Managing Asperger's Syndrome

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by jcizman, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. jcizman

    jcizman Rookie

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    Apr 25, 2006

    I would appreciate insight on managing a student with Asperger's Syndrome. When this student refuses to comply with requests and/or becomes irate and beligerent, the response to is to isolate
    her from the other students. I was taught an alternative approach; that is, to model appropriate behavior and to focus on
    the successful integration of the student into the classroom, etc.
    Teaching social cues is key to the student's success and somehow
    isolating her seems counterproductive. Wouldn't a positive reinforcement/behavior modification approach be more productive?
    I do not see an improvement in behavior. Comments or ideas?
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Apr 25, 2006

    Do you have any behavior mod plan in place? Is it visible? Meaningful to the student?
     
  4. jcizman

    jcizman Rookie

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    I question the meaningfulness to the student. My successes with
    students similarly diagnosed were rooted in a program of structure,
    repetition and an ongoing interpretation of his/her environment.
    Is negativity ever the answer?
     
  5. michelb366

    michelb366 Comrade

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    Apr 25, 2006

    I will be having a student next year who has also been diagnosed. Any tips? I have had him in my after-school chess club for a few months, but all day is much different than an hour. He had a full-time aide last year and this year the aide has been completely eliminated, so I will be on my own. Luckily, I'll only have about 16 kids.
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Apr 26, 2006

    Negativity on the part of the teacher? No, of course not. I have had success with my one Aspergers student but it is only one period a day. I just stay very clear-cut and firm. It helps that he is at the top of my class, too.
     
  7. jcizman

    jcizman Rookie

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    The conundrum Asperger's poses is that their social deficits are "invisible" and thus overlooked. I'll never forget the time I took one of my students to a bagel shop and he puzzled and pondered over the wide assortment of bagels, testing my and the lengthy line of customers' patience. Upon reflection I realized that he could not "associate" flavors with life experiences. I like blueberries on cereal so why wouldn't I like them in my bagel? He couldn't reason in this way. Since then I have always approached these students with a quiet, caring caution. That's why the negative approach seems so inappropriate to me. Is it that learning disabled students appear "stubborn" and thus require a "firm" approach. Do some educators confuse structure with stricture? I want to give my colleagues the benefit of the doubt but why abandon the strategies that have proven successful for me?
     
  8. NCP

    NCP Comrade

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    Apr 26, 2006

    I teach second grade and have had a few students with Autism, another disorder on the spectrum. As for your original question of isolation, sometimes it can be helpful, but it was certainly never used in a negative way. I have worked with my students to get them to voice when they need a time out. Occasionally though, especially with the little boy I have this year, the language piece is not there or as strong, so he cannot make the connection between "I'm frustrated" and "I need a time out". This lack of language often translates into throwing of whatever is near him. But the student I had last year would tell me, "I'm angry, I want to be by myself." He would then take 5-10 minutes of quiet working, independently, to reset himself.
    I guess I relate it to myself, meaning sometimes when I am dealing with difficult adults or with a situation I am not comfortable with (ie: I don't get it, need more processing time), I will excuse myself, reflect and process, then go back when I am fresh and confident. I don't feel this is socially unacceptable, and could even be taught. Example: It's okay to take a time out, or breather, to collect your thoughts and calm down, and then you need to go back and resolve or finish the task.
    Who is telling you to handle it in this negative way? As Upsadaisy pointed out, if there is an action plan (or whatever your school calls it), to help this student when things are out of control, it should be followed, but if you don't agree you should certainly offer other suggestions.
     
  9. jcizman

    jcizman Rookie

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    Apr 26, 2006

    NCP: Thanks for the insight. I perceive the strategy as "negative" because the student cries or raises her voice when isolation is imposed. I have not observed an improvement in her behavior.
    Ours is an alternative school with a more relaxed environment and I wonder if this is confusing to her. My colleagues think I'm crazy but I MISS bells delineating classes and aptly defining the day.
     
  10. NCP

    NCP Comrade

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    Apr 26, 2006

    Then, yes, this seems negative. As I said before I have tried to be sure my students know it is okay to need to take a break from a situation and even encourage my other "regular" students to use this same strategy. Of course you have to be sure they don't abuse the privilege!
     
  11. ilithiya

    ilithiya Rookie

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    Apr 26, 2006


    You didn't mention how old she is, or what grade; but I would think that if she's been in the school system for any length of time, that perhaps that your more relaxed surroundings may indeed be a problem.

    I have a son who has just barely missed the technical evals for both Aspergers and Autism, so he may have them, only very slightly; in his case, a long-used routine is better for him than even well-explained upheaval. My son thrives on routine - he's up at 6:15 and he wakes me at 6:30 every single morning that I have him (his dad has custody).

    I am not an authority in any way, but here's what I think. Maybe part of her protesting the isolation (as that's what I'm inferring) is that it may have been used in a negative way previously, and she's used to that "baggage". I've noticed that most kids who are Asperger's/autistic/Fragile X do, at some point, perform better when they aren't overwhelmed by excess stimulus. Perhaps you could ask her if she might work better in a place or corner of the room that isn't as noisy/busy?

    Sorry for being so wordy. :)

    Illy
     
  12. jcizman

    jcizman Rookie

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    Apr 27, 2006

    Illy-I think you're right. This student may need more structure. And
    "well explained upheaval" describes the environment well. (I refer to it as "controlled chaos". Our program serves some students really well but in this case I think modifications are in order.
    Thanks.
     
  13. Teacher-AK

    Teacher-AK Rookie

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    Apr 27, 2006

    I agree with the need of structure. I have had students with Asperger's as well as high functioning autism and they don't do well with change. Also, stimuli such as smell or sound get them all riled up. With the boy I had in both second and fourth grade who has Asperger's, he needed to be given time limits to complete things in intervals. For example, he would have 3 minutes to complete problems 1 and 2...and so on. If he didn't have that structure he would never complete an assignment. As he got older, he didn't need as much structure within an assignment, rather to complete the assignment as a whole.

    In terms of refusing to cooperate or comply with a request, I would tell the student that it was okay if he didn't want to do it now, but that he has a specific period of time within which it must be done.

    Sorry for being so wordy!!
     
  14. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Apr 28, 2006

    I am a special education teacher diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome!

    Hello all,

    Students with Asperger's Syndrome have difficulty with simple directions when they have been presented in a different way than originally. People with Asperger's Syndrome do not do well with verbal interactions unless it relates to their interests. They prefer directions in a more concrete, clear, and simple context. I would suggest writing down what you want completed. We have difficulty with organizational skills and this needs to be taught in small increments so it doesn't overwhelm! Students with Asperger's Syndrome crave and do well with structure and visual cues are the best way. I would also suggest timing some of the activities using a timer to remind the student that it should be coming to a close. It has to be done consistently as well. If you could be more specific with the actual behaviors, I may be able to assist you more appropriately as well.

    Troy in Los Angeles, CA
    AspieTeacher
     
  15. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    Jun 29, 2006

    Help Help Help

    I have read all our posts on asbergers in school but what about a day camp setting? I have a camper who really needs help. He is diagnosed with asbergers. He frequenty looses control and recently has become violent. what can i do to avoid these melt downs or cope with them, camp is ever changing and even though we have a schedual it frequently gets changed to accomodate situations. I dont want to have to ask this child to leave but he has become violent to couneslors and other campers ....please any help would be great!!!
     
  16. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Jun 30, 2006


    Your little camper might need a social story about camp life. In the story talk about changes in the schedule and what he could do when he is confused/frustrated/upset. Read the story first thing with him - make it part of his routine. You could also do a separate story about his behaviors and consequences for good behav. and for neg. behav. - ie. Mommy, my camp counselors and friends are happy when I use my words (keep my hands to myself) when I am upset/sad...

    You could also make him his own individual schedule and prewarn him when there will be a change in schedule (even if it is 15 minutes).

    You may also want to check with a local autism chapter - they may provide funding for a one-on-one support worker to support this child.
     

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