1st day as an English Teacher aids young English Teachers. It provides teaching material as well as tips to young instructors. The blog constitutes a communication platform which facilitates the exchange of teaching experiences among teachers of English language.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Effective Teaching Strategies for Asperger's Students

Students with Asperger's syndrome, while on the higher end of the autism scale, have special needs that must be addressed. Although the condition is quite challenging, a curriculum designed to assist these students will go a long way to allowing them to cope with their various limitations. Diagnosed in 1944, by Hans Asperger, Asperger's syndrome affects approximately seven out of 1000 individuals, according to Dr. Sula Wolff.
Challenges for Asperger's Students
Although Asperger's syndrome is classified as a form of autism, the Asperger's student exhibits many high-functioning characteristics, and this can lead to problems in a learning environment. Since many Asperger's students seem to have one particular area of interest that fascinates them to the point of excluding all others, it can be difficult to find a way to reach these students.

Strategies for Teachers of Asperger's Students
Since many teachers fail to grasp the concept that the Asperger's syndrome student is laboring under a handicap, they tend to overlook the special needs of the individual. Asperger's syndrome can often be hidden beneath a guise of average to above average IQ scores, causing teachers to underestimate the severity of the disorder. Therefore, the first step in finding an effective strategy is to educate teachers about Asperger's syndrome and what it entails.

Secondly, many sufferers of Asperger's syndrome suffer from teasing and bullying, due to their lack of empathy and social skills. For these students, being in a normal, socially interactive classroom can be overwhelming. It often works out best for both teacher and student to be in an environment where there is very little social interaction with other students.

Another important strategy is to make the student feel secure. Although an Asperger's syndrome student might have difficulty reading and reacting to social signals, the student is well aware of his own emotions, and frequently finds himself under a great deal of stress when trying to deal with both teachers and students. By understanding and acknowledging the limitations of the Asperger's syndrome student, the teacher can create a safe environment for learning.

If possible, it would be best for the Asperger's syndrome student to have some sort of structure within the dynamic environment of the education system. By maintaining one area of consistency, such as with one particular teacher or teacher's aide, the student will feel somewhat more secure in dealing with those areas outside of her control.

By working to make the student feel as secure and safe as possible, the teacher will be able to form a bond of trust, a strategy that will greatly enhance the likelihood of success in dealing with the Asperger's syndrome student.

Many students with Asperger's syndrome have one or two areas they are particularly fascinated with. If a teacher finds a way to combine the curriculum with whatever area the student is interested in, she greatly increases the likelihood of a successful interaction. For example, if a student is interested in trains, finding a way to tie in math skills with trains can help the student maintain a higher level of interest.

Since many Asperger's syndrome students have never learned how to "read" facial expressions, it helps to work with them using photographs and flash cards to identify signs of exasperation or anger. This will help them "read" some of the other students--as well as others outside the classroom environment.

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