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Learning Center Experience
By Judith Carroll, EdD, Adjunct Faculty for Kaplan University's Public Safety Program
Asperger syndrome is part
of the autism spectrum of disorders. While people with Asperger syndrome have
many of the same characteristics of autism, they are different in that most
often they have average to above average intelligence. It is said that “one percent of the population of children
in the U.S. ages 3–17 have an autism spectrum disorder” (www.autism-society.org,
n.d.). This probably means you have or will have such a student in one of your
is a recently named disability. It is named after Hans Asperger, who in 1944
noticed many similar characteristics of children. In 1981, Lorna Wing studied
groups of children who seemed to be “different” and named the syndrome after
Mr. Asperger. It was not until 1992 that the medical community considered
Asperger syndrome as a distinct condition and included it as part of the DSM-IV
(Autism Speaks; Family Services, n.d.).
Online education may almost be the perfect setting for students with
Asperger. There are no face-to-face meetings so eye contact is not an issue. People
with Asperger are quick to use many references if they find a topic dear to
them as deep research of facts is common. The routine of an online class and
lack of many changes helps students with Asperger syndrome maintain control
over their emotions and disability. If the directions state you must do a
specific thing, then as a teacher, you can be sure these instructions will be
followed to a T.
teachers we can never be sure if we have a student with Asperger syndrome in
class, it is important to make sure we do the following:
Students with Asperger often have superior academic skills,
attention to detail, and great rote memory. But they often fail to grasp the
“big” picture and lack being able to generalize skills and concepts (Autism
Speaks; Family Services, n.d.).
Some universities are now designing
programs specifically for students with Asperger syndrome. These institutions are
addressing social needs, class scheduling, and organizational skills that are
often lacking. Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia; Arizona State
University in Tempe, Arizona; and Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan are
three that have specialized programs dealing with Asperger syndrome (Online
Education for Autistic Students Grows, 2011).
So the next time you find yourself
wondering if a student has Asperger syndrome, take time to analyze their
writings and interactions on the Discussion Board, and be prepared to give that
extra touch of support.
Speaks: Family Services, n.d.. www.autismspeaks.org
Online Education for Autistic Students Grows, August 31, 2011. http://www.educationnews.org/ednews_today/160274.html
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