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Asperger's Part 1
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    Greetings from the Office of Disability Services.
    Over the next several minutes, you will
    learn about one of our fast growing populations; a
    group that can offer interesting
    perspectives in the class and also unique
    challenges. This group is on the Autism Spectrum
    and is categorized as Asperger’s Syndrome.
    This presentation is divided into
    two parts. Part one is descriptive and part two is
    suggestions on how to assist in
    your Asperger’s student’s success.

    According to the “Do-IT” organization, “Individuals
    with Asperger's have average or
    above-average intelligence and normal language
    development. Although they often have
    exceptionally rich vocabularies, individuals with
    Asperger‘s may have an overly
    literal understanding of language, and their
    speech patterns may be unusual. People
    with Asperger‘s also have difficulty interpreting
    nonverbal communication, such
    as gestures and facial expressions.

    Many individuals with Asperger's have a strong
    preoccupation with a particular subject matter
    and may exhibit considerable knowledge, skill,
    and/or talent in a specific area. Some individuals
    may have a heightened sensitivity to
    sounds, odors, or other sensory input. It is
    diagnosed on the basis of a pattern of behaviors
    and is more common in boys than girls.” As with all disabilities, Asperger’s does not
    impact all individuals in the same way.
    However, most with Asperger’s Syndrome do
    display a triad of challenges. This triad involves
    issues surrounding patterns of communication,
    intense interests and repetitive behaviors.
    Because people with Asperger’s are very literal
    or concrete thinkers, and have difficulty
    reading facial expressions and body language,
    they may exhibit what others would consider odd
    or different social skills. These behaviors can
    range from very stiff to overly expressive.
    Another challenge is in regards to unexpected
    change. One coping skill for people with
    Asperger’s is a reliance on repetition. When
    unexpected changes occur, this can cause
    great discomfort or confusion. When possible,
    try to give this student enough advanced notice
    to upcoming changes as to allow for the process
    to sink in. This, of course, will not
    always be possible, but it is food for thought as
    you plan your course activities.
    Sensory issues can be very minor or very
    significant issues for a student with AS.
    Think about the sensory stimulation that is
    involved in a classroom setting: the
    buzzing of the lights, the ticking of the clock, the
    sound of someone eating; the feel of
    the tag on the shirt collar, the smell of someone’s
    perfume or cologne, people whispering;
    people walking by the classroom and finally the
    instructor talking. While most people can
    selectively filter out extraneous sensory input,
    many on the Autism Spectrum have
    difficulty doing this. When you think of someone
    severely autistic who may be rocking in
    the corner and perhaps holding their head and not
    speaking a word, you may think they are
    eternally silent because nothing, in terms of
    sensory input, is getting in. The
    reality is, everything is getting in and this person
    is not able to filter out the many
    sensory stimulants coming at them. Students in
    our classrooms will not have this
    degree of sensory sensitivity, but be aware that
    issues may arise if, for example, someone
    is crunching potato chips in the classroom.
    Another potential challenge in the classroom is
    that this student may have a preoccupation on a
    particular subject or topic and may want
    to talk only about that topic exclusively. This is the end of part 1. Please join me for part
    two of this presentation to learn how
    you can assist in your Asperger’s students’
    Students with Asperger’s Syndrome Unique Challenges: Part 1 Asperger’s and Sensory Related Issues Average or above average intelligence Overly literal understanding of language Different type of speech patterns Difficulty interpreting non verbal cues Preoccupation with a subject Heightened sensitively to sensory input DO-IT organization is: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology ( No one student is exactly like others Most of the limitations have to do with the triad of challenges: communication intense interests repetitive behaviors. Issues and Challenges Social skills Body language Communication Literal thinking Issues and Challenges (cont’d) Unexpected change Sensory sensitivity Preoccupation with a subject End of Part 1 Join me for Part 2