Asperger's in the Classroom (page 2)


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Updated on Mar 30, 2009

Services for Children with Asperger’s

Services include speech language pathology, occupational therapy, special education from a special educator, and sometimes counseling. Smith Myles explains that the services are sometimes direct and are sometimes provided through consultation—meaning a speech pathologist might work with the general educator to ensure that the environment is structured so the child can be successful. “Our children are visual learners,” Smith Myles says. “The occupational therapist might work with the teacher to make sure there’s visual support and that the language is at a level the child can understand.” As an example, if a teacher says, “Hurry up,” a student with Asperger’s might get up from his or her seat and run, which might result in the child getting in trouble for running.

“It’s important for the teacher to understand the child with Asperger’s and to understand his characteristics,” Smith Myles says. “They manifest differently, and some may be more pronounced than others.”

Since most children with Asperger’s are served in the regular classroom, and since general educators are not trained to work specifically with children diagnosed with Asperger’s, regular parental involvement is necessary. Golubock calls this regular involvement “polite persistence.”

“Parents have the right under the law to call IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings any time they want,” Golubock says. “I’ve had parents who demanded one every single week.”

Golubock explains that the polite part of the equation involves parents recognizing that teachers have a whole classroom they’re serving—that their child is not the only student. “You don’t want to become a problem parent,” Golubock says. “Keep asking, and after a while, when you ask politely and offer to help if necessary, they’re going to be embarrassed because they haven’t done it. They’re going to be motivated.”

Like the IEP, CAPS (Comprehensive Autism Planning Systems) is another tool to help parents and educators lay out a child’s daily schedule, delineating the specific interventions the child needs. “Parents should follow up to make sure that interventions are implemented throughout the day,” Smith Myles says. CAPS is a framework that indicates the supports that are needed in terms of structure modification, communication support, and sensory support; data that are supposed to be taken; and how skills are going to be generalized. “It’s an amazing tool,” Smith Myles says. “Parents and teachers are involved in creating the CAPS, which empowers parents to be a part of the process and to follow up on a regular basis. Students can also use the tool and can begin to understand themselves and advocate for themselves.”

For more information about Asperger’s symptoms and support services, Golubock recommends checking out the Online Asperger’s Syndrome Information & Support and the Autism Society of America.

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