Intro to Asperger’s Syndrome For Teachers

Note: Hopefully, this brief intro will help teachers understand and deal with some of the everyday questions that come up.  Feel free to personalize and use it for your own child.  I also recommend the more thorough and in-depth Oasis Teacher’s Guide.

Dear Teacher,

My son/daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome.  This means my child’s patterns of thought and behavior will be a little different than you may be used to.  Here are some issues that may come up, along with some suggestions:

Social Skills Challenges will mean :

  • Difficulty recognizing facial expression, tone of voice, and body language
  • Little to no eye contact
  • Volume control and/or monotone voice
  • Inability to automatically understand how others are thinking or feeling
  • Unintentional inappropriate behavior
  • He/she may not stay with the group or do what the group is doing
  • He/she does not automatically glance at others to check which task/page/worksheet needs to be done at the moment

This means that teamwork and cooperating in groups will be challenging for my child.  He/she will not always recognize when anyone’s behavior is offensive (including his own), and will not understand when others become upset or even cruel.

*Please be patient and help facilitate understanding on all sides.  Speak clearly and avoid body language; use speech to get any points across, and don’t assume he/she understands what is happening socially.*

Watch out for bullying/teasing, misunderstandings, wandering, and ostracism.

Fine Motor Skills will affect:

  • Handwriting skills
  • Scissor skills
  • The ability to color within the lines
  • Button and shoe lacing skills

*Please be understanding and encouraging; handwriting is especially difficult and even painful for my child.  He/she is not slacking or messy on purpose, but working slowly to improve a difficult skill.*

Meltdowns may occur because:

  • Bad surprises can overwhelm and panic my child
  • Too much noise and activity can overstimulate him/her
  • My child is easily frustrated and upset
  • Time pressure and/or stress can cause panic

*Please stay calm.  If it looks like he’s getting worked up, don’t ignore him; he never pretends and it will only get worse.  My child is not falling apart on purpose, and has no idea what he/she looks like.  This is not a bid for attention, but a very real feeling of frustration and panic.  Help him/her find a solution – even if it seems obvious – to the problem at hand.*

My child’s Literal Mind makes it difficult for him/her to understand:

  • Sayings/proverbs and sometimes jokes
  • Nuance and sarcasm
  • When rules do not apply
  • Shades of grey

Often dubbed “The Rules Police,” children like this can be officious and even offensive in reminding everyone of the rules.  Their inflexibility is not a mask or pretense, but an inability to understand shades of grey.

*Please be consistent with any rules, and clearly state when they do not apply.  Remind them that the rules apply the same to everyone.  Help guide my child when any situation presents shades of grey or nuance, to avoid confusion, misunderstandings, and/or meltdowns.*

My child may have additional difficulty with:

  • Organization
  • Multiple step directions
  • Multi-tasking
  • Transitions
  • Unstructured time
  • Tics and odd mannerisms (humming, repetitive motions, rocking, etc.)
  • Balance

*Lists and visual aids are a great way to help with some of these challenges.  Break down complex tasks into simpler steps, if possible, and please understand that multi-tasking (ex: reading, answering questions, and filling out worksheet at the same time) simply may not be possible. These kids thrive on routine and predictability.*

Some Common Positives for Asperger’s Syndrome:

  • Intense interest in facts and details
  • Love of learning (especially when the subject appeals)
  • Honesty and directness
  • Intelligence
  • Keen visual memory
  • Think-outside-the-box mentality

(For more information on Asperger’s Syndrome:

About aspergerfamily3

Living in an Asperger's World, surrounded by a love of learning, interesting people, and daily challenges.
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2 Responses to Intro to Asperger’s Syndrome For Teachers

  1. This is wonderful! Every year I’ve written a note to the teach regarding him and his severe ADHD/ODD. This is the first year I am writting about him and Aspergers. We only got the Diagnosis in Feb of this year. I am just know coming out of my mourning period and I am a bit over whelmed. This sample helps so much. Thank you! And I will be back to read your blog!!

  2. Best of luck to you! And thank you for your kind words!


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