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  • It is important to remember that many of these pupils live with a very high level of anxiety. Managing behaviour requires defusing this. Human and gentle coaxing can work well.
  • Teach the rest of the class to understand the child's difficulties.  A worksheet for primary schools and a fact sheet for post-primary pupils is available from the National Autistic Society.
  • Consider how you speak to the child; do they understand what I am saying? do I need to give more information?
  • Try to ensure you only give information/instructions when you are giving him/her your full attention and they are listening; don't shout instructions across the class or give them when the child is doing something else too.  Don't change the instruction half way through.
  • If you find you are regularly giving the same information, you could write it down and then refer the pupil to the list each time he/she asks.
  • Don't use ambiguous terms.  Words like 'silly' and 'naughty' don't mean anything to many pupils with Aspergers. 
  • Realise that when the pupil says something strange or improperly personal etc. that he/she is not doing this deliberately, he/she just does not understand the rules of conversation.
  • You may need to deliberately teach this. Role play can teach pupils how to react when  they meet someone.
  • If a pupil is doing something wrong, tell him/her what they should be doing instead, e.g. Stop banging that ruler; you should be writing.
  • Pupils with Aspergers have a need for structure in their lives so provide ways of structuring break times etc. for them, e.g. provide crossword puzzles, a quiet area in school for them to read or arrange for them to have a walk around the school grounds with a 'buddy'. Anything unusual that is going to happen should be explained to the pupil in advance.
  • Sometimes pupils with aspergers have a history of lashing out and hurting other children even when unprovoked.. This can make integration, particularly at playtimes, very difficult and it may be that he/she will need to be supervised by a classroom assistant. The child must be told that if he behaves unacceptably he or she will be taken away from the other children. However, it is essential that the classroom assistant is sensitive enough to know when to intervene and when to let ‘natural’ play occur.

    A classroom assistant could provide a structured program of activities for all the children under her supervision. By having a routine game for each day, the child with aspergers will feel more confident. He may feel more included if he/she gets a say in who plays the game.

    This is positive because play is supervised and a circle of friends is created. The child gets some recognition and some of the chosen friends will become friends for the child to play with later on when the scheme is phased out day by day.

    This plan could also benefit any others who have communications problems and/or could be extended for other purposes. The idea could be used to teach older children some games that they could pass on to the younger children in the school.

Teachers' Questions and Answers (pdf)

Case Studies

  Teaching Older Children with Aspergers


Further Information

Teaching Pupils with Aspergers Suggestions for Teaching with Aspergers
The Australian Scale for Aspergers Syndrome (pdf)extract from ASPERGER'S SYNDROME A GUIDE FOR PARENTS AND
Tony Attwood, PhD
A School's guide to Asperger Syndrome



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