Hi, I'm Craig Kendall, the author of The Asperger's Syndrome
Survival Guide. In today's issue we will address...
It can be a big challenge having an Aspergers student in your class. But with a few simple
tips, you can make both their life and yours much easier. Here are some tips:
Teachers should make sure that their classes and instruction is
very clear and concrete. Use lots of examples.
Use many different methods of explaining something: visual,
written, spoken or demonstrated.
Hands-on activities to explain a concept can work very well. Be
prepared to explain a concept many times.
Know that the AS teen thinks very literally, and you might have
to work to understand how the AS teen is understanding something you are saying.
Understand that an AS child has many sensory issues and is easily distracted. Don't expect a
kid to understand something you are saying if there are people talking nearby, music playing,
bright lights, are anything else that might interfere with the child's ability to focus. Try to
get the child to move to a calm and quiet environment if needed. I don't mean physically
dragging them! But encouraging them to go to an environment where the stimulus that is causing
the meltdown (noise, commotion, bright light, smells, whatever) are gone.
If the child has a meltdown or becomes upset, it is probably because they are trying to focus
on too many things at once and they are overwhelmed. Again, try to get the child to move to a calm and quiet
place and giver them a chance to relax and calm down. Then, you can try again.
Know that an AS child might often have trouble with things like motor skills, and handwriting
can be difficult. Allow them to use a laptop to take notes.
Try to always have a schedule of what you are going to do in class. Try not to have many
surprises, or if you do, expect that the AS child may have difficulty with them. To the greatest
extent possible, inform them ahead of time about any changes in schedule. Make sure the teen has
a copy of his schedule so they can refer to it at all times. Go over the schedule with them to
make sure they are comfortable with it and know what they are supposed to be doing. Many AS
teens have difficulty staying organized.
Anticipate that an AS teen will need specific training and help with organizational skills.
Show the teen how to arrange their notebook; how to write assignments down on a calendar;
provide them with organizational tools and demonstrate how to use them. This will go a long way
in helping the AS teen succeed and lower their anxiety and frustration levels.
Teachers of individual classes should have a certain way of conducting a class, and stick
with it – consistency is key. In middle and high school, someone should help the AS teen keep
track of all of their classes, papers, assignments, and so on, and make sure they are not
getting lost in the mix. One other possible accommodation: sometimes the AS teen may be late to
class because they can't deal with the busy hallways in between classes, and may hang around
waiting for them to disperse before going to their next class. Be understanding of issues like
How should an AS child be graded? Well, this depends entirely on the AS child's abilities.
Most AS kids, as I said, do fine academically with some added supports, and should be graded by
the same academic standards that all students are graded with. There could be some situations in
which this isn't appropriate, but that's really up to the child, teacher, and parent to decide
if such a situation arises.
If there is a project in which a child is being graded for some kind of social behavior, like
working well in a group, their AS limitations should be taken into account, and they should be
graded on the academic work they produce instead of their group work. But again, this depends on
the child. In some situations, it might be beneficial for the child to learn how to work with a
group; in others, it might simply not be possible, and they should be allowed to be excluded
from such an activity. Certainly, group work is not a method of teaching that would work well on
a regular basis for adolescents with autism or Asperger's.
There might be some cases in which the AS child is given a reduced amount of homework or
modified assignments, but otherwise graded the same; this question is impossible to answer
further without knowing the unique strengths and weaknesses of the particular AS child.
This is just a small part of the answers you will need to successfully survive and thrive with
Aspergers. If you are looking for additional information immediately, go to the following site:
Note: my newly released book on Aspergers for Teens and Young Adults discusses bullying, anxiety, depression and what to do about it. Click here for more information:
Note: my newly released book on Aspergers for Adults discusses
how to make and keep friends, building relationships, employment, depression and the meaning of
life, therapy options and much more. Click here for more information: