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"... the most important considerations in devising educational programs for children with autistic spectrum disorders have to do with recognition of the autism spectrum as a whole, with the concomitant implications for social, communicative, and behavioral development and learning, and with the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child across areas of development."
—Educating Children with Autism2001



Strategies
Intervention Strategies by Susan Stokes

Language Comprehension/Auditory Processing Difficulties

Children with Asperger’s Syndrome generally interpret auditory information literally and concretely. They can have difficulty understanding figurative language, jokes/riddles, multiple meaning words, teasing and implied meanings.

Example 1: A child with Asperger’s Syndrome was participating in a local basketball clinic. He was playing very well, and the coach made the comment, “Wow! Your mom must have put gas in your shoes this morning”. The child quickly looked at his mother with a worried expression. His mother shook her head “No” and encouraged him to keep on playing. The child responded to the coach, “Not today.” 
Example 2: A mother said to her child, “Stop back-talking to me”. The child said, “I’m sorry Mom, I’ll talk to your front.”

It is also important to note that delays in processing information auditorilly may be present in children with Asperger’s Syndrome. Even though they may be able to comprehend the auditory information given, it may take them additional time to process this information prior to responding. They may also have difficulty following multi-step auditory directions (e.g., “Go back to your desk and take out your journals, and then write about your weekend.”).

Language Comprehension/Auditory Processing Intervention Strategies
Auditory information/prompting should be kept to a minimum, as it can be too overwhelming for some children. Visual cues should be used to assist the child to more readily comprehend directions, questions, rules, figurative language, etc.

Give the child with Asperger’s Syndrome enough time to respond, in order to allow for possible auditory processing difficulties, before repeating/rephrasing the question/directive. The child can be taught appropriate phrases to indicate he needs additional processing time, (e.g., “Give me a minute, I’m thinking”) (2).

Written rules can help the child understand what is expected of him at all times. Reference to the rules can be used rather than verbally telling him what to do, or what not to do.

Auditory directions can be written on a dry-erase board for the child with Asperger’s Syndrome, greatly increasing his ability to independently complete tasks/activities.

The adults in the child’s environment should be aware of the child’s concrete/literal interpretation of figurative language, and should provide concrete explanations if necessary. Focus should also be given to increasing the child’s comprehension of figurative language skills, such as idioms, multi-meaning words, jokes, teasing, etc., through the use of visual supports.


Reprinted from "Children with Asperger's Syndrome: Characteristics/Learning Styles and Intervention Strategies" by Susan Stokes, Autism Consultant for the Cooperative Educational Service Agency #7, Wisconsin State Department of Special Education.


    Improving the educational experiences and outcomes of students on the autism spectrum in grades K-12

     
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