I was interviewed by an expert on Asperger’s Syndrome from the UK. He asked me if I had a piece of advice for parents of students with Asperger’s.
Here’s a part of my answer.
Don’t just assume these students with Asperger’s understand everything.
Because they tend to have good verbal language skills (and many of them really talk a lot!) we can be fooled about some of the communication challenges they may have.
For example, they may misunderstand conversation. The social actions of others might cause confusion. Or, trying to participate in unfamiliar activities can create anxiety and inappropriate behavior.
One of the best thing parents can do is establish a habit of giving information to their children on the Autism Spectrum. Be sure to clarify communication. Be pro-active about preparing them for social situations. Plan with them for activities that are new.
Don’t forget to give information in a visual way . Write it down. These students tend to understand what they SEE better than what they HEAR. Use their strength to help them learn.
UPDATE: This is a note I received from Monica, Mom of Michael. It supports the above information beautifully.
Dear Linda . . .
. . . I feel so alone sometimes when I try to get people to understand that visuals are not a luxury but a vital need for my son on the Autism Spectrum to understand the chaotic environment of a classroom. . . .
I just received your book, Solving Behavior Problems in Autism, and can’t wait to dive in. I never thought Michael had behavior issues.
The issues he has, I believe, are really caused because he doesn’t understand what he needs to do. No one understands that he needs to SEE it!
When communication breaks down for Michael he needs to work things out with visual choices so he can do something other than cry or scream and say no.
Thanks for listening. . . .I think you do understand. . . .because when I read your words from your books I feel them so powerfully because I have seen your methods work like a miracle with my son. . . .
Simple concept but very important. Please share.