How Teachers can assist Students with Asperger’s Syndrome
Every individual with Asperger’s syndrome need lots of support and love, whether at school, home or anywhere. Once the Aspies test is conducted and the parents discover that the child has Asperger’s syndrome, they should inform the teacher or school authority about the child’s unique condition.
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There are many ways teachers can assist students with Asperger’s syndrome to cope well in school. These strategies can help Aspies live above their challenges and make the best out of life.
Overcoming Stress and Anxiety
Aspies are very sensitive to environmental stressors. They can become extremely worried when they do not know what to expect or when a routine is changed. However, to assist the student, teachers should provide an environment that is safe and predictable and transitions should also be minimized. Let the child’s daily routine be consistent and he or she must also know what to expect, so as to give full concentration on the task at hand. Teachers should also avoid surprises at all cost and ensure that the child is thoroughly prepared for any special activities.
Overcoming Poor Social Skills
Aspies are very naïve and lack the ability to understand complex rules of social interactions. They are insensitive, and often misinterpret social cues. They also cannot start a conversation and have well-developed speech but poor communication. Aspies are also easily taken advantage of. They do not know when others are lying or deceiving them. As a teacher, try to protect the child from teasing or bullying. If the Aspie is in the higher age group, educate peers about the child’s condition and describe his or her social challenges as a disability. On the other hand, Aspies tend to be reclusive that is why teachers should foster involvement with others. Limit the time they spend isolated pursuing their interests.
Overcoming Limited range of interest
Individuals with Asperger’s syndrome have restricted range of interest. They often speak about an area of interest and ask questions on interest repetitively. They find it hard to let go of their idea and sometimes refuse to learn anything new outside their field of interest. As a teacher, try to prevent the child from asking questions basically on an area of interest. You can fix another time during the day for the child to talk about this. Create a convenient time for the child to ask his or her questions during recesses. Praise the child for simple and expected social behaviors that others might take for granted. For example, if he or she stops talking to allow others speak, consistently praise or congratulate him or her for doing so.
Overcoming Poor Concentration
Aspies are highly disorganized individuals and have poor concentration. They cannot sustain focus on classroom activities or differentiate between what is relevant and not. In this case, teachers should break the assignment into units for the student and redirect the student frequently. However, individuals with severe concentration challenges benefit greatly from timed work sessions. It will help them to organize themselves better. If the child doesn’t complete his or her assignment within the time frame, make sure the child completes it during his or her own time, maybe during recess. Even if the assignment is done carelessly, let the child repeat the assignment. However, students with Asperger’s syndrome are special, so teachers should lessen their homework or class workload. Allow the child to occupy the front seat in the class and direct questions to him or her frequently. This would the child to attend to the lessons. Practice a nonverbal signal with the child like a pat on the shoulder when he or she is not paying attention.
Overcoming Academic Challenges
The intelligence of Aspies is average to above average but they do not possess high-level comprehension or thinking skills. Their pedantic style of speaking as well as impressive vocabularies make others believe that they know what they are talking about. But in reality, they are only repeating what they heard or read about. However, the teacher should not assume that the child knows what he or she is saying, just because they can parrot back what they heard. When lesson concepts are abstract, give more explanation and simplify the lesson.
There are many ways teachers can help Aspies cope well academically. Once the Asperger’s test has been conducted and the child is confirmed to have the condition, extra care and attention should then be given both in school and at home.