April 11, 2012

2nd part of the review of School Success

Okay, I had time to sit and finish off School Sucess for kids with Asperger's Syndrome yesterday.  I did part 1 last month here

So, strategies and interventions that work in the classroom - they expand on that a lot.  The issues that they address include
 - problems with social interactions;
- very focused areas of interest and expertise;
- need for predictability
- problems with language
- problems with abstract reasoning
- problems with sensory hyper- or hypo sensitivity
- problems with anxiety, depression, and emotional regulation
- problems with attention, organization, and other areas of executive functioning
- problems with motor issues including written production and
- problems with ritualistic, repetitive, or rigid behaviour

Basically, for social interactions, try to minimize bullying.  Of any kind.  By being honest about AS with the other students.  Exposing them to the reality that it's not "weird" it's just the way they are.

With very focused areas of interest - try to build bridges with those interests.  Use those interests to engender interest in other subjects by associating them.  Use the special interests as a reward for doing other tasks.  Always try to accentuate the interest and expertise.

With need for predictability - try to maintain a set way of doing things in the classroom.  Have routines, picture clues of what to do, visual cues to follow as well as verbal reminders

Problems with language - try to minimize the use of similes and metaphors to the child, simplify the language used.  Don't dumb it down, you're not talking to an idiot.  Just realize they don't grasp hidden meanings well.

Problems with abstract reasoning - break down the goals of the lessons and describe each part of it that you want accomplished.  Allow the student to show that they understand the lesson in other ways than what they have difficulty with.  i.e. they have trouble writing, why can't they present the info in an oral format for instance?  Or a story board with pictures?

Problems with hyper or hypo sensitivity - if the child seems anxious and/or withdrawn try to solve that with talking to them.  Or getting them to type it out on a computer.  Or drawing a picture of what they're feeling.  Try to find out what is bothering them. Is it the flickering of the fluorescent lights for instance? Try to find ways to minimize distractions for the student.

Problems with anxiety, depression, and emotional regulation - try to work to proactively nip these situations in the bud.  Work on ways to calm the student.  Have a place they can go or a person they can go to to talk or communicate with.  Talk with the parents about how best to calm the child if they get upset.

Attention, organization, and executive functioning - use visual schedules instead of written ones.
Use proximity to teachers and cues from them. Structure work periods into smaller segments and have clear goals stated with a timer or stopwatch monitoring them. Structure the environment with a clearly defined work area for them.

Written production and motor issues - find alternatives for the child to do other than structured physical exercise or writing.  Can they type out projects perhaps?  Can they draw pictures and make story boards to show they know the material?  Can they simply have fun outside with a support person instead of being forced to participate in games in physical education classes?  Can they be supported in a way that suits their style?

Ritualistic, repetitive, or rigid behaviours - define a Functional Behavioural Analysis of the child. The FBA should accurately describe the behaviour, analyze the antecedents to that behaviour, and describe the current consequences and rewards to see if they are in fact helping to curb the behaviour.  If possible, intervene before the behaviour becomes disruptive. Respond to the behaviour in a positive fashion and try to distract the student.

Then they go on and talk about working with the school.  Getting a person to take the commitment to being the liason between the school, student and parents.  Having a cohesive mix of communication flowing always.

Then they talk about parenting.  Rules and regulations that most parents with autistic children already know.  So I won't repeat any of it.

So, all in all a fairly good resource book for kids with Asperger's syndrome.  I'd recommend it, if  you're a parent of a child with AS.  It would help to give it to the teacher I'd imagine.  I'll refer to it for Sarah's teachers in Grade 7.  

By the way, I've interchangeably used some of my own language and some of the language from the book in some of the points I detailed..  Just trying to get their point across in as few words as possible. 

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