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Putting the ‘A’ in Asperger’s. Acceptance, Access, Achievement: Case study of a Rapides Parish student’s successful high school graduation and transition to Northwestern State University. The Family Perspective.

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putting the a in asperger s
Putting the ‘A’ in Asperger’s
  • Acceptance, Access, Achievement:
  • Case study of a Rapides Parish student’s successful high school graduation and transition to Northwestern State University.
the family perspective
The Family Perspective
  • Take one boy with Asperger’s, add in Oppositional Defiance and ADHD, and mix with inclusion in a regular classroom. What makes for a winning formula for child, parent, teacher, staff, and administrators?
  • How can we be partners in success for everyone and not pugilists?
recommendations from the family
Recommendations from the Family
  • Teachers and parents need to communicate and work together
  • Please, get to know the parents’ challenges and what has and has not worked for them
  • Please, let the parents know how they can help you and the child succeed
perfectly taylor
Perfectly Taylor
  • A whirlwind of activity

and the unexpected

  • Quest for Understanding
  • Effect on Family Members
  • Changing Needs
  • Future Concerns
elementary experiences
Elementary Experiences
  • No official diagnosis of Asperger’s until 3rd grade
  • He just didn’t fit into any neat category at the time
  • Best experience: 2nd grade teacher
  • Worst experience: 4th grade
social skills goals beginning skills
Social Skills GoalsBeginning Skills
  • Proximity
  • Greetings
  • Eye Contact
  • Turn Taking
  • Using Names
  • Waiting
  • Requesting
  • Listening to others
  • Showing & Accepting Affection
catch me if you can
Catch Me If You Can!
  • Homework on the run or skateboard!
more family thoughts
More Family Thoughts
  • You can’t discipline Asperger’s out of a child
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Reconsider why and how much homework is assigned
  • Reconsider how child’s understanding of material is assessed
  • Consider tone and form of correspondence sent home
middle school experience
Middle School Experience
  • Principal who set climate for understanding and rewarding Taylor for his strengths; setting conditions to minimize his challenges and challenging days
  • Teachers who actually seemed to like Taylor and his quirky habits and insights
likes to be funny
Likes to be “Funny”
  • “I use my vocabulary as my shield or weapon”
  • “I like making people laugh”
  • Not “reverent”
social skills goals intermediate
Social Skills GoalsIntermediate
  • Appropriate Commenting
  • Initiating Conversations
  • Developing Age-appropriate hobbies
  • Apologizing
  • Seeking assistance when needed
  • Ignoring others inappropriate behavior
  • Introducing self and others
secondary experiences
Secondary Experiences
  • Principal who understands Taylor and has made a personal connection
  • Some teachers who have connected to Taylor and his “humor”
  • Social isolation and feeling different become heightened
  • Immaturity more noticeable
  • Paraprofessional key to navigating halls and high school culture!
  • Going alone
  • Wanting to be

a part of school life

the adolescent s perspective taylor
The Adolescent’s Perspective: Taylor
  • “I’m at the peak of everything that Asperger’s is supposed to disable such as facial expressions, tones of people’s voices, and awareness of my environment and social instincts.”
  • “I have an advantage because when I’m really interested in something, Asperger’s can help me focus and concentrate on it.”
  • “I’m getting better at not letting things bug me like idiotic questions students ask in school.”
recommendations from taylor
Recommendations from Taylor
  • 1. Be strict; don’t be too strict;
  • 2. Smile;
  • 3. Add a joke now and then;
  • 4. Make your explanations short and sweet. Put it in the simplest terms possible.
  • 5. Break tests down into smaller parts
taylor comments cont d
Taylor Comments Cont’d
  • I’m better with math because a formula is a formula.
  • I’m getting better with English and am using metaphors.
  • Art is the most difficult for me because of my dysgraphia and I’m not interested in it.
strategies for the classroom
Strategies for the Classroom
  • Clear Expectations
  • Structure, Routine, Consistency
  • Immediate Reinforcement
  • Directly teach appropriate behavior
  • Teach social skills directly
  • Break down larger tasks into smaller chunks
  • Use simple language
what s going on in school taylor s perspective
What’s going on in School?Taylor’s Perspective
  • What do you want all teachers to know about Asperger’s?
  • What part of school gets easier for you the longer you are in school?
  •  What assignments work best for you? That is, what assignments show off your knowledge and skills, so the teacher knows you know the content?
what s going on in school taylor s perspective23
What’s going on in School?Taylor’s Perspective
  • What would you like to tell your peers about yourself?
  • Which peers support you?
  • Do you get support in the school from your principal? teacher(s)? etc.?
strengths of college students with asperger s
Strengths of College Students with Asperger’s
  • Punctuality, if interested in the class;
  • Attention to Detail, if interested in the topic;
  • Good Memory, if interested in the content;
  • Staying on task, if interested in the topic.
social skills goals advanced
Social Skills GoalsAdvanced
  • Developing leisure skills
  • Dealing with mistakes
  • Keeping confidences
  • Expressing sympathy/empathy
  • Developing Friendships
  • Appropriate Dating
  • Managing Free Time
personal skills getzel mcmanus briel 2004
Personal Skills(Getzel, McManus, & Briel, 2004)
  • Better understanding of their disability and its impact on learning
  • Stress-management skills
self advocacy skills getzel mcmanus briel 2004
Self-Advocacy Skills(Getzel, McManus, & Briel, 2004)
  • Developing steps within their Academic Plan on how to self-identify to the office of disability support services and how to hold discussions with staff members on appropriate strategies for requesting accommodations.
  • Developing steps within their Academic Plan on initiating the use of accommodations with faculty, and monitoring their use by reviewing students' Academic Plan with staff.
  • Providing opportunities for students with disabilities to network with one another to discuss their college experiences and the services, supports, or strategies that have proven helpful.

“Students with AS have islands of intelligence, but they have great trouble in making logical connections and inferences.” Paula FurrQuestions and Answers furrp@nsula.edu