Asperger's student

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by MorahMe, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

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    Mar 13, 2008

    I have a student who was just diagnosed with Asperger's (finally!), and we are having trouble getting his behavior under control. He started medication last week, and the teacher (I'm one of 2 assistants in the room, reg ed) sees some improvement in his behavior some days, while I don't, maybe because I always saw him in a better light than she did, and now she's seeing what I saw before, and assuming it's the meds that are doing it. I find that taking him out of the room for a walk helps to calm him when he's out of control, but the teacher won't let us do that anymore, because she says it "doesn't help aspergers" (she seems to never be in the room right before or after the walk, and only sees us on the way back). She claims that the only thing we should do is have him do his deep breathing exercises and give him a book to read, but sometimes it doesn't work, although she claims it does. I find that very often he'll use the book to continue the behavior-as an example, today, he was walking around the room with his book, using it as an airplane, making noises and disturbing the other children's games in the process. Anyone have any ideas in how to get his behavior under control?
     
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  3. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Mar 13, 2008

    All I can say is this... she needs to learn about Asperger's. Taking a time-out to go on a walk is an excellent way to help a child with Asperger's keep from "melting down."

    As for "getting his behavior under control" many of the things you are describing are a part of the syndrome. They can be minimized and redirected, and maybe, maybe, maybe, with a lot of time and patience, extinguished...but I wouldn't count on it.

    There is no magic "drug" that is going to change his behavior. There are meds that will make it more manageable.

    We are fortunate at our school...we run a program specifically for intergrating children with Asperger's into an inclusion setting. Each student has a trained special education para with him/her at all times, as well as a specially trained special education teacher who is available at all times. These aids and teacher are highly trained, including in how to remove a child from a classroom if necessary and on those rare occassions, do physical restraint.

    There is a "cool off room" available to these children, which contains soft furniture, a soothing and safe place, and a crash mat, in case physical restraint is required.

    Obviously, this program is for children who are labeled as severe or profound, but are high-functioning in terms of intelligence.

    However, all that being said, she is the teacher. Ultimately, it is her responsibility for this child's education and care. If she isn't willing to listen to her aid or assistant, then that really is a totally different problem. It is too bad that she is being closed-minded and unwilling to listen to the person who is dealing with the child day-to-day.

    The only thing I can suggest is to read (and download) some information about strategies for working with children with Asperger's. It is sad to say, but this child's parents are going to have to learn how to be advocates for their child, and quickly.

    Nine times out of ten, if you see a child with Asperger's successfully functioning in a regular education class, it is because the parents have learned to be their child's advocate and demand the services and accommodations the child has every legal right to have.
     
  4. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Mar 13, 2008

    Some tips or strategies to consider after determining the student's needs:

    Use visual organizers for daily routine, and highlight any changes in routine. Consistent routine
    and structure reduces stress for the student and the organization and consistency of your
    classroom environment is one of the key factors in managing the student's deficits.

    As much as possible, try to stick to a structured routine. Wherever possible prepare the student
    for potential changes or transitions.

    Prepare the student for any changes in routine. Because students with Asperger's Disorder
    generally do not handle transitions well, extra verbal and visual cues may need to be employed in
    the classroom, as well as providing direct instruction in how to make a transition.

    Verbal skills tend to be a strength or relative strength, so whenever possible, use verbal cues that
    are short, direct, and concrete.

    Remember that students with Asperger's Disorder tend to interpret language very literally, so
    avoid slang or idiomatic speech. Students with Asperger's Disorder may also have difficulty
    interpreting tone and facial expressions, so a sarcastic "Oh, that was great!" may inadvertently
    positively reinforce an inappropriate behavior. And don't count on them understanding that you're
    trying to give them one of those "meaningful looks" that work so well with their non-Asperger's
    peers. If the student is doing something inappropriate, do not bother asking them why they are
    doing it. Tell them in clear, short statements what they should do.

    When presenting multi-step directions, pause between instructions on multi-step tasks and check
    for comprehension.

    Because abstract thinking is challenging, incorporate visual cues and graphics organizers for
    written expression tasks. Visual editing strips, like those described in the executive dysfunction
    section of this site, can help the student remember what to do and in what order.

    If the student appears to be getting agitated or headed for a "melt-down," it may be due to stress
    from the particular situation or frustration. Avoid situations that might produce "sensory overload"
    for the student.

    If the student is getting overwhelmed, help the student make a "graceful exit" to go to some safe
    place that you've agreed upon where they can relax and calm themselves for a while.

    Eye contact is difficult for many students with Asperger's Disorder, and on some level, it may be
    meaningless to them if they don't derive as much information from looking at you as their non-
    Asperger's peers do. If you do want them to look at you, rather than cueing or demanding eye
    contact, try holding a prop in your hand when you're speaking to the class. If you change props or
    what you're holding, the student will be more likely to look at you.

    Do not expect skills learned in one setting to generalize to another setting. Teach the skill and
    rehearse it in a variety of settings.

    Provide clear expectations and rules for behavior.

    Foster social skills by direct instruction and teach the student how to interact through social
    stories, modeling and role-playing.

    Because many students with Asperger's have handwriting deficits, allow extra time for
    handwritten work and explore the use of word processors.

    If the student engages in perseverative questioning that interferes with classroom instruction, you
    can try instructing the student to write the question down and that you will meet with him after
    class to answer his question. If that doesn't work, talk with the student, state that his questions
    are creating a problem for his peers and for you, and ask him what he thinks would work to help
    him not ask so many questions during class. You may wish to incorporate a private visual signal.

    Behavior modification plans may work well for some behaviors and some students, but it may
    engender some "robotic-like" or rigid behaviors.

    Be particularly sensitive to peer rejection and bullying. You may need to insure that there is
    added adult supervision in settings like the playground, in the cafeteria, on the school bus, and in
    the halls (if the students go from room to room on their own). Pre-plan with the student what she
    will say or do in particular situations if you expect that they will be difficult for her, then quickly
    review with her afterwards how her plan worked.

    Arrange for the student to get speech and language services in school to help address the
    pragmatics of communication and conversational social skills. Provide small-group training in
    social skills.
     
  5. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

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    Mar 13, 2008

    Thank you so much!! I did try googling asperger's, but so far i haven't found anything very useful. If you know of any sites that can be helpful, please let me know! In general, i do want to know these things, with or without our lovely young man...
     
  6. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Mar 13, 2008

  7. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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  8. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Mar 13, 2008

    www.autism4teachers.com has some great ideas for visuals, behavior supports, etc.

    www.setbc.org (click on pictureset) has some great behavioral strategies and visuals as well.

    VISUALS ARE SO IMPORTANT!
     
  9. positiveautism

    positiveautism Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2008

  10. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

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    Mar 20, 2008

    thank you so much for all your help! i have a long weekend ahead, so i'll have time to research it. i'm a little disappointed by the meds, because the teacher now thinks that everything depends on that. but wouldn't the meds actually cause more problematic behaviors if it's the wrong thing for him? i guess i'll have to research it and keep you all posted!
     
  11. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Mar 23, 2008

    Just dropping in to say hi, nmk. Long time no see.
    And also that your teacher is a [insert appropriate adjective here] for relying solely on meds. Meds for behavior problems are worth NOTHING without personal intervention.

    Also, although it takes a lot of adult attention to get it going, deep breathing exercises do help my kid who has similar issues (he's been diagnosed with autism but I think that's questionable. He does have some spectrum-ish problem though) It works best, as nearly everything does for this kid, when combined with a separate, nondistracting place. Unfortunately, those can be hard to come by...
     
  12. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Mar 23, 2008

    Also, you might see if you can be in touch with one of the professionals who works with him. Ask if they think taking a walk is an appropriate calming technique for him (mention your personal observations, of course) and if they agree, ask them to suggest it to the teacher. (I think you could tell the professional that the teacher wants to hear it from an expert; don't think it'd be out of bounds)

    In my school, the aids are in on most meetings with others who work with their students in school (outside professionals even I'm not in touch with, though I wish I could be! They're super-touchy about privacy)
     
  13. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

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    The unfortunate situation is that I'm not allowed to talk to anyone about him according to school policy. Officially I'm not even supposed to know that he has asperger's!
     
  14. deeno

    deeno Rookie

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    Mar 27, 2008

    Autism

    Hi,
    There has been so much support for you concerning this question. I am in Australia and there are also some great resources over here!!!
    Sue Larkey and Autism Queensland are two sites that are easily accessible. If you email Sue from the site she will email back with a reply the next day. I have heard Tony Attwood's presentations and they are wonderful.
    I also think that you are wonderful. There are so many children being well cared for because of aides and teachers who are compassionate and eager to go the extra mile.
    Good luck
    Deeno:2up:
     
  15. teacherstudent1

    teacherstudent1 Companion

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    Mar 29, 2008

    I don't understand how you can be expected to work with students and not be informed not only of their disabilities, but their accommodations/modifications and/or behavior plans.

    In fact, one of the assurances given to the parents at every IEP meeting here states that the relevant portions of the student's IEPs, including goals. objectives, behavior plans, and modifications will be shared with the those responsible for the child's education. That would certainly include the aides if they are helping with that student's instruction, review, or discipline. At least it does here.

    How else are you supposed to know what is allowable, forbidden, or expected in dealing with his behavior?
     
  16. deeno

    deeno Rookie

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    My field of work is Learning Support and I would have expected that the IEP etc was well in place and that this was just an enquiry to help understanding. I think that the more we all know about autism the better. More and more information is coming out weekly.
    Deeno
     
  17. teacherstudent1

    teacherstudent1 Companion

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    That may well be true. The IEP should be in place (and it better be) and is to be followed. People have been sued for not following the IEP.

    You need to follow his behavior plan/AU document (whatever your state calls it). This is what the committee deemed appropriate for your student.

    Whatever it says, that is what you do. If it says to read a book, then you use the book. If it is not working, it is the teacher/school's responsibility to go back to committee and discuss and/or adjust it. In our district we involve our paras in this because they are often involved in the child's training, and they sometimes help gather documentation data as well.

    But again, you need to know what it says. I apologize if I got off on a tangent, but I guess I got hung up on the comments that you were not even to know what his disability is, so I assumed you were uninformed as to his behavior plan as well.

    If you are simply looking for information on Aspergers, please do check out the sites given. I have used information from some of these same sites for teachers and parents to help them understand this condition.

    Good luck!
     
  18. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

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    All I know is that he has Asperger's. Right now, what I'm trying to do is get as much information as I can, and print out articles that I think might be helpful. I've been leaving them on the teacher's desk, and I know she reads them because every time she finds a sentence that she feels doesn't apply to Kindergarten, she says so...and of course, disqualifies the whole article!
     
  19. deeno

    deeno Rookie

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    Mar 31, 2008

    Yes,
    I know it can be difficult but keep trying.
    Deeno
     
  20. teacherstudent1

    teacherstudent1 Companion

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    It sounds as if the teacher is not open to any suggestions. Will she sit down and talk to you at all about this student?
     
  21. MorahMe

    MorahMe Habitué

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    Apr 2, 2008

    she claims to be very open to suggestions, but isn't really. Discussing means she talks, we listen nicely, like little children, no comments, other than, "you're right!"

    Rainstorm: the link you posted is amazing, I'm using up all my paper on it!

    Thank you so much everyone for all the links, ideas, and support! Teacher's not in today, so I've been trying out a lot of the ideas I found on all these sites, and so far, it's been going pretty well!
     

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