Tuesday, March 06, 2007

ASPERGER'S SYNDROME: Classroom Practices

Children whose needs are not at the severe end of the spectrum have been and can be successfully included within mainstream schools. This has been most successful where schools have been given opportunities to understand the implications of Asperger syndrome or autism for the child and have had the opportunity to explore strategies and interventions. There will need to be flexibility and a recognition that the child may need some approaches different to those used for the other children. Close working with parents is also essential, to ensure consistency and mutual support.

Classroom practice for children with autism or Asperger syndrome in mainstream school will need to take into account the following issues:

- the child's lack of generalisation of learning (every situation appears different to the child)
- the lack of incidental learning (everything needs to be directly taught)
- the literalness of understanding
- difficulties in becoming involved in group activities including play and games
- possible reactions to over-stimulation and the fact that this can easily occur in situations that other children cope well with
- observed behaviours which might be seen as simple naughtiness or non-compliance may in fact have a range of other meanings for the child with autism or Asperger syndrome (i.e. the observed 'naughty' or 'non-compliant' behaviour may in fact be the child's only way ... of indicating the need for help or attention, or the need to escape from stressful situations,... of obtaining desired objects, ... of demonstrating his/her lack of understanding, ... of protesting against unwanted events, ... of gaining stimulation).

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