Asperger?s Syndrome and Instructional Intervention Essay

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Asperger’s Syndrome and Instructional Intervention
     Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is a pervasive developmental disability first identified in 1944 by Dr. Hans Asperger, an Austrian pediatrician. However, since his paper was written in German and published during World War II, his findings were not well known in the United States and in other non-German speaking countries. In 1981, Dr. Lorna Wing, a British researcher, brought AS to the attention of the English-speaking world. In addition to summarizing Asperger’s findings, she also pointed out the similarities between AS and autism, raising the question: Are they the same disorder or two separate ones (Ozonoff, Dawson, & McPartland, 2002)? It was not until 1994
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Many children with Asperger’s are first diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They may have problems with social interactions, but their main difficulties are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It is not until the inappropriate social behavior becomes a greater concern that they are diagnosed with Asperger’s (Watkins, 2000).
Children with AS often have behavioral and emotional problems connected to their deficient social skills. These often involve feelings of stress or loss of control (Myles & Simpson, 2002) and these behaviors can range from simply annoying to highly disruptive behaviors (Safran et al., 2003). In order to help students with AS, interventions must be used that target improving social understanding rather than trying to change certain behaviors in certain situations. Improving the social understanding can be addressed by teaching appropriate social skills. These social skills may include problem solving, conversation skills, anger control, identifying and managing feelings, dealing with stress, and organizational skills. A school psychologist may assist by providing direct social skill instructions to the student and training parents and teachers in strategies to use. Some of these strategies include social stories, comic strip conversations, and social autopsies. In addition, teaching students the “hidden curriculum” or “unwritten rules of conduct” are important parts of social skills teaching
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