An aspect of the Center for
Developmental Disorder: Asperger Syndrome
written by: Sara Bell
I attest that the following
report is a product of my own original work.
Asperger Syndrome is a subcategory of
Developmental Disorder (PDD). Currently,
for every ten thousand children, Asperger Syndrome is found in twenty
twenty-five of them. With new research
being conducted, the familiarity with this disorder is increasing. Thus, educators are learning more and more
about ways to help children with Asperger Syndrome be successful.
of Asperger Syndrome
1944, Viennese pediatrician Hans Asperger categorized Asperger Syndrome
autistic spectrum disorder or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)
2004). It was not until 1994, that PDD
included five subcategories: Autistic Disorder, Childhood
Disorder, Rett Disorder, Asperger Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental
Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (Tsai, 2000).
These subcategories were proposed in the fourth
edition of the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), hence
this disorder fairly new.
Asperger Syndrome is
categorized by impairments in communicative speech, obsessive
behavior, and social behavior (Fine, 2004).
According to Turnbull, Turnbull, Shank, and Smith
(2004), an Asperger
Syndrome individual has fewer delays in intellectual performance and
but has significant setbacks in the areas of emotional and social
functioning. DSM-IV defines Asperger
Syndrome by the following criteria (Henderson,
Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least
impairments in the use of multiple
nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body
and gestures to regulate social interaction
to develop peer relationships
appropriate to developmental level
a lack of
spontaneously seeking to share
enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g. by a lack
showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
lack of social
or emotional reciprocity
B. Restricted, repetitive and
of behavior, interests, and activities, as
manifested by at least one of the
preoccupation with one or more
stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either
intensity or focus
inflexible adherence to specific,
nonfunctional routines or rituals
and repetitive motor mannerisms
(e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body
preoccupation with parts of
C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment
occupational, or other important areas of functioning
D. There is
no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g., single words
age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)
E. There is
no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the
of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than
interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood
are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or
Diagnosis of Asperger
Syndrome tends to occur later
in life as opposed to an Autism diagnosis (Henderson, 2001).
This trend could be due to the innovativeness
of the disorder. Persons diagnosed with
Asperger Syndrome tend to have a combination of diagnoses and/or
2001). This could be due to the fact that
disorder is fairly new, and not enough research has been conducted. According to Twachtman-Cullen (1997), as
cited in Henderson
(2001), the most common co-occurrence and/or misdiagnosed disorders
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional/Defiant Disorder
Conduct Disorder (CD), Schizoid or Schizotypal sensory integration
Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Personality
is still some
controversy about the causes of Asperger Syndrome, however, many
disorder is due to genetics, while others causes are unknown. According to Fine (2004), genetic
correlations show that one parent, most often the father of the child
Asperger Syndrome, displays qualities of the disorder, or at least,
tentativeness, constricted interests, and temperamental traits.
Out of every 10,000
children, Asperger Syndrome is
found in between 20 to 25 children, while Autism is only found in 4 out
10,000 children, thus making Asperger Syndrome more common than autism
2004). Asperger Syndrome is diagnosed
more frequently in males than females by a 4:1 margin (Fine, 2004). Prevalence of this syndrome seems to be
increasing due to the enhancement of research being conducted. Although Asperger Syndrome is becoming more
recognized by society, many individuals in their school years are still
being diagnosed (Barnhill, 2001). With
the issue of cultural based statistics, there seems to be no research
Asperger Syndrome consists of many characteristics
that differentiate it
from other disorders. A person with
Asperger Syndrome tends to show a deficiency in developmentally
skills (Adreon & Stella, 2001). It
is hard for an Asperger Syndrome child to have friends and carry on
conversations because they do not understand how to translate
cues. Children with Asperger Syndrome
have difficulty interpreting facial expressions, eye contact, and
& Stella, 2001). Their conversations
have a tendency to revolve around themselves and their voices are
sound emotionless and flat (Edelson, 1995).
There are many
symptoms that a
child with Asperger Syndrome has in the area of cognition.
Persons with Asperger Syndrome tend to be
very intelligent and have a higher verbal IQ performance (Fine, 2004). Many children with Asperger Syndrome have
problems changing focus and cannot handle change (Adreon & Stella,
2001). Often, children with Asperger
obsessive with topics such as music, patterns, and weather (Edelson,
1995). Attentional problems also exist
since they have trouble dealing with two tasks at a time or switching
the two tasks (Henderson,
2001). Children with Asperger Syndrome
may also display lack of common sense and trouble with concrete
(Edelson, 1995). Dyslexia, writing and
math problems may also be concerns (Edelson, 1995). >
problems are also seen in
those children with Asperger Syndrome.
Somewhere between 50 and 90% of children with
experience problems with motor coordination (Barnhill, 2001). They seem to be socially aware but exhibit
improper reciprocal interactions (Edelson, 1995). Additionally,
children with Asperger Syndrome
have trouble coping with frustration, leading to emotional outbreaks
with Asperger Syndrome have difficulties adjusting to different
(Adreon & Stella, 2001). Many
problems that students with Asperger Syndrome have in the classroom are
outcome of unanticipated alterations.
Changes that affect schedule, seating, activities,
and teachers, may
result in distress for the child. Having
to travel to different classrooms throughout the day, a factor in
high school, may affect the child greatly, mostly causing anxiety
Stella, 2001). Children with Asperger
Syndrome are often teased, bullied, and excluded (Adreon & Stella,
2001). Classmates see a child with
as being different. Classmates of a
child with Asperger Syndrome often perceive the child as rude,
irritating (Safran, Safran & Ellis, 2003).
A child with Asperger Syndrome often feels left out,
misread (Adreon & Stella, 2001). As
an outcome of all of these problems, a child with Asperger Syndrome may
with verbal outbursts, self-inflicted physical injury, and tantrums
Treatment issues as
they relate to the classroom
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997 has many
which help children with Asperger Syndrome get the best education
(Fine, 2004). This act requires that
every child with a disability has a right to an Individualized
Program (IEP). This IEP is developed in
collaboration with faculty, the child’s parents, as well as the child
reach the age of fourteen. In order to
assure equal success, the plan consists of strategies and special
accommodations which may help the child (Fine, 2004).
Another law that has been implemented is the
No Child Left Behind Act. This law requires that every child, no matter
disability, must have equal rights of education and have the
opportunity to be
educated in the general education classroom.
By law, schools must provide training for teachers
and other faculty to
ensure that they are teaching in the interest of all students (Fine,
2004). Due to these laws, it is very
important for teachers to understand children with Asperger Syndrome in
to assure they receive equal educational opportunities in the least
<>There are many things that teachers
need to consider and understand before having a child with Asperger
their classroom. A teacher must
carefully construct a seating arrangement where the student will not be
potential “bullies” (Safran, 2002).
Seating a child with Asperger Syndrome near a
understanding, and kind classmate is a good idea (Safran, 2002). This student could also serve as the child’s
“peer buddy” who could be a communal translator for the child (Safran,
2002). Another strategy that could be
used to promote constructive social interactions between the child with
Asperger Syndrome and other classmates is “circle of friends” (Safran,
& Ellis, 2003). “Circle of friends”
entails a few peers assigned to interact with the child with Asperger
which would provide social support for the student, and a type of role
for other classmates to see (Safran, et al., 2003).
When group work is needed, the teacher should
not allow students to pick their groups; this causes anxiety for the
Asperger Syndrome (Fine, 2004). Instead,
the teacher should carefully select group members to be paired with the
and advocate specific tasks for each member in order to ensure that the
feels of equal importance (Safran, et al., 2003).
in schedule, assignments, and other
activities must be made well in advanced in order to give a child with
Syndrome advanced notice to help the child adjust ahead of time (Gagnon
Robbins, 2001). The teacher should try
to use as many visuals as possible. This
helps the student with Asperger Syndrome keep tract of the schedule and
organized. Providing the child with
pre-highlighted notes will help the student distinguish key information. The teacher should help the student be
organized and decrease the chances of anxiety by sustaining an
(Safran, et al., 2003). Priming is a
technique that can be used to help familiarize a student with Asperger
Syndrome, by means of future academic material (Fine, 2004). This technique when utilized can assist in
the reduction of pressure and apprehension for the child.
Academic modifications in assignments,
especially in reading and writing, are beneficial.
Due to the inability of a child with Asperger
Syndrome to read “in between the lines”, clear detailed rules and
should be presented visually (Safran, et al., 2003). >
students to ask questions. This is
especially so for a child with Asperger Syndrome. Specific
and concrete instructions provided
individually to the child with Asperger Syndrome are most helpful. After a question has been asked, allowing the
child to take some time to think about the question will provide a
chance of him or her to respond correctly (Safran, et al., 2003).
a child with Asperger Syndrome can help an educator recognize anxiety. Helping the child learn coping skills, such
as self-talk, is helpful in preventing occurrences of anxiety. Allowing a student with Asperger Syndrome to
have a place to go if he gets upset or frustrated will help him know
there is a
place to escape for alone time (Safran, et al., 2003; Gagnon &
Robbins, 2001). >
Due to the
fact that children with Asperger Syndrome are not successful with
interaction, may strategies can be used.
A “cartooning” approach is used to help a child plan
which they might encounter (Safran, et al., 2003).
The use of drawing simple comic strips helps
the child visualize a scenario and understand the social situation as
appropriate interactions for the circumstances (Fine, 2004). Another strategy that can be used is called
Situation, Options, Consequences, Choices, Strategies, Simulation
al., 2003). In this approach, the
teacher helps the child understand the situation, brainstorm options,
consequences for each option, choose the most desirable option, develop
of action, and practice the plan of action (Fine, 2004).
Children with Asperger Syndrome tend to
isolate themselves as much as possible (Fine, 2004).
In order to help prevent isolation, teachers
need to be aware of behavior intervention approaches to help a child
Asperger Syndrome. Motivational and
positive reinforcers should be implemented to reinforce positive
behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis
(A.B.A), is one
approach that can be used; however, it requires a lot of commitment
2002). This program is used to teach a
child with Asperger Syndrome cognitive tasks by utilizing a thorough
system (Ruberman, 2002). Another
strategy that is very popular is the ABC’s of behavior management. This strategy is used when a negative behavior
occurs. The “A” stands for antecedent,
meaning what transpired prior to the negative behavior, “B” represents
appropriate behavior expected, while “C” stands for the consequence
negative behavior (Fine, 2004). >
understanding of Asperger
Syndrome seems to be increasing. As new
research is conducted, there is greater understanding of the disorder. It is very important for professionals to
keep up with research to better understand the diagnosis and treatment. With the help of new research, professionals
can better diagnose disorders. It is
important for people to be diagnosed at the earliest age possible in
help treat them as soon as possible.
Educators need to be constantly trained about new
research and treatments
in order to help children with Asperger Syndrome be successful in
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Asperger’s Syndrome. Retrieved
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