance with organization-picture
  cues (take a picture of a clean desk,
  organized locker, etc.)
• Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and
  Professionals by Tony Attwood
• Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence by Teresa Bolick
• Asperger’s Syndrome and Difficult Moments by Myles and
• Asperger Syndrome-Practical Strategies for the Classroom
  by Leicester City Council and Leicester County Council
• Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome by Luke Jackson
• Power Cards by Elisa Gangnon
• Navigating the Social World by McAfee
• Pretending to be Normal by LeeAnn Holiday-Wiley
• The Incredible 5 Point Scale by Buron and Curtis