Working with Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome

Children with Asperger’s syndrome may present a challenge for educators. While they appear capable and are good with memorization and factual information, they may be weak in comprehension and cognitively inflexible. Educators need to capitalize on their abilities, discovering their strengths and interests in order to develop their talents.

People with Asperger’s syndrome particularly need assistance in developing their social and communication skills. Children and young adults who received social and communications skills training are better able to express themselves, understand language and become more skillful at communicating with others, increasing their likelihood of successful social interactions.

Early intervention means a better chance for independent living and further education. While few programs are designed specifically to address Asperger’s syndrome, some of the treatment approaches used for people with “high functioning” autism, such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Treatment & Education of Autistic and Related Communication of Handicapped Children (TEACCH), may be appropriate for a person with Asperger syndrome.

ABA is based on the idea that behavior rewarded will more likely be repeated. ABA is typically done on a one-to-one basis and may focus on specific behaviors and communication skills.

TEACCH was developed at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina as a structured teaching approach that used the child’s visual and rote memory strengths to improve communication, social and coping skills. Pictures and charts that show a daily schedule help the child with Asperger’s syndrome to anticipate what will happen during the day. This is particularly important for children with Asperger’s syndrome since they usually have difficulties with changes in routine.

Source: Autism Society of America