Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) got its name in 1944 by Austrian doctor Hans Asperger; however it wasn’t recognized as a unique disorder right away. In fact, it is just now becoming better known as a milder form of Autism. The child who is diagnosed with it may be obsessive over certain things and detached about others. They may have a difficult time sensing other people’s emotions and may speak in a monotone voice. Doctors agree though that a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome doesn’t mean the child has Autism and most of the time will have the same learning ability as a child without mental illnesses.
Now that it has been designated as a separate disability, it will change the special education that the child may be in. These children do not have learning disabilities. They are simply more unable to interact socially with those around them. They may have difficulty looking into the eyes of another person and before it was considered a medical condition these children were often accused of being rude because of it. They aren’t being rude; they just have an inability to socialize with other adults and children.
They need a consistent routine to follow. The child who has AS will need things to stay consistent and if there is a change coming, the child needs to be made aware of it well before it happens. To do this, teachers now understand the need for the parent to be made aware of all things going on inside that child’s classroom. The child, even with social issues, needs the adults in his life to be okay with the changes in order to help him adjust easier.
They may have difficulty running and playing with the other children because they lack coordination. It can be difficult to fit in with their classmates who are able to play normal games. A teacher, who is trained to handle it, can take certain steps to make the child fit in more naturally.
AS children may feel the need to talk about a particular subject non-stop and regardless of whether the other person is interested in that topic. It may be anything that the child is obsessive over such as trains, their mom or dinosaurs. This may get frustrating for other children who don’t share their interest. It is up to the teacher to attempt to change the topic and help the child with AS to explore other things.
There is no cure for Asperger’s Syndrome but now that schools are more aware of the specific needs of the children who suffer from it, certain accommodations can be made to make that child feel less out of place and awkward. AS doesn’t have to hinder the child’s learning ability or her ability to function in a social setting as she grows up. The AS child will often grow up to have a somewhat normal life in adulthood complete with a job and possibly a family because now that it is being recognized as a specific illness there are things that schools can do to help that child’s confidence grow as they do.