Everybody in the Asperger’s Community already acknowledges that aspies have that one thing that keeps them happy and comfortable: their intense interest. Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a sibling, or a friend, coming to understand the aspie’s intense interests is crucial for creating a relationship and helping them grow.
The aspie’s intense interest comes with many challenges and rewards, just as the jobs of parenting and teaching do. This article explores the real benefits and best parameters of understanding and working with the restricted interests for people with Aspergers. Following the 5-step process below can provide a window into the Asperger’s world and show how an intense interest influences the various aspects of personal development.
1.First, identify the interests and the aspie’s behaviors, feelings, and habits that surround it in order to profile the aspie.
- Then, express interest in the aspie’s interest and ask them what they like most about it.
- If the aspie turns you away, tell them that they can share whatever details they want in their own time. Let the aspie come to you to tell you all about it, and don’t feel hurt if they turn you away initially. The aspie’s request for you to leave is very common with introverted aspies.
- If the aspie wants you to get involved, you can then perform a strategic inquiry in relation to the intense interests.
- As you learn about the aspie’s interests, begin to take them out of their comfort zones and push against what triggers undesirable behaviors.
- Dig deep into both good and bad behaviors in order to strategize how to prevent and remedy them as the aspie grows as a person.
- Then, learn to set different kinds of boundaries, but be careful with discipline. Demonstrate the utmost sensitivity to each situation to avoid further negative emotions and behaviors.
- One way of thinking about this is to draw developmental circles; more specifically, the innermost circle is the aspie’s current comfort zone with their interest and everything else that surrounds it. The next-largest circle represents a larger comfort zone into which the aspie gradually transitions. The parent/guardian/caregiver defines each subsequent circle using keywords that describe increasingly better and better trends in the various aspects of the aspie’s personal progress.
- This circle model serves as a reference point that measures the aspie’s progress based on their interest(s) and any other governing factors in personal development. Therefore, the interest serves as a common bond between the circles.
2.After profiling the aspie’s interests, bond with the aspie while advantageously using their specific interests.
- Make plans to travel to places where the interests are abundant; even better, they could be life-sized in visual, detail-oriented exhibits.
- For example, for the aspie who loves planes or the topic of aviation, bring them to a park with other kids, go to an air museum, etc.
- During those visits, give the aspie the opportunity to be challenged socially, emotionally, physically, etc. It is important to recognize that these processes of development require much time. After all, the teacher (parent, educator, sibling, etc.) cannot force the learner to encode, to interpret, or to use the information at a faster pace than the rate at which the aspie can process.
3.Next, the aspie’s teachers can incorporate these interests into typical lessons inside and outside of school.
- Teachers can get creative in ways that allow the aspie to maximize their learning experiences with self-expression and without meltdowns, tantrums, or unnecessary conflicts.
- For example, the teacher can allow the aspie differentiated instruction, such as making an art book or collage of the various details of the aspie’s interest, rather than writing an essay about such details.
- In addition to artwork, another idea is to design simple games during recess or a brief break. These breaks can serve every benefit a game could offer: fun and exercise of the mind, brain, body, and spirit.
- One example of such a game is “capture the flag” in which the aspie picks up the flags in a specific sequence of details while running around in a non-competitive manner. After each lesson and game, offer the aspie specific praise and encouragement to keep going in that manner. One thing to remember is that every step must be smooth.
4.Teachers can use the aspie’s intense interests to encourage social inclusion for the child with aspergers.
- Teachers can do this by creating opportunities for the child with Aspergers to stand out by actively participating in activities about the aspie’s intense interest.
- This way the aspie can demonstrate knowledge to pique the interest of their peers.
- The results of this are great. Once the people in the aspie’s age group acknowledge the aspie for their intelligence and personality, they will likely include the aspie in their friendship circle.
5.Finally, establish time limits for the intense interest, and allow times for activities in other topics.
- This creates a balance for learning and focus. Ideally this enables the aspie to gravitate towards a potpourri of interests, rather than the one specific interest that fails to provide all crucial lessons for life.
There are countless ways that aspies can express their individual interests to reach full potential. This process only entails a fraction of those ways. The process of growth will consistently shed broadening light on every aspie’s education, wellbeing, and future.
Eventually, the aspie will connect with quality people and opportunities to serve their reasons for existing, whether they change their interests or not. The knowledge will enhance the mind, the activities will enhance the body, and the connections will enhance the spirit.
By Reese Eskridge
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