Teaching students with Asperger’s Syndrome

have-fun-teachingBy Paul Silli

According to OAR (Organization for Autism Research), there are many strategies a teacher can use to be successful when working with students who have asperger’s.

First, allow “extra-time” for your kids to complete assignments. Don’t rush your class and establish an easy-going pace. Try to minimize class changes because students who have asperger’s favor set routines within their academic and social engagements.

It also is essential to know that students who have asperger’s are prone to be “visual learners.” Offer many “hands-on” activities with pictures/graphics and show them what they need to learn. Kinesthetic learning is vital for understanding.

You should keep your language simple… Avoid complex dialog – unless learning a new term is the objective. To introduce new words use visual aids and examples.

If there is a need to change your class — tell your kids why things are changing. Take the time to explain why you are going in a different direction and review any new goals. This will ease tension.

With any successful teaching approach — be sure to offer a lot of positive feedback and reassurance to your students. All kids need consistent monitoring to stay focused and on track.

Actively keep your students parents informed about their child’s progress. If you have parental support your students will do great. To create a comfortable class environment you could have items placed around your room that represent a topic or display characteristics that are interesting to you. Kids love getting to know their teacher — so share things about yourself that make you approachable and friendly.

Additionally, collaborate with your peers. You will learn a lot by asking what your fellow teachers are doing in their classrooms.

Finally, try to prevent behavior outbursts or “meltdowns” by creating a stress-free class. Prevention through the use of appropriate academic, environmental, social and sensory support systems are effective. Be aware that you will have behavior issues; but if you are calm and fair your problems will be minimal. 🙂


Cyber Bullying: Tech Gone Bad


— Story by eSchool News

Cyber bullying is in the national spotlight again, and the news is not encouraging: On the heels of a widely publicized case in Missouri that led to the suicide of a 13-year-old girl, there is new research to suggest that instances of online harassment are on the rise among students. READ MORE›› 

By Paul Silli 

If bullying at school wasn’t bad enough, now kids are getting online and being harassed to the point where many of them are committing suicide. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is trying to draw more attention to show how adolescents are affected by harassment through emails, Instant Text Messages, blogs, MySpace, and other electronic media.

I think it is horrible to know that children have committed suicide from the effects of bullies online. Sure, these kids probably have other emotional issues, but harassment at school or online only makes things worse for them. Many of our youth seek refuge online to socialize and interact with friends.

It is sad to learn that many of our kids are getting harassed. For example, they are called names, profanity is used, and there are many cases where disgusting “rumors” are spread about them… while using online networks such as “MySpace.”

Dilemma: What can we, as educators, do to help with this situation? How can we assist  parents in finding ways to prevent kids from being harassed online? 

Trends in Discipline & Classroom Management

u160317961.jpgBy Paul Silli

What are your thoughts about discipline in the classroom? I use humor to keep my kids on task. If you can make them laugh, you will manage their behavior well. But using a sense of humor is not for everyone. So, how do you keep your kids behaved and learning? It seems today a teacher’s discipline skills have become almost more important then actual teaching. If you don’t have classroom management abilities, things are going to be difficult.  For my students I created what I call the “Five BE’s” of discipline. 

1) BE consistent with your class rules. This means DON’T BLUFF if you are going to discipline or reward your students. Stand by your word and establish credibility!  

2) BE firm, but fair. Firmness shows you care about your students; and often being fair deals with you treating “all” of your students equally. For example, if you have a deadline for a project – stick to it (unless a student is sick). Teaching kids the importance of a deadline is a life skill they need to learn.

3) BE flexible with your lessons. Students need to know if you create an activity, and it is not turning out the way you expected, you will change the work to meet their best interest. In other words, do what is necessary to make things work. Your students will respect your decisions which will lead to positive behavior.  ks142201.jpg

4) BE considerate to your students. Never argue or yell at them! Confrontations and class disruptions waste time and energy. Try to minimize outburst by reducing there importance. Students are very sensitive if you tease or argue with them –especially in front of their peers. If a class “issue” occurs, separate the child and address him or her on a one-to-one basis. This will create a respectful, calm atmosphere. 


5) BE organized with your class. Yes, organized! Often students (especially young ones) will take advantage of a situation if you are poorly prepared. It is just their nature. When students see that you have your act together — respect and good behavior will occur. Plan well, and stay on top of your game!


Visit “Top 10 Tips for Classroom Discipline & Management” for more info:  http://712educators.about.com/od/discipline/tp/disciplinetips.htm