Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of developmental disorders that are characterized by difficulties in the areas of social skills, communication, and unusual repetitive behaviors. The core feature appears to be the individual’s inability to understand the thoughts, feelings and motivations of other people and to use this understanding to regulate his or her own behaviors.
The following characteristics are typical in an individual with an ASD. Due to the diversity and complexity of this disability, you may not see all of these characteristics in a given student. These characteristics can result in behaviors that are easy to misinterpret, as discussed below. Often behaviors that seem odd or unusual, or even rude, are in fact unintentional symptoms of ASD.
Students diagnosed with an ASD bring unique strengths and perspectives to the classroom. You may observe any of the following characteristics:
Students diagnosed with an ASD may face challenges in the following areas:
- taking another’s point of view
- synthesizing information to arrive at a larger concept
- comparing and contrasting to arrive at “the big picture”
- using analogies, similes, or metaphors
Students may have the sophisticated and impressive vocabulary and excellent rote memory but may have difficulty with high-level thinking and comprehension skills. They can give the impression that they understand, when in reality they may be repeating what they have heard or read.
General classroom behavior: In general, while students diagnosed with ASD are often valuable assets in the classroom, some potentially challenging and easily misunderstood behaviors – which can usually be attributed to the functional impact of the condition – may be noted.
The following suggested tips may be helpful in working with students.
Example: (Student arrives at your office at 1:40). “We have 20 minutes to work together. At 2:00, I’m going to ask you to take my suggestions home and start making changes to your paper. Come to my office tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 and show me what you’ve done.”
Please contact DSS at 573-341-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for assistance with any questions you may have.
Adapted from: Wolf, L., Thierfeld Brown, J., and Bork, G.R.K. (2009) . Students with Asperger Syndrome: A Guide for College Personnel. Overland Park, KS: Autism AspergerPublishing Company.
Download PDF:Autism Spectrum Disorders(ASD)/Asperger’s Disorder