Advice for Asperger's
July 13, 2005
I've had the pleasure of teaching autistic inclusion students for the past four years. I can tell you I always learned as much or more from my students with autism as they learned from me! They have all been Asperger's and are amazing. I suggest the following:
- Have the Asperger students sit in close proximity to one another, but also with helpful students who can work well in a 'social group' with them.
- Let your Asperger kids know about any changes in their daily routine well in advance. You will find that change is quite frustrating to them. They are comfortable with normal routines and may balk at change! Don't relent. They must learn to adapt!
- Never feel your Asperger kids are arguing with you if they frequently ask 'why questions.'
- Don't feel uncomfortable if these students do not make eye contact when speaking to you and their peers.
- They like to please and love to be praised.
- I always had a team meeting without my Asperger kids in attendance. My teammate and I would have a frank discussion about learning differences, physical differences, working together as a team, meeting/making friends from other cultures, etc.
During this time we talked about the fact that some differences are obvious, such as being visually impaired and needing Braille textbooks, white cane, Braille computer, etc. At this time the autistic resource teacher talks to the team about autistic students and generally prepares them for what to expect. She would give them an opportunity to ask questions.
On a two-teacher team with 60 or more students, we never had anyone have any problem or act in any negative way toward our Asperger kids. In fact, they couldn't do enough to look out for them in P.E., encore classes, or lunch, and made sure all were included in all activities!
- Asperger kids have great appreciation for humor but don't always show it.
- They love to listen to you read aloud. Sit close to them when you do.