Understanding the condition
Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. Unlike individuals with autism they tend not to have learning disabilities, but may have specific learning difficulties.
Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome will have average or higher than average intelligence. They are unlikely to have speech difficulties but may experience difficulties in understanding and interpreting language.
Challenges faced by students
Social interaction and relationships
Unlike individuals who experience autism, individuals who have Asperger’s syndrome often want and try very hard to interact and make friends. The challenge for individuals is being able to interpret non-verbal communication such as tone, facial expressions, jokes and sarcasm which can leave an individual feeling confused and isolated. Click here to find out more about supporting social skills in school
Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome often have very good language skills but when in a conversation can find it difficult to pick upon cues from the other person therefore may just continue to talk and talk. A person with Asperger’s may often seem over-precise or over-literal for example if they were to hear a someone say something like “I couldn’t believe that she bit my head off” or “Really? Get out of here!”, taken as a literal translation may cause the person to feel scared, frightened and ill at ease. Click here to find out more about supporting social communication skills in school
Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome often develop an almost obsessive interest in collecting or a particular topic such as dinosaurs, trains, aeroplanes. Their interest may evolve around arranging or memorising facts and statistics.
With the right support, an individual’s interest can be a great vehicle to developing communication skills, confidence, academic learning and life skills. A person’s interest may also become a topic that can take forward to study ant university or lead to a vocation.
Repetitive behaviour and routines
Individuals with Asperger’s syndrome will prefer routine and order to their day. Young children may often impose an order to their day such as always going on the same route to school or to the local shop.
Any change to the daily routine can cause an individual to feel anxious and distressed. Therefore, any change should be planned for ahead as much as possible and the individual should be prepared for any potential change.
To find out more about creating a positive learning environment for children with Asperger’s Syndrome in your class, click here