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Strategies for Teaching Students with Asperger’s Syndrome

written by: Keren Perles • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 9/11/2012

Students with Asperger syndrome have several issues that can affect how they interact in the classroom. These teaching strategies for Asperger syndrome (AS) will give you some ideas about how to help your AS students in the classroom.

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    Be Consistent

    Predictability and structure are key to working well with a student who has Asperger syndrome. Try to structure your class time the same way each day, and prepare the student for any changes in the routine, no matter how minor they may seem to you.

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    Encourage Socialization

    Encourage the student with Asperger syndrome to work in pairs or groups, especially if he displays lack of social awareness. You may also want to consider instituting a buddy system in which a sensitive classmate can look out for the student with Asperger syndrome.

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    Assist With Attention Problems

    If the student with Asperger syndrome has attention problems, it is preferable to seat her in the front of the classroom. You can also arrange to use a certain gesture that only the student will recognize in order to get the student’s attention when her mind begins to wander. It may also help to break a lesson down into shorter time blocks so that the student will be able to attend as needed.

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    Teach Coping Strategies

    Many students with Asperger syndrome are emotionally vulnerable, which means that a minor incident can sometimes cause them to fall apart. You can help them handle the inevitable ups and downs of life by teaching them coping strategies that they can use when things don’t go the way they’d like for them to go. For example, you can help them identify their negative emotions based on their physical reactions – how tense their muscles are, what their facial expression feels like – and can coach them on ways to deal with stresses that make them feel upset. You might suggest that they count to ten before they react, or that they learn to say “I don’t like that" instead of acting out. These teaching strategies for Asperger syndrome can help them not only in your class, but throughout their lives.