Decreasing Stressors for the Asperger Student in Class

studentPerhaps most relevant to a student in the classroom: when you are stressed you are less likely to embrace difficult tasks. On your most stressful day, you will probably put the complex tax form in the “to do” box and leave it for a better day.

For our students, neurological stress can be the major underlying factor contributing to difficulties in communication, socialization, and academic performance.

It is our essential job, as parents and educators, to respect the neurological differences and decrease that stress in creative and varied ways.

From breathing techniques to visual strategies and beyond, we will strive to decrease neurological stress so that our students and children can present their best self each and every day.

A schedule is a core strategy that creates an anchor for students who struggle to make sense of their day and their environment. This is true of any classroom for any type of student. It has been well documented that learners benefit from having a daily agenda.

The difference is that while all students benefit from a daily agenda or schedule, students with Asperger’s Syndrome and other special needs have a greater need for this simple, yet fundamental strategy. For a younger student, this might be a simple posting of the daily activities on the board. For an older student that transitions from classroom to classroom, the daily schedule might be best in a notebook. However, each class period or subject should post the specific activities for that day.

A high school teacher can help to decrease the many stressors of high school life by posting something as simple as:

  1. Warm up exercise
  2. Read pages 44-50
  3. Research topic on the internet
  4. Turn in exit card

A companion strategy to help deal with changes to the schedule is a “surprise card” or a “change of schedule” card, or other card strategies to help guide behavior. For students that struggle with change in their lives, a surprise card can be a comfort that helps work through this rough spot.

If you’re not sure where to start, always start with the core strategy of a daily schedule/agenda.

By Lisa Rogers

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Jennifer Allen

After an extensive career broadcast marketing, Jennifer and her husband searched for answers when their oldest son hit the kinder years with great difficultly. After finally learning that their oldest son had Aspergers Syndrome, she left her career in television and became a full time mother to both of her sons. Jennifer elicited the participation of her sons and together they produced several independent programs including a children’s animated series titled Ameriquest Kids (now distributed by Landmark Media) as well as her documentary and book titled, Coping to Excelling: Solutions for school-age children diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome. The need for more information encouraged Jennifer to elicit a team of autism experts to provide weekly, original content to a website free to anyone seeking to live their best under the diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism/Aspergers Syndrome… appropriately titled: Aspergers101.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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