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How to Effectively Include Students with High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Kimberly Bennett Educational Consultant Kbennett@tiu11.org. Purpose .
Working with children on the spectrum can be challenging but I can assure you that you will learn a great deal about yourself and teaching by having them in your life.
Understanding autism spectrum disorder is the first step in accepting the differences that make these individuals unique and fascinating.
I attempted to cover areas that appear to affect most teachers and students in the regular education classroom.
I have taught children with autism for the past 7 years and have grown professionally in ways that I never would have experienced had they not entered my life.
We will cover these throughout the presentation
Where can typical kids swear and get away with it?
What if kids on the autism spectrum hear kids swearing on the back of the bus and at home? While playing on the playground they swear at a teacher or another student.
What discipline procedure should be implemented if these kids are caught swearing on the playground?
In the first hour of school what do you require students to do?
Answer: let them tell you instead of writing
For some student the act of writing and thinking at the same time is to difficult. Many students with autism/Asperger’s have fine motor delays and it is very difficult for them to write. If you want to know what a person with autism knows…ask them.
Children with autism frequently have better visual performance abilities than auditory alone.
Explain what you are doing and why
i.e. verbally walk through the process of losing a pencil.
THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT
Let them know what is going to happen throughout the day.
Highlight important information
The reader is invited to understand and wonder about things.
This is frustrating as the communication of most people, (the communication that is to be “understood),” is said without explicitly being stated.
A special type of cognition that allows one to depict the psychological states of others (thoughts and beliefs).
**A break down in this process leads to the social and pragmatic deficits in children with Asperger’s Syndrome**
Neuro typical people do a lot of mind reading
We have the ability to predict what someone is going to say next based on the content of the conversation.
We can read body language--this helps us “read people.”
Inflection of tone helps us understand the context in which something is being said. Think of how many ways you can say the word “Great.” Each inflection of your voice changes it’s meaning.
Many children on the autism spectrum report being bullied. Bullies take advantage of their inability to read social cue or their overreaction to social situations.
This is a very serious problem for kids on the spectrum. (More on that later)
Do you have student that is always correct and can never be wrong?
Do you have a student who cannot work in a group because they did not use the suggestion that they offered?
Deficits in looking where others point
Leekman et al. (1997)
If a student has a difficult time following eye gaze or is not following social cues as to where they should be looking…
How would this interfere with learning in your classroom?
What are social cues teachers give?
How do you know that?
Nothing has been said?
Children on the autism spectrum can have a difficult time reading our eyes- yet our eyes speak of our feelings and reactions.
Please be the child’s guide make every situation a teachable one!
Accept what we do not understand without feeling overwhelmed or angry.
Avoid alienating the child- Don’t be the child’s first bully. Children in the classroom follow the teacher’s lead.
What could this behavior mean?
How does it serve the child?
Could it be an attempt to cope?
He may tell us
Child can be hypo- sensitive or hyper- sensitive to sound, light, smell, touch, or taste.
Do not put a child with autism next to a noisy or busy area in your classroom.
If you need further assistance, please feel free to get in touch with me. I will be more than happy to assist you.