|HIking at Bryce Canyon. Amazing.|
I'm compiling some info for our teacher who hasn't had any autism spectrum kids in her classrooms--or as she said, "any who are diagnosed."
•PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified) seems to me (and to doctors and anyone else who seems to write or talk about it) to be very similar to Asperger's or high-functioning autism.
•Individuals often have average to above-average intelligence.
•Difficulty with social skills and friendships. This can be the greatest challenge. They may want to make friends very badly, yet do not have a clue as to how to go about it. Identifying 1 or 2 empathetic students who can serve as "buddies" will help the child feel as though the world is a friendlier place.
•Difﬁculty using and interpreting gestures, judging proximity to others, and maintaining eye contact, all of which may impede the development of personal relationships.
•Because of an intense interest in one or two topics, the individual may talk at people instead of to people, disregarding the listener’s interest or attention. Although individuals may make efforts to socially interact with others, their unusual manner may leave many people not knowing how to respond. The person with Asperger’s syndrome may then be left misunderstood and isolated.
•"Swiss cheese" development. Some things are learned age-appropriately, while other things may lag behind. For example, a child may understand complex mathematics principles, yet not be able to remember to bring their homework home.
•Difficulties with transitions. Needs advance notice if there is going to be a change or disruption in the schedule. Let child know, if possible, when there will be a substitute teacher or a field trip occurring during regular school hours.
•May get overstimulated by loud noises, lights, strong tastes or textures, because of the hightened sensitivity to these things. With lots of other kids, chaos and noise, if needed, help the child find a quiet spot to which he can go for some "solace." May need to fidget or chew things.
•Unstructured times (such as lunch, recess and PE) may prove to be the most difficult for the child. Please try to help provide some guidance, a friend or extra adult help during these more difficult times.
•Allow the child to "move about" as sitting still for long periods of time can be very difficult (even a 5 minute walk with a friend or aide can help a lot).
•Although vocabulary and use of language may seem high, AS children may not know the meaning of what they are saying even though the words sound correct.
•The perspectives of the AS child can be unique and, at times, immovable.
•Can be dysgraphic and unable to listen to you talk, read the board and take notes at the same time.