Memory Lane 3: Asperger’s Syndrome & Autism

Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is at the mildest and highest functioning end of the Autism Spectrum.

AS is characterized by difficulties with:

  • Social relatedness and social skills
  • Pragmatic or social language (with normal overall language development)
  • Repetitive and perseverative behaviors
  • Limited, but the intense range of interests

People with Asperger’s Syndrome have at least average (and sometimes very high) IQ levels.


What might be difficult for people with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?

  • Listening skills

(People with autism tend to be stronger visually.)

  • Spontaneous conversation
  • Making small talk
  • Using appropriate nonverbal signals (facial expressions, eye contact, and proximity)
  • Abstract or conceptual thinking
  • Describing events that are not immediately present
  • Discriminating between real and fake
  • Understanding cause and effect (in their environment and behavior)
  • Engaging in meaningful and symbolic play
  • Manipulating others

People with autism tend to be egocentric and are seldom capable of being manipulative. They behave in ways that will get their own needs met. So people interacting with them must not take their behavior personally. In order not to do this, you can:

  • Take another’s perspective
  • Interpret facial expressions and other social cues
  • Use Figurative or sarcastic language; knowing when someone’s joking
  • New events; changes in routine; being flexible
  • Understanding and interpreting inconsistency
  • Work best with rules
  • Rules provide order and control in an otherwise disorganized and overwhelming world
  • Sensory Processing
  • People with autism can be easily overloaded and underestimated.

Strategies for working with people with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome


  • Calendars,
  • Schedules
  • Pictures
  • Organization of toys on the table
  • Routine of session

Use a PICTURE SCHEDULE or an activity board to help transition and predictability.

Create a SOCIAL STORY to review or plan for complex events:

  • Person connection
  • Pictures or photos
  • Sequences to learn
  • Right way/Wrong way

An increase in unusual or problematic behaviors in Autism Children probably indicates increased stress.

Teachers or parents of children who have Autism must use CONCRETE language rather than open-ended ((i.e., after lunch rather than later). It is even better to show it visually, and tasks should be broken down in SMALL STEPS or presented in different ways (visually, verbally, and physically).

USE SHORT, CLEAR SENTENCES. Allot specific, limited times for intense areas of interest. Use timers, clocks, and other visual cues to help transition these topics.

DIFFERENT MODES of communication include:

  • Pointing, gesturing, reaching to request and object
  • Physical manipulation (placing hand or object)
  • Giving/showing objects
  • Simple or single-word speech or signs
  • Imitation as a form of connection
  • Aggression as a form of protest, rejection, or escape
  • Crying, tantrums, self-injury to indicate frustration, distress, or anger
  • Incessant questioning/arguing is a sign of stress in people with Asperger’s.

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