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"... the most important considerations in devising educational programs for children with autistic spectrum disorders have to do with recognition of the autism spectrum as a whole, with the concomitant implications for social, communicative, and behavioral development and learning, and with the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child across areas of development."
—Educating Children with Autism2001



Strategies
Intervention Strategies by Susan Stokes

Emotional Vulnerability
Children with Asperger’s Syndrome often have the intellectual ability to successfully participate in the regular education curriculum. However, they may lack the social/emotional abilities to cope with the demands of the regular education environment, such as regular classroom, recess, and lunch (13). As a result, these children may exhibit a low self-esteem, may be self-critical and may be unable to tolerate making mistakes (perfectionist) (13). Thus they can become easily overwhelmed, stressed and frustrated, resulting in behavioral outbursts due to poor coping strategies/self-regulation. These children can appear quite anxious for most of their waking day as they continually attempt to manage an ever-changing, sensory stimulating, social world. As stated by Tony Attwood, children with Asperger’s Syndrome “are emotionally confused, not emotionally disturbed” (2).

Emotional Vulnerability Intervention Strategies
Utilize the child’s strengths and incorporate them into special projects/assignments to be presented to the class by the child. This activity may increase his self-esteem with peers (e.g., a child with a high interest in geography could give a presentation to the class relating to the current area of study).

Teach the child relaxation techniques that he could learn to implement on his own to decrease anxiety levels (e.g., “Take a big breath, count to ten”, etc.) These steps could initially be written down as visual “cue” cards for the child to carry with him, and refer to as needed.

Reprinted from "Children with Asperger's Syndrome: Characteristics/Learning Styles and Intervention Strategies" by Susan Stokes, Autism Consultant for the Cooperative Educational Service Agency #7, Wisconsin State Department of Special Education. 


    Improving the educational experiences and outcomes of students on the autism spectrum in grades K-12

     
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