From this research study, there is one particular student named Charles. The boy is fifteen years of age and expresses notable symptoms that relate to depression and anxiety. The boy makes verbal responses when greeted but does not maintain an eye contact. Charles is quite fascinating when it comes to maps and clings on to his atlas, clamming of particular countries, their codes, capital cities and economic activities.
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He dislikes written and group work and when he is irritated with its activities, he talks continuously without responding to others emotions or comments. He has an IQ of above average but experiences academic difficulties in class. He does well when it comes to geographic locations but does poorly in other topics of geography as well as other parts of class work.
Charles does poorly in class and his classmates describe him as a ‘geek’, ‘weird’, ‘nerd’, ‘intelligent but…. not flexible’, ‘strange’ and ‘unbearably intense’ due to his gives lengthy discussions relating to maps, which disinterests his fellow students. Besides, he can sometimes make sharp and unexpected noises, has abnormal gait and compulsive movement of arms.
When it comes to other topics, he does not contribute and often isolates himself. Charles does not like to relate socially with other students and has issues with social development. Other students often take him as a subject of bullying and make fun of. From the knowledge accessed from his family, there is a history of autism spectrum disorder as well as perinatal problems.
From several research studies, Asperger Syndrome (AS) has been implicated with neuropsychological profile, although others have ignored this stance.
From literature review, there lacked consistent findings on how AS is linked to High Functioning Autism (HFA),which has prompted some scholars to maintain that enhanced cognitive ability has been portrayed by AS individuals in contrast with HFA irrespective of varied verbal and nonverbal capability (Schopler et al., 1998).
AS is a controversial debate since it neglects the broader traits of people with the condition. Most importantly, none of the experts in AS has incorporated adaptive behavior deficits to diagnose it, irrespective of the various studies that have shown adaptive behaviors issues in individuals with AS. There is however, extensive literature that handles the treatment and management of social and communication deficits linked with AS.
Even though, there appears to be nothing to handle executive deficits that are seen in AS persons. The most important question is however, the relationship between autism HFA and AS or whether is a distinct condition. Autism and AS appear to overlap in symptoms but research on genetics as well as treatment response could be helpful to define their differences.
Many of the scholars related to this condition such as Shearer at al., have emphasized on symptoms and how to manage them. From the study materials used in this research that involves books, scholarly articles and peer reviewed journals, it can be deduced that information of AS is still limited and still remains a fresh area of research.
Eleven references have been cited in this research paper, which relates to management of social, communication and cognitive deficits in AS. The authors of these resource materials acknowledge their inadequate information regarding AS in the general population.
However, they maintain that their research portrays problems in adaptive behaviors in AS, which imply that they would be essential as diagnostic tools. Future studies could find out the variants of adaptive behavior and the differences amid cognitive ability and adaptive behavior to clarify the general characteristics of AS and interventions strategies that would specifically target AS students.
Attwood recognizes that AS is a form of ASD and etiology of autism could give details on causative factors of AS. Hence, future research could show whether AS could be as a result of pregnancy infections and early infancy of a child, inherent metabolic issue like digestion of certain toxic foods, which impair brain development or even other biological factors that could impair brain development (2008).
It is not easy to give an accurate estimate of AS individuals in the general population. This is because there are inconsistencies due to different sampling methods. From recent international research, Prevalence for ASD is 6/1000 and that of AS range from 3.5/1000-7/1000. However, Autism SA points out that the prevalence of AS is close to 1:125 individuals in a general population (Shearer et al., 2006).
According to APA, AS prevalence rate is close to 2.5 per 10,000 while that of entire autism spectrum disorders is 60 per 10000 and continue increasing with time as a result of enhanced public awareness and modifications in definition. AS has not yet been well rated. A particular study of hundred boys with AS regarding their prenatal and perinatal family details and follow-up studies in young adulthood was conducted.
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From the outcome, it depicted a paternal family history of ASD in close to fifty percent and pre & perinatal risk factors. Such prenatal factors include alcoholism, neonatal seizures, extreme postnatal asphyxia, and prematurity of close to twenty five percent (Toth & King, 2008).
Related studies conclude that the risk factors are linked to genetic and environmental aspects. In a separate study, 1 in 125 persons in a population have AS (Shearer et al., 2006).
Asperger syndrome was coined after Hans Asperger who engaged in a research study on children who had issues with nonverbal communication in 1944. However, the term Asperger Syndrome came into use in 1981 by Lorna Wing. Hans used the term to describe children who depicted classic autistic symptoms, but had developed language and a need to have social interaction.
Wing initiated her research on the condition and in 1994, AS was recognized as a variant of autism by American Psychological Association (APA). It has since then been regarded as being among the five constituents of ASD (Shearer et al, 2006). What causes Asperger syndrome is not well defined but it is supposedly genetic.
Treatment of the condition requires a multidisciplinary approach to enhance the function of students and manage the symptoms. One such program is behavioral therapy, which tackles the problem of communication, obsessive behaviors or idiosyncratic interest as well as physical inelegance.
The syndrome however, improves as children approaches adulthood although communication and social interaction issues could persevere (Toth & King, 2008).
AS is often regarded as high functioning autism since patients suffering from the problem exhibit repetitive behaviors, clumsiness and often experience trouble when it come to social relations (Schopler et al., 1998). Hans Asperger regarded these abnormalities as autistic psychopathy in 1944. It appears to run in the family and it is thought that there could be brain abnormality in individuals with AS.
AS is however, more prevalent in males than in female children. Notably, students with AS could have issues with communication as well as social interactions but their intelligence ranks as being more than average. These students could do well in computer science or programming.
AS has been generally regarded s high-functioning autism. According to a journal published by the American Psychiatric Association on AS “DSM-IV-TR provides criteria for a differential diagnosis of AS based on intact cognitive ability (absence of mental retardation or intellectual disability), no delays in early language milestones (i.e., use of single words by age 2 and phrases by age” (Toth & King, 2008 pr.4).
Comprehensive treatment interventions should emphasize on strengths of AS student and focus on particular part of impairment such as social or academic. AS comprise of behavioral traits that are similar to those of autism. Children with AS have great intellectual and language capacities as compared to the ones in autism although their social skills are damaged.
Students with AS are at a greater risk of acquiring psychiatric and medical conditions. These could include depression, seizures and anxiety. Diagnosis of AS is not a straightforward procedure since there is no standard diagnostic criteria and it’s often confused with autism. As regarded by many experts, AS is not a distinct condition, but a form of autism.
All the same, AS patients are diagnosed at a later stage as compared to ones with autism. Therefore, interventions are not initiated during early stages when their impact would prove vital.
All the same, several strategies such as those for enhancing social skills are generally applied in AS children and are regarded as having positive consequences on the result. Pharmacotherapy for conditions linked to AS have not been methodically researched on.
Currently, AS is diagnosable at the ages of seven to eight years and many students with AS starts schooling while lacking no formal diagnosis. It is the role of teachers and education specialist to examine a child’s development and coordinate with his or her parents for the child’s immediate assessment and therapy.
AS students are not only creative but also depict advanced levels of intelligence, when it comes to technology and science. They therefore can be of great help to the society yet, they are consumed by depression due to being isolated that affects their motor function and could even lead to suicide.
However, early intervention measures enhance flexibility for AS individuals and could minimize the risk while enhancing the protective factors to manage depression, enhance their standards of living and subsequently alleviate the weight of care (Shearer et al., 2006).
Specific strategies to enhance learning for AS students should be done with the help of staff, peers and the student through a coordinated system on implementing the school-based strategies.
Asperger syndrome (AS) is a developmental disability that lies within autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It is marked by notable complexity when interacting socially in addition to the recurring behavioral patterns due to impairment of cognitive function. This is referred to as Theory of mind and could be one of the causative factors of AS.
Theory of mind is a psychological incident, which impairs human social interaction and has also been referred to as mind blindness. An individual with this neglects basic intuitions to deduce to others’ comments or emotions of behavior.
Delay in theory of mind could be the reason why AS individuals have impaired social interactions. Asperger syndrome varies from autism with respect to cognitive as well as linguistic development (Schopler et al., 1998).
This paper shall investigate students with Asperger Syndrome in schools and discuss teaching practices to assist these students to improve their social, academic and communicating performance. The findings have taken a situation-specific approach to assess the needs of AS students. Previously, these students have depicted challenges in accessing support as seen from their discontinuity with schooling.
These students have also faced mental health challenges and therefore call for such considerations. Nevertheless, these students have also portrayed a positive adjustment to school life with implementation of various intervention strategies targeted at individual’s needs.
In this particular research, I have assessed the needs of a particular AS student named Charles and identified the necessary intervention measures that would help him to improve his social skills and enhance his academic performance.
This was achieved with the help of AS psychologist, parents and teaching staff. There were school-based consultations where Charles, along with his peers and family were interviewed about the condition.
Key aspects to be prioritized in Teaching Practices for AS students
Cognitive functioning encompasses brain processes linked to thinking, language, memory and learning. Executive functioning on the other had links to other cognitive functions to plan, organize, manage time, possess cognitive elasticity, abstract thoughts, concentration, rule attainment and potential to curb inappropriate activities and inappropriate sensory information (Shearer et al., 2006).
Cognitive functioning is well developed in AS but executive functioning is impaired. Students having a have problems in organizing their learning tasks could interfere with learning since they have concrete thoughts, which are not flexible. These aspects impact their work output, social interactions, problem solving ability and abstract thoughts that are very useful in class work.
Students with AS have problems with pragmatic language and do not use conversations in relation to the context. As such, they interrupt it, give comments that are completely irrelevant or unrelated and keep on discussing their preferred topics even when others show no interest. AS students ignore word intonations in relation to meaning of a sentence while others talk with high tones.
Literal interpretation is remarkably one of the traits of AS. For instance by observing Charles in the class, it was notable that he often takes phrases literary. On this note, he did not respond too well when he heard the teacher mention the phrase “let the sleeping dogs lie”. He took the phrase literally and said to the teacher that there were no sleeping dogs in the class.
This shows impairment in logical as well as concrete thinking in AS. In social setups like classroom, there is tension when such as student makes literal comments out of a figurative phrase like the one Charles responded to. Some might take it as rudeness, sarcasm and just fid it humorous.
Of importance, AS students do not recognize facial expressions or tone variations in a conversation, which enable one to think beyond literal understanding. All the same, explicit teaching in AS could be helpful but a challenge remains when there is a need to convey the skills in a different context.
For instance, Charles learnt to conclude conversation by saying “It was a delightful day. See you tomorrow” after a day in school while at the bag-rack. However, he began to say this to students at the bag-rack irrespective of the time of day.
As a result, this depicted out of context aspect that amused other students, who continued to tease him. Students like Charles are often bullied and teased by others and in response they become isolated since they are unable to ignore it (Pratt & Buckman, 2011).
Students with AS show a critical sense of justice and some become argumentative while others adopt aggressive behavior. They become perfect targets to be bullied or bully others, which continue to impair their social relations (Shearer et al., 2006).
Significantly, AS students have sensory needs that would be essential for body awareness and balance such that a healthy individual can infer, comprehend and participate socially. Students with AS are unable to do this and sensory deficits should be prioritized when managing their conditions.
A student anxiety could cause sensory overwork such that they become hypersensitive to taste, touch, noisy sounds and bright lights. As a result, they could exhibit abnormal behavior to reduce the effect of sensory overload. For instance, they could mask their faces using their clothes. They could cover their ears or hide in dark corners when an unpleasant stimulus comes along. Some of these are taken as overreactions.
If a student does this to visual stimuli, then they should be taken to environments with fewer displays for them to concentrate on an activity. For others with tactile sensitivity, one should lessen group work. Students with AS could be released ahead of others, to minimize commotions along the corridor, in order to avoid being overwhelmed by noise, touch and even smell.
Conversely, others are under-sensitive to these senses and don’t respond to sensory stimuli and can withstand extreme sensory stimuli. As a result, such students have broken limbs and cannot complain or report since they withstand such great pain.
Motor clumsiness could reflect AS individual’s sensory deficits ad could have poor posture or writing and may evade physical education lessons, for them to be incorporated in learning, this should be bound to health and fitness lesson and not the sports class for the AS students to have minimal anxiety (Shearer et al., 2006).
AS can be diagnosed at eleven years of age and its prognosis links to cognitive and language skills when there are early interventions on education as well as those meant to enhance social competence. There is however not a particular intervention that is agreed upon as being applicable and efficient for all AS individuals. There lacks one comprehensive treatment strategy for AS persons (Toth & King, 2008).
AS students exhibit predictability while impulsive adjustments distresses them. Therefore, having a structured routine in class awards them with this predictability to organize their work and have the steadiness they require. This schedule should be displayed visibly for the student probably on the student’s desk.
Class requirements should also be clearly displayed for AS students to refer. For rewards they should be predictable as well. These students have to be programmed on time to eliminate any controversy.
Schedules assist them to become organized and be in line with class work. This could take the form of color coded cards for various activities to be undertaken probably supplemented with depictions. This is a visual aid that would be helpful for AS students to become organized with regard to individual needs.
These should be changeable incase they are destroyed or misplaced and AS students should have spare cards in schools or at home. AS students takes consistency and predictability as a secure way to undertake their tasks. As a result, making modifications could have a negative impact on the student, particularly when they are not given prior notice. This could lead them to become agitated or even aggressive.
Besides, they are even affected when others adjust their behaviors. For instance, Charles would become agitated when his mother would approach to pick him up from school from a different route. Thus, inevitable changes have to be prearranged with the student for preparation. This should also be gradual or different arrangements could be adopted. In summary, teaching strategies could incorporate the following points;
- For students with AS to have effective learning, the following strategies could be put in place.
- Be aware of student’s specific needs and address them prior to their discussion.
- Have a clear particulars regarding the course i.e. in practical, exams as well as meeting deadlines
- Have consistency in approach with o or little changes and give prior notices
- Apply clear and straight language but in written and spoken form and avoid figures of speech. There should also be explicit guidelines regarding the student’s tasks.
- Patience should also be invested while encouraging and supporting a student in relation to a particular activity. Literal language should be used when presenting guidelines.
- Tangible and realistic goals should be set to motivate the students
- Pastoral support should be made available or from a particular staff incase the AS student is depressed or has anxiety.
- Expert tuition support such as communication skills should be accessed.
- During assessments, AS students could be awarded with the opportunity of accessing the exam details for them to have minimal anxiety and confusion.
- The exam papers and grading should be explicit as well as literal. For instance, some AS students are often confused by multiple choice questions and therefore, other exam settings should be considered.
Functional Analytic Approach
Functional behavioral assessment would aid to develop a positive behavioral practice. This entails application of extensive strategies such as person-centered practices, group assemblies, methodical interviews as well as undeviating observations.
These would help in hypothesis formulations regarding the reasons that make an individual to exhibit a particular behavior. For this approach to be effectively applied there has to be various assumptions relating to behavior that should be employed. These include;
- Behavior is functional i.e. serves a particular intention (s). AS students may exhibit this in very idiosyncratic and intricate communication.
- Behavior possesses communicative significance if not a particular intention. However, for this to be valid, it should be noted that AS students do not necessarily posses behavioral objective to interrupt education setups. Conversely, difficult behavior could come up due to other needs such as self protection as a result of distress. Students with AS have great language skills but they are unable to speak clearly in a social setup and inappropriate behavior could be a communicative response in such scenarios until other alternative responses are reinforced systematically (Pratt & Buckman, 2011).
- Behavior is context linked i.e. every person exhibit variable behavior with regard to the environment. This also applies to AS students and understanding such aspect is a.milestone in functional behavior assessment to formulate preventive strategies in enabling alternative skills reinforcement.
- Efficient behavioral aid is dependent on being appreciative of the student, his operating environment and the cause of certain behavior.
Following the comprehensive functional behavioral assessment, it is agreed that the approach offers a clear and straightforward explanation of the difficult behaviors. Besides, it also explains scenarios that generally connect to resultant of challenging behavior. It also identifies the impacts that sustain behavior i.e. when a behavior begins the aspects that sustain it as time goes by and those that reinforce it (Pratt & Buckman, 2011).
Implementing a functional behavioral assessment should be aimed at enhancing understanding of the person with AS, the difficult behavior as well as the physical and social environments that this happens. This approach is important in guiding support strategies, which have a logic link to the aspects stated.
This overview of the difficult behavior would go a long way in drafting and adoption of positive behavioral strategies to methodically define interventions. This is however, not an easy task since the strategies are diverse.
All the same, it is essential to note that limited hallmarks of positive behavioral aids that encompass preventive measures of the difficult behavior and reinforcing socially suitable alternatives to the issue is important (Shearer et al., 2006).
These should be in line with the difficult behavior and have thus a higher likelihood of being embraced by the AS individual with the aim of exceeding the effect strategies particularly the ones applied as programs (Pratt & Buckman, 2011).
The above strategies are meant to ease student’s anxiety for the future and challenging tasks that could come up. Students with AS should not be given lump-sum tasks due to difficulties in organizing their work at ago.
Learning traits of students helps to acknowledge the acquisition of information for the rationale of assessments and therefore, these traits can be classified into five parts which include; “learning style, behavioral patterns, strategies, environmental predictability and behavior/emotional regulation” (Myles & Adreon, 2001 p.36).
Being aware of the student’s learning traits helps in assessing the form of accommodations and special needs to enhance academic performance. Learning styles implies personal approaches towards an activity to become aware of the environment.
It encompasses “long-term and short-term memories, part-to-whole versus whole-to-part learning, incidental learning, work habits and generalization” (Myles & Adreon, 2001 p.6). Information accessed would help to assess learning styles to evaluate approach to instructions for AS students.
Using visual cues to supplement oral instructions is essential. Teachers should call the students by their names when they need them to undertake a certain activity. Since they cannot take jokes or sarcasm, teachers should avoid the figures of speech and incase he or she has to use them, explanations has to be given since AS students understand them through logical rationale.
AS students prefers visual and not aural stimuli and are essentials when used along with verbal instructions. The students could be photographed when undertaking various tasks and these could be used as visual cues other than generic photos since they have tendency of taking things literally.
Besides, these students could be advised to have a list of figures of speech and their meaning for reference, incase they come across any. Since these students at times require communicate nonverbally, they could be given pass cards for them to have such special privileges as entering the library. They could also have access card that explains their special needs that should be given to staff for support especially during new activities.
Teachers have therefore to offer their support to the student while trying as much as possible to minimize anxiety. The curriculum could be negotiated such that AS students would be exempted from certain topics that are problematic. AS students achieves a higher academic performance when minimal support is granted to them.
By this, it is meant that teachers could write their requirements for instance, for students with oral difficulties. They could also have yellow paper presentations to minimize glare and color coding of books in agreement to their subjects. Helping AS students when faced with issues and incorporating parents, families as well as experts to manage their needs would minimize challenging behavior in social environments (Prior, 2003).
Those students that are sensitive to noise could be given ear plugs while working, use yellow light instead of white one in class to minimize glare and have elastics for them to stretch or electronic games in order to minimize self stimulation common in AS (Shearer et al., 2006).
‘Personal Rule’ cards could be taped to the AS student’s desk as a visual stimuli to remind him or her of the rightful social behavior to portray. These should be portable and can be applied in other setups other than the class environment.
The guidelines could be scribbled on index cards that could be laminated. These are used as visual aids in any context for them to apply the social guidelines that are appropriate. Below is an example of Personal Rule card.
Interventions to enhance social ability
The primary focus for AS individuals must include improvement of social relations through varied approaches. Social skills are implemented under varied situations, which include friendship school groups, class work, private/group teaching of social skills and individual therapy.
Teaching these interventions to enhance social skills could involve straight directions, modeling, role playing, social stories, peer performances and positive feedback.
Social stories/ comic strips
Social stories/comic strips involves those that could be written and demonstrated to fit different situations in order to award information on how such persons have done, thought and felt. The stories demonstrate a succession of activities, recognize crucial social cues as well as what they mean and the script instructing the student on what to undertake through describing an aspect.
They are very essential in new scenarios that trigger anxiety since they are unidentified or unpredictable. Moreover, they are timely in assisting a student to understand the likely occurrence and expectations they should have in giving social information. Every goal of individuals in the story has to be critically evaluated since AS students have impaired motor skills and must be directly taught (Toth & King, 2008).
These social stores could involve conversation starters, time necessary to comment or speak, and reading other’s emotional reactions. They could demonstrate when a student depicted the right behavior in a given scenario or during planned events such as sports.
Social stories should flow at ease and not forced on the student. Pragmatic group sessions on the other hand enhance social communication in a small group of around four, to aid AS students to apply the theory. Every session relies on the previous one and drafted according to common group needs e.g. how to keep eye contact to enhance peer relations.
Social stories help AS students to visualize information to come to terms with their condition. They also teach them the right behavior to portray when in certain situations.
Repetitive readings of the script enhance the effectiveness of the strategy for AS students. A three-ring binder of the script at home and school for AS student to read at his or her free time has been of great help for them. Below is one of the examples of social stories.
Peer support & mentoring, aids AS students in the school environments. It comprises of conveying a peer and staff to assist the AS students to cope effectively. Particular peers or buddies are appointed to accompany and aid AS student in times of minimally structured social setups and in times of social hardships such as during recess or lunchtime.
It’s effective when a small group is involved.AS students are regarded as those with disability since they exhibit different needs when with other children. They therefore, have to be handled differently as when they are directly taught social and communication skills.
Socials skills teaching procedures could involve disintegrating it into parts, which are taught using modeling as well as role playing. For instance, speech conversation abilities can be partitioned into sub-skills that include conversation starter, greetings, topic focus, reciprocity sustenance, nonverbal communications to determine the listener’s interest and finally, the proper conclusion of conversations.
Additionally, higher-level skills could involve embracing suggestions, criticism, disagreement resolving and portraying understanding. Being aware of the AS student’s cognitive profile could be helpful in drafting social skills program to particular student’s wants and potency.
For instance, verbal interventions can be applied in students with more developed verbal skills. On the other hand, visual interventions such as social stories could be applied in those having better visualization skills (Toth & King, 2008).
To treat the condition, there lies no peculiar treatment for every individual. However experts agree that it is better to initiate the treatment early enough. Simple steps are involved in treating AS, which are done repeatedly for reinforcement. Programs utilized in managing AS are Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) that is essential in management of emotions, obsessive and repetitive aspects.
Significantly, parent training is crucial to teach procedures, which can be applied at home. Additionally, social skills training in a team is also effective. Students with AS can be put on speech and language therapy to enhance their daily communication.
When there is depression or even aggression, individuals could be put under medications, which include stimulants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as well as antipsychotics (PubMed 2010). AS students often have learning disabilities, which decline their academic performance. AS is a common developmental disability whose information is still limited.
From reviewing developmental history, academic as well as previous medical records, and time used having a direct observation on Charles, he was diagnosed with AS. Besides, this was linked to having anxiety that emanated from academics and social interactions. Charles also had depression that was linked to his constant social malfunction as well as rejection.
Additionally, he had no interest in other topics and this was traced to his extreme focus on maps. The recommended interventions for Charles’ condition involved being assigned to an autism specialist in private or at school who could assist him. His teachers and parents had to ensure that he achieved extra specialized education to manage his school performance.
His anxiety and depression could be treated with SSRIs and personal psychotherapy. Given that AS individuals including those with better verbal skills appears to exhibit a positive response towards behavioral interventions, a tangible approach based on skills of psychotherapy is recommendable as compared to the primary cognitive approach.
This should be aimed at enhancing pro-social skills and extend Charles’ interaction with others. His peers could only be involved when his anxiety and depression was managed positively. Most importantly, Charles was recommended to a personal speech and linguistic therapy to manage practical discrepancies and social skills.
His parents were advised to state as well as local programs to help deal and improve Charles’ condition. There was a direct dialogue of the diagnosis with Charles and he was provided with resource materials that were crucial to inform him, the peers, staff, parents and the community at large about AS and how to effectively manage it.
From twin and family studies, it can be inferred that AS depicts a genetic risk factor and the particular gene is yet to be defined. All the same it can be deduced that multiple genes are linked with AS because symptoms and their severity differ extensively in general population.
From recent studies, particular behavioral characteristics i.e. obsession with routines and recurrent behavior in young children with AS is linked to a particular gene-GABRB3. Besides, genetic mutations are linked to AS and run down the family that has a history of ASD and portrays close symptoms. Brain abnormalities have been linked to AS, which affects the neural circuits that regulate thinking as well as behavior.
It is thought that genetic and environments interact to prompt the genes to become abnormal and this impairs the usual transfer and wiring of embryonic brain cells in early stages of development and probably during fetal development. This leads to abnormality in growth patterns and may cause excess, Less or death of brain cells (Attwood, 2008).
Brain imaging procedures have shown varied structural and functional development in certain parts of the brain in normal and AS children. These have been located in frontal lobe and abnormal quantities of certain proteins in adults’ brains of individual with AS that is linked to judgment and obsessive repetitive routines respectively.
Though there is impairment of social communication and cognitive functioning, there is no delayed cognitive development and their IQ is above 70 (Attwood, 2008). Besides, AS does not link to the profile of PDD, attachment disorder and schizophrenia. Their cognitive development allows for symbolic play though they have issues with the theory of mind (Hénault & Attwood, 2006).
From recent studies, 1 in 4 children with AS have their brain & circumference of the head having experienced rapid growth rate, which was unexpected, in the initial few months of birth (Attwood, 2008). Hence, AS children acquire macrocephalus/abnormally larger brains. These could be those who have the larger heads at birth and others who have enlarged the brain at early stages of infancy.
The first acceleration ultimately slows down such that in later childhood, atypical individuals have their head circumference that seems normal. According to this study, frontal, temporal and parietal lobes with the exception of occipital region of the brain are enlarged and a rise in grey and not white matter is depicted (Attwood, 2008).
Symptoms of AS
Students with AS exhibit excess focus or obsession with a certain thing while paying no attention to others. In such occasions they desire to learn everything regarding the thing that they are obsessed with while neglecting everything else. They could explain their facts regarding the issues of interest although the conclusion lacks. Besides, they never realize when the parties they are addressing have lost interest.
Their interest could include shallow subjects. Unlike autistic students, students with AS do not detach from the world but they even approach others. Nevertheless their problem with communication and social interaction mostly drive them to become isolated. The students could exhibit no body language and often communicate in monotone while disregarding other’s take on the same.
Additionally, they do not recognize jokes or sarcasm and take things literally while being unable to adjust their voice with regard to the environment they are in. AS students have difficulties to maintain an eye contact and other non-verbal communications such as facial expressions and often are regarded by others as being ‘weird’ (PubMed, 2010).
Most significantly, AS students exhibit difficulty in interacting with children their own age since they have problems to respond to their emotions and comments. Moreover, they are inflexible on their repetitive behaviors, have problems to portray their aspect of interest to others and are unable to show pleasure to other’s humor. AS students depict delayed motor development.
Besides, they have abnormal physical behaviors like body movements and clumsiness. These children are however, active but they are prone to suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
They develop depression as well as anxiety in the course of their developing to maturity. Additionally, there are symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These symptoms are notable but there lacks a standardized way to diagnose AS. At the age of three, the symptoms should be obvious and experts can accurately implicate them to AS (PubMed, 2010).
From this particular research study, it is clear that AS students have to be dealt with individually, being aware that their needs are unique. It is not good for the teachers to be overly demanding of them for instance, forcing them to maintain an eye contact. However, these students are visual learners and have a difficulty with oral speech hence it might be helpful to use visual aids for them to grasp a particular concept.
They figure out on how to handle a problem by visualizing it. These are some of the challenging behaviors exhibited by these students and the right behavioral approach would go a long way in aiding these students (Prior, 2003). It is however, important to note that AS students are heterogeneous and should be handled individually.
A categorical approach would not be viable while more individualized approaches that are directed towards the difficulty in social relations, practical communication, and management of anxiety and obsessive behaviors would prove essential.
List of References
Attwood, T. (2008) The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Hénault, I. and Attwood, T. (2006) Asperger’s syndrome and sexuality: from adolescence through adulthood. London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Myles, B. S. and Adreon, D. (2001) Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Practical Solutions for School Success. Shawnee Mission, Kansas, Autism Asperger Publishing Co.
Pratt, C. and Buckman, S. (2011) Supporting Students with Asperger’s Syndrome. Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. Web.
Prior, M. R. (2003) Learning and behavior problems in Asperger syndrome. New York, The Guilford Press.
PubMed (2010) Sperger Syndrome Pervasive developmental disorder – Asperger syndrome; Autistic spectrum disorder – Asperger. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web.
Schopler, E., Mesibov, G. B. and Kunce , L. J. (1998) Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism? New York, Plenum Press.
Shearer, J., Butcher, C. and Pearce, A. (2006) Quality Educational Practices for Students With Asperger Syndrome. Web. Government of South Australia.
Stokes, S. (2010) Children with Asperger’s Syndrome: Characteristics/Learning Styles and Intervention Strategies. Web. Autism Consultant.
Toth, K. and King, B.H. (2008) Treatment in Psychiatry: Asperger’s Syndrome: Diagnosis and Treatment. American Journal of Psychiatry Web.