Sometimes situations that other students can handle easily become huge problems for students with Autism or Asperger’s. Here’s an example.
A student was highly verbal and able to tell her teachers if there was a problem bothering her by telling them, “I have a problem”, repeatedly until the problem was fixed.
Her classroom teacher reported, however, that the girl often came to school carrying with her the problems that had been frustrating her prior to her arrival at school. The school’s inability to deal with these problems in a manner satisfactory to the student meant that a lot of learning time was being lost.
There was really nothing anyone could do if the little girl had not been able to watch an entire show that morning at home or if her favorite shirt was in the laundry.
We suggested that the teacher’s assistant use some Post-it notes which she could keep in her pocket, and write (or assist this very bright little girl to write) the problem down.
We provided two colored boards labeled “School Problem”, and “Home Problem.” Our student put her “problem” in the correct category.
Only those problems associated with school would be addressed by the appropriate person during school. The remaining Post-It notes were sent home on her “Home Problem” board.
This allowed the student to remember problems. It was a reminder of a promise that the most appropriate person would help her with the problem as soon as they could.
Within two days of setting up this strategy, the little girl was able to leave home problems out of her learning time and concentrate on what was going on in class.
A funny aside however; this girl loved the strategy so much that sometimes she appeared to have related or invented a minor problem in order to go through the process of writing down the information.