Denise Drum

Classrooms are designed to inspire students to reach their greatest potential. When students are diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), it is harder for them to completely understand the information that teachers are trying to convey. Colleges educate future teachers how to use strategies and theories to convey information to their students but sometimes this is not enough.

More people are being diagnosed with AS each day. There is a growing trend of inclusion classes, and consequently, teachers will have to teach these children. These children have a hard time understand the rules and regulations of everyday life. They also have difficulty with social interactions. By educating ourselves about AS, as well as other exceptionalities, we can better teach the future.

Through my research I have learned many different characteristics of those with AS. I have learned that to become a great teacher I will be working with all types children from different backgrounds. I have learned that there is no cure for people that have been diagnosed with AS. They cannot be treated for their condition but as a teacher I can help them to learn by understanding the ways in which their minds work. When I understand the problem I can use theories of motivation, behavior and intelligences to enhance their learning. I can tailor my lessons to suit their needs. Like any teacher, teaching through adversity is important, but understanding such theories can greatly improve my chances of helping all children to succeed in their lives.

Sarah Shive

Having worked with students who have Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and characteristics of Asperger Syndrome, I have become familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of this population. With that said, there is always new research coming to light about the causes and treatment for these students. Luckily, there are many programs and supports in the school system to help these students succeed in the classroom. The school counselor who is employed in the building where I teach has begun a “Lunch Bunch” group to help students improve their social skills. Programs like this help these students learn social cues and how to interact with their peers.

Doing research on Asperger Syndrome has helped me to discover additional strategies to help my students perform better academically and socially. I have also learned how to showcase their strengths, while at the same time showing them strategies to try to improve their weaknesses.

Early detection of autism seems to be the key to help students by putting resources in place as early as possible. Luckily there are now early detector checklists that can show possible concerns in children as young as 6 months. Also, funding for research has also increased in the past years with programs such as Autism Speaks. All of these resources have helped spread the word about Autism and Asperger Syndrome and the importance of continued research.

Ashlee Terwilliger

When beginning our diversity project, I was looking forward to gaining some new knowledge about Asperger’s Syndrome. In my teaching experience I have taught two students with AS and I had some background knowledge on the topic. Through our research and creating our wiki, I gained new knowledge that I will take with me throughout my teaching career. When teaching my students with AS, I noticed a lot of the behaviors that were mentioned in the research in both of them. They had trouble socializing with others, avoided eye contact, made clumsy movements, and were both very interested in a select few topics. On the contrary, they had many characteristics that were so different. One was an amazing reader, but struggled with comprehension, whereas the other student excelled in mathematics. During the research for this project, I learned just how different all children with Asperger’s can be.

I’ve also gained a lot of new strategies that I can implement in my classroom for any future students with Asperger’s as well as other exceptionalities. There are so many strategies that can be used to help a student with Asperger’s feel more comfortable and included in the classroom community. One of the most important parts for a student with AS is to feel safe and included within the classroom. As a teacher, I feel it's my responsibility to provide the best environment for all of my students, and I feel like I am now able to do that more effectively if I have a student with Asperger's in the future.

With so many interventions and accommodations available for students with Asperger’s they are able to be more and more successful in the classroom. Early detection of Autism and Asperger’s can help children get the services they need at an earlier age. There are also a variety of support groups and information databases for parents to get the help they need for raising a child with Asperger’s Syndrome. In the past 30 years, the awareness has increased about Asperger’s and as a result, children are able to live normal lives.