For the parent with a child diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), you know well about the power struggle between your child and his teachers. School teachers are bound by their curriculum and don’t have the time to tailor each lesson around your child. Your child may not have an interest in the subject that the teacher must present and therefore refuses to do it. This situation may result in a meltdown because the child cannot deal with the pressures of the classroom or the teacher may make disciplinary actions against the child for not abiding by classroom rules.
A lot of children with Asperger’s who are not getting the help they need in school may have very poor grades. The sad part of this is, the child is usually years ahead in certain subjects and may not be able to grasp others because of the standard way of teaching. This is not the teachers’ fault – they may have never come across a child with Asperger’s and don’t know tips to help out the situation. As a parent, you are able to go to the teacher and together you can make a plan of action that will help.
Point out the good in children with Asperger’s
The child with Asperger’s is a very sensitive child. A lot of people don’t realize this because most children with AS speak in monotone voices and appear very withdrawn. This is only because they do not know how to interact with the world around them like most of the other children. They are very sensitive to criticism and are prone to worry about everything.
When the student with AS completes his work, make sure to point out that that was good. Take time to compliment him with subjects he may not be interested in. A reward system is always useful when dealing with homework other assignments in the classroom. AS children are very much into rules and routines, incorporating a rewards system helps the AS child understand the classroom dynamic.
Keep the Asperger’s child informed
Any disruption of your child’s routine can mean tantrums, yelling or physical outbursts. If there is going to be a change in the normal lesson plan or special event that day, take the child aside and inform him of these changes. This doesn’t have to take long; just letting him know ahead of time may let him feel more in control. AS children cannot deal with change easily, it makes them worry and feel out of control.
Have the school call ahead, if possible, if there is to be a substitute teacher that day. Before heading to school, you and your child can talk about the change happening today and some good ideas to deal with that. Keeping your child in the loop is key to a smooth day.
Your child distracts easily
There are noises even in a quiet classroom that can distract a child with Asperger’s. Tapping, humming from the lights, shuffling feet or even faint noises from the hall can aggravate and frustrate your child. As frustration mounts, so do the chances of outbursts.
Note taking can be very difficult for your child. Looking at the board or overhead, listening to the teacher and trying to write words can be way to much for your child. Sometimes it is easier to just have the child listen and answer questions to keep them involved. When the lesson is over have the child copy someone else’s notes in their study time. This keeps the child involved in the lesson and keeps frustration and the chance for outbursts to a minimum.
These are just a few ideas that you the parent and your child’s teacher may talk about. The main points are to keep the child in the loop as to what’s going on, keep the child involved in the lesson, minimize distractions and chances for frustration. If these are followed, there is less of a chance that the whole class will be disrupted and your child will enjoy school more.