Ashlee Terwilliger

Many students with Asperger's may have a lack of self-motivation. It is the role of the classroom teacher to find a method of motivation that works for the individual student. A child with Asperger’s will many times have a distinct interest in one topic or activity. This can be helpful when motivating that child. A child’s personality comes into play when in the classroom. The teacher can create a group that is the best suited for open interaction and socializing with the Asperger student. At times it can be hard for an Asperger’s student to interact with others, and many times prefers to work alone. It may be helpful to group the AS student with just one student that he or she feels comfortable with and will be able to communicate effectively during group work (Safran, 2002).

According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and thoery of motivation, a person has basic needs to fulfill. The lower levels of needs include survival, safety, belonging and self-esteem. The higher levels of needs include self-actualiztion, aesthetic appreciation, and intellectual achievement. (Eggen & Kauchak, 2007) When considering Maslow's theory, a student with Aspergers may never reach the higher needs because the lower level needs have not been met. They often feel like they don't belong, they feel unsafe and they can also stuggle with self-esteem. These factors can have a great effect on a student's motivation in the classrom.

A student with Asperger Syndrome may also have needs in the classroom that the teacher will need to accommodate for. It may be physical needs, such as softened lights or loud noise reduction or environmental needs, such as workspace that is comfortable and not overwhelming for the student. (Safran, 2002) The AS student may also have academic needs in the classroom as well, such as wait time, physical information rather than verbal or hands on manipulatives.

Some classroom teachers may need to have interventions set in place in the case that a student with Asperger’s has behavior modifications in place. There needs to be a set discipline plan for all students as well as the AS student in the classroom. They might also have an individualized behavior plan designed to meet their specific needs and goals. These are set in place to help the AS student succeed in the regular education classroom.

The key to keeping the Asperger’s student motivated in the classroom is to find what works for that child. It will not be the same for everyone and it is up to the school, teachers, counselors and parents to find a way to help that individual child be successful in their education (Safran, 2002). Just like any other student, the AS student wants to succeed and be part of the school and classroom community. With the proper motivational techniques, this is possible for every single student with Asperger Syndrome.