Asbergers and Autism.....Suggestions for Class

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by ~Teacher~, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. ~Teacher~

    ~Teacher~ Rookie

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    Jun 6, 2005

    Hi everyone! When I signed up here I was a paraprofessional in a resource classroom. Now I have been offered a 6th grade class teaching math/social studies/reading....this coming fall I happen to have a student with asbergers syndrome. Has anyone here dealt with this disability or have suggestions for me?
     
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  3. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    I worked in a first grade classroom this year...the teacher was fairly sure that one little boy had Asbergers, however, the parents were AWFUL and refused to get him any help or allow him to go to special ed. This child worked best if a teacher was sitting at his desk with him (not very practical, I understand). Loud noises also bothered him a lot. Children with asbergers often make strange noises and hand gestures, which can be a little distracting until you get used to it. I feel so bad for this little boy, I wish there was more we could have done for him. Sorry that this wasn't much help ~Teacher~ but the best advice I can give you is have a lot of patience!
     
  4. 2ndTimeArnd

    2ndTimeArnd Companion

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    Jun 7, 2005

    just a quick note here ... it's Asperger's, with a "p".
     
  5. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    aspergers is a highly funtional autism. they are often enable to socialize with their peers and need assistance in integrating themselves with classmates. any of my experiences with an aspergers child is their extreme loyalty to adults. another thing i recall is the lack of personal space- always invading others, can make for discomfort of others. also the locked in focus on topics and stories that are not always at the most appropriate time of discussion.
     
  6. ~Teacher~

    ~Teacher~ Rookie

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    Oops on the typo...I knew that but always stick that "b" in there.
    Thanks for the info....this will be 6th grade so I think he will need to conform to the rules a little bit??? His parents are leary of that though.
     
  7. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Jun 7, 2005

    he is to conform to the rules? Uh, please take no offense to this, you MUST become a LOT more knowledgeable of aspergers before making such comments to his parents. I totally can understand why they are LEARY.

    I have a student in my class who is medicated with tourettes syndrome. I CANT tell him to stop it or cut it out when he goes into his ticks. HE CANT help it. Asking someone to CONFORM to rules, whose rules? You need to come up with goals or rules that are NOT setting him up for failure. What he CAN and CANNOT control due to his disability. THEN you make your rules. Please meet with his parents, former teachers, guidance counselor, specialists regarding his specific issues. LISTEN, take notes, hear everything they suggest to focus on this child's POSITIVES so you can use them towards making reachable goals/or rules. I wish you the best of luck. I look forward to hearing about your progress on preparing for what will be your test from G-d. How you handle this child is going to test every strategy you can dig up!
     
  8. TeachWildThings

    TeachWildThings Comrade

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    Jun 8, 2005

    Also note that "high functioning Autism" has similarities & differences from Aspergers. And as with this spectrum there are no fast set rules to behavior, abilities, &/or other disabilities. It is sometimes harder to understand the quirks with these kids because they are so high cognitively. There is a tendency to think they can be more in control. Also, this is not a disability that is normally medicated, though some symptoms can be. As mommaruthie pointed out she has a student on meds for tourettes, but the child can still have issues. Medication does not make any disability go away, it only can help to make it more manageable. And because children are growing this can effect how the meds may or may not work.
    There is a lot of great research out there on Autism Spectrum Disorder since it is such a hot topic. I encourage you surf around & also talk to special education teachers in your district.
     
  9. kay

    kay Rookie

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    Jun 8, 2005

    Hopefully he will have an IEP in place to help you with some guidance. I have not had a student with Asperger's but my very good friend has a child with Asperger's. I have spent a lot of time with him and even interviewed him for one of my classes I was taking at the time. One thing you need to know is that kids with Asperger's are usually very high cognitively and they are very articulate (usually). They can make extremely inappropriate comments and invade personal space. This is not defiant behavior at all--the child has NO concept of personal space and does not understand (usually) the "normal" conversational conventions. One thing that has helped my friend's son is the usage of social stories. These are visual stories or scripts that the student uses to make it through the day. For example, he has a social story that visually maps out how to raise his hand and answer a question. He is fixated on Pokemon and his family and teachers use this as a reward and as a way to interest him in learning. For example, one of his scripts has a pokemon character acting out the task. It has helped immensely! He uses a script at home when talking on the phone and when people come to the door. Be as open as you can when talking to his parents and let them know how excited you are to be his teacher. This will undoubtedly be a great learning experience for you but it can be a positive experience for you too!
     
  10. ~Teacher~

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    Jun 9, 2005

    The school has chosen to go with a 504 plan for him, by conforming to the rules (thanks for pointing that out...) I am suggesting that certain comments and behaviors should be addressed and not overlooked...umm...let's see...trying to type this correctly is tough...say for example he burps outloud in class...ok...is the question here...he can't help it so we just accept it...or is it ok he burped, now he should realize that is inappropriate and should use correct social skills to correct that...simply saying "excuse me". I have been in meetings already...and by no means does that even come close to making me understand this..lol....Inappropriate social things should be corrected in a certain way..yes??
    I am taking a class on Monday and Tuesday to help me...but just am throwing this out for conversation...thanks to those of who who have responded...it's better to make the wrong comments here and have someone correct me, rather than do it in front of the parents!
     
  11. kay

    kay Rookie

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    I think one of the ways you might want to start the year out, is to contact his past teachers to find out what his major quirks were and how they were successful/unsuccessful at handling the problems. I know with my friend, the social stories really helped out when her son acted inappropriately (with the burping prob. for example). It is good that you are seeking help and if contacting the parents would be feasable, it might help to see if they can point you in any directions that have been helpful for them. Please, let us know how everything goes and good luck!!
     
  12. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Jun 10, 2005

    I would say from the burping question... you definately want him to realize the appropriate social skills, and be able to recognize he did it and say excuse me. As kay mentioned, social stories are EXTREMELY good for that sort of thing. I think the key is to figure out a socially appropriate way to handle the behavior (ok... he burps. How can he handle it that's socially acceptable? Say excuse me. ). So I think you're on track. ;)
     
  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jun 10, 2005

    As far as social interaction goes, the child may seem less mature than peers, may not have the concept of personal space, may be physically withdrawn or overly affectionate, may not be tolerant of others, may be egocentric similar to a very young child. He/she may likely have a fixation of some kind and attempt to reroute any lesson to that topic. (Search the site for various threads on this topic.) He/she may have frequent outbursts and become emotionally distraught, particularly when frustrated or faced with change. He/she may be highly intelligent but have areas that lag well below (perhaps very verbal but unable to write, very artistic but unable to describe what he/she created, gifted in one academic area such as math, unable to participate in group activities). You should find out in advance what kinds of support will be provided for this student.
     
  14. kay

    kay Rookie

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    Jun 10, 2005

    It seems as though he needs an IEP instead of a 504. Am I correct in assuming he would need a diagnosis of Asperger's from his family doctor to be eligible for the IEP and not testing from school psychologist?
     
  15. TeachWildThings

    TeachWildThings Comrade

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    Jun 10, 2005

    Yes & no, schools can give some of the tests & a doctor can review them along with their own for diagnosis. Also, if a student's Dr. & the school pshych disagree, or if a parent w/out an outside diagnosis disagrees with the district, then a non-biased third party can make one. The district pays for it & they usually have a pre-approved list of Dr.'s. I don't understand why this child has a 504 either. I would ask previous teachers or even ask a special ed teacher to help decipher any documents.
     
  16. lowrie

    lowrie Companion

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    Jun 12, 2005

    Pardon my lack of knowledge, I know what an IEP is but please, what is a 504?

    I've been following this thread with interest as I have a friend whose son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
     
  17. LisaD

    LisaD New Member

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    I had a student that was diagnosed with Asperger's this year. He was by far the most brilliant, smartest student I have ever had in all my years of teaching. (I called him my "Little Professor",) After doing some research on the internet, I took my findings to his parents. I told them very non-confrontationally of my findings. They visited his physician where it was confirmed. They were grateful that I had taken the time to do this research and cared so much about their son. The key thing was the parent's cooperation. They now have their son in support/therapy groups. Asperger's is a very functional type of autism. The main problem with my student is his lack of social skills. They try and fit into social situations, but have difficulty succeeding. My student was also very tactile. He loved touching certain things over and over. I would not allow my student to have many things in his desk, because he would constantly touch and play, and never be able to finish his work. My student also had difficulty focusing on work. I would provide small treats if he completed lengthy assignments in a timely fashion.
     
  18. GLF

    GLF New Member

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    Asberger's doesn't require a 504, in the State of Missouri this child is classified as autistic due to the fact that asberger's is one of the colors of the spectrum under the umbrella of autism. It depends what state you are in as to what label it is given. But it only makes sense because there are varying degrees of educable mentally retarded and learning disabled. I would seriously question the placement on a 504 plan.
     
  19. ~Teacher~

    ~Teacher~ Rookie

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    Jun 14, 2005

    LisaD...what grade level are you at?

    They are requiring a 504 because he is so intelligent that he doesn't fall under an IEP plan...and we can provide what he needs under a 504/ His parents are having a hard time with taking away the IEP..but the school wants him on a 504 plan.

    Lowrie..what age is your friends son?
     
  20. fbop35

    fbop35 New Member

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    Jun 14, 2005

    I have been learning about this disability in a grad class. It is important to remember that these children are very rigid in their structure. Make sure that you have a schedule personalized for this child that you can personalize and change when necessary.
     
  21. kay

    kay Rookie

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    This sounds really suspicious. If his disability is affecting his ability to learn, period, he is eigible for speical ed testing and an IEP. IF he is improving in his ablitity to learn his IEP can be modified. Asperger's kids are usually extremely intelligent--this is one of the characteristics that sets them apart from other children with autism. Children with other types of autism are usually average or below average in intelligence...Asperger's kids are usually average or above average intelligence. My stepdaughter has an IQ that is off the charts, but has an IEP because her emotional problems keep her from being able to learn.
     
  22. snpalmer

    snpalmer Rookie

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    I am wanting some advice on what changes I may need to implement into my class. I am in a mainstream class already having a 0.7 aide for a Developmentally Delayed student and am about to receive a child with severe autism. They have some aide, although not full-time and do not talk, are not toilet trained. I am not yet aware of behaviours but am not sure how to approach this. Is it my responsibility to change her if she has an accident when the aide is not present??
     
  23. pattyanne

    pattyanne Rookie

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    Hi!
    Aspergers kids are great - sometimes! And sometimes they are very frustrating! (Like all kids, I guess.)
    Characteristics you may notice (NB> NOT all kids are the same!):

    * lack of ability to generalise. An example might be that when you say "Everybody take out their books" you have to say "Bobby (child with aspergers) take out your book" - because s/he will not generalise that "everybody" includes him / her.

    * strange sense of humour that can be delightful but is sometimes incomprehensible to others. Recently I was doing a dictionary exercise with my class and we were looking up words related to forensic science (their chosen topic). The word "entomologist" was on the llist. My student said "I've found 'end' so now I can't go any further to find entomologist!" He was hugely taken with this joke, which I enjoyed too, but the others in the class were confused.

    * difficulty in taking other people's perspectives - often lack empathy. This interferes with social behaviour as cannot really understand why turn taking, waiting, etc. are necessary. May find the distress of others interesting but do not empathise with them.

    * often highly interested in one (or more) topics and will demonstrate inexhaustible interest in this topic. One student of mine has a "Star Wars" interest and there is no fact about "Star Wars" he does not know - or which he does not want to share with everyone ad infinitum!

    * can be very highly sensitive to sound, smell, touch sensations, taste, etc. I've had students complain bitterly that I "stink" because I've just washed my hands with soap! It is important that you don't underestimate the distress this sensitivity can cause - or criticise the child for it.

    * aspergers may mean the student has difficulty accepting every day joking and gentle teasing that other children enjoy. S/he may be easily upset/offended/suspicious of such interactions. Likewise expressions that are not literal (such as "pull your socks up" or "keep your eye on the ball" or "you deserve a pat on the back") might not be understood in context. The student might wait for you to pat his/her back and get upset if you don't!

    * above all, "don't sweat the small stuff!". Recognise that fitting into the everyday workld is really hard work for this child. If s/he was in a wheelchair, you wouldn't expect him or her to climb the stairs. Use this analogy to understand the student with aspergers. If s/he does 4 sums when others do 10, it probably is a good result. If s/he finds reading aloud hard, try paired reading. Don't worry about title pages, margins, or correct colours on charts. These things are time consuming and take attention away from skills that really matter.

    * lastly, some students are very controlling. If the child you have in your class is like this, it is important to deal with the situation so that s/he realises you will be fair, kind and still expect cooperation from him/her. After months of resistance from one student I finally made it clear that I would no longer "give in" to his manipulation. (I know! I should have done it sooner!) After this, our relationship improved out of sight! He was much more friendly, respectful and cooperative.

    Best of luck!
     
  24. pattyanne

    pattyanne Rookie

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    Hi!
    Aspergers kids are great - sometimes! And sometimes they are very frustrating! (Like all kids, I guess.)
    Characteristics you may notice (NB> NOT all kids are the same!):

    * lack of ability to generalise. An example might be that when you say "Everybody take out their books" you have to say "Bobby (child with aspergers) take out your book" - because s/he will not generalise that "everybody" includes him / her.

    * strange sense of humour that can be delightful but is sometimes incomprehensible to others. Recently I was doing a dictionary exercise with my class and we were looking up words related to forensic science (their chosen topic). The word "entomologist" was on the llist. My student said "I've found 'end' so now I can't go any further to find entomologist!" He was hugely taken with this joke, which I enjoyed too, but the others in the class were confused.

    * difficulty in taking other people's perspectives - often lack empathy. This interferes with social behaviour as cannot really understand why turn taking, waiting, etc. are necessary. May find the distress of others interesting but do not empathise with them.

    * often highly interested in one (or more) topics and will demonstrate inexhaustible interest in this topic. One student of mine has a "Star Wars" interest and there is no fact about "Star Wars" he does not know - or which he does not want to share with everyone ad infinitum!

    * can be very highly sensitive to sound, smell, touch sensations, taste, etc. I've had students complain bitterly that I "stink" because I've just washed my hands with soap! It is important that you don't underestimate the distress this sensitivity can cause - or criticise the child for it.

    * aspergers may mean the student has difficulty accepting every day joking and gentle teasing that other children enjoy. S/he may be easily upset/offended/suspicious of such interactions. Likewise expressions that are not literal (such as "pull your socks up" or "keep your eye on the ball" or "you deserve a pat on the back") might not be understood in context. The student might wait for you to pat his/her back and get upset if you don't!

    * above all, "don't sweat the small stuff!". Recognise that fitting into the everyday workld is really hard work for this child. If s/he was in a wheelchair, you wouldn't expect him or her to climb the stairs. Use this analogy to understand the student with aspergers. If s/he does 4 sums when others do 10, it probably is a good result. If s/he finds reading aloud hard, try paired reading. Don't worry about title pages, margins, or correct colours on charts. These things are time consuming and take attention away from skills that really matter.

    * lastly, some students are very controlling. If the child you have in your class is like this, it is important to deal with the situation so that s/he realises you will be fair, kind and still expect cooperation from him/her. After months of resistance from one student I finally made it clear that I would no longer "give in" to his manipulation. (I know! I should have done it sooner!) After this, our relationship improved out of sight! He was much more friendly, respectful and cooperative.

    Best of luck!
     
  25. pattyanne

    pattyanne Rookie

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    Jun 22, 2005


    Hi. I don't know whereabouts you are in Aus. but I am an Aussie teacher too, and I would not be happy to accept a child as seriously affected as the child you described without full time aide support. If the child cannot undertake basic self care functions, you need a full time aide - or the child's time at school needs to be reduced (this is possible in some cases).

    If the child requires changing, it seems unreasonable for you to leave a mainstream class to do this - who would "mind the kids"??!! And changing him / her in view of the other children does not recognise the child's right to dignity and privacy. Nor is it fair to leave him / her unattended.

    Is there someone else in the school who can be called on to assist as required? And how would you do this - is there a phone in the class room? Can the child self-feed? If not, will aide time cover meal times? (And don't forget that the aide is entitled to meal breaks too! S/he cannot work all through class and all through lunch as well.)

    What class level do you teach? Is the child attending mainstream because parents have requested this? Sounds like there are a lot of factors to sort out before you find yourself in an untenable situation.

    My advice is to stress the CHILD's rights - limited aide time can only adversely affect her.

    Good Luck!
     
  26. lowrie

    lowrie Companion

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    Jun 22, 2005

    he's 12 now.
     
  27. mochasmom

    mochasmom New Member

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    Jun 22, 2005

    Gotta Love'm

    First off, Kay's reply is completely on target. I am a special education teacher and teach resource and run an inschool program for students who have an emotional or behavioral disorder. I also have a son who has autism, but fits much better in the Aspergers category. Second thing to remember is that there is always something that just makes you love these kids. Don't be afraid of your situation. He/she may get on your nerves at times, but spend some time with this child, and you find something very special about him/her. Almost all kids with Aspergers has some fascination - science, cars, facts, history, dinosaurs, etc. Capitalize on that. Also, they generally have no gray zones. Everything is black or white. They often do not see that circumstances play a part in our decisions. They generally are very rule oriented. They can't stand when a rule is broken, but they often don't see that about themselves. Use a positive behavior plan. Don't think of the discipline part as conforming. They don't. Not in the way we think of it. You almost have to twist things so that they see our rules/social expectations in a different light. Check out some websites or journals about autism and aspergers that address working with them in the classroom.
     

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