Education

Children with Asperger profiles—even those who are very smart and enjoy learning—may find school challenging. They may find it difficult to deal with the sensory environment (noises, smells), with social demands, and with gross and fine motor tasks. It may be hard for them to remain attentive, organized, and calm throughout a long, varied school day.

Because each student on the autism spectrum is unique, there is no single prescription for educational success. There will always need to be an individualized plan for each child. However, there are some strategies and approaches that ease stress and anxiety and help students thrive at school.

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Wedding Cake Model for Home-School Communication

Article
Why is Parent/Educator Communication so Important?Most students with Asperger profiles have weak social communication skills. One result is that the student’s life is like a bicycle wheel with a weak hub. The adults need to hold hands around the rim to keep the wheel intact and functional.Stephanie’s Wedding Cake Model of... more

Christian Tsetsos

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Christian shares what school was like for him growing up with Asperger... more

Homework Help

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Do you or your child get frustrated over homework? Learn practical strategies to help at home and school from Brenda Dater, author of Parenting without... more

Transition in Action Series: Getting Transition Assessments & Using them for Goals and Services

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Learn about what types of transition assessments can help you build an effective transition... more

Bullying and Asperger Syndrome

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Learn how children and teens with Asperger Syndrome and related autism spectrum profiles may experience bullying and how you can help create a bully-free... more

Appy Hour: Apps for Learning and Organization

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Find out about apps and strategies to help with learning and... more

Transitioning from High School to College or Employment

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Robin Lurie-Meyerkopf shares practical strategies for transitioning to... more

Writing Measureable IEP Goals

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Brenda Dater, author of Parenting without Panic,  breaks down how to write measurable IEP... more

Understanding Students with Asperger Syndrome and Related Profiles

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Ilia and Ryan Walsh share their perspectives on how to help students on the autism... more

Transition to High School

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The change from middle school to high school can be challenging, especially for those on the autism spectrum. Brenda Dater, author of Parenting without Panic, offers tips to manage the... more

Understanding Executive Function Skills in Students with Asperger Syndrome

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Learn how executive functioning challenges may impact students on the autism spectrum and strategies that can... more

Social Thinking and Social Issues: Support for Middle and High School Students with AS

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Robin Lurie-Meyerkopf  shares effective strategies for helping middle and high school students with Asperger profiles build their social thinking... more

Parenting without Panic with Brenda Dater

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Brenda Dater, author of Parenting without Panic, shares practical guidance for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum; helping all parents feel less... more

Transition in Action Series: Inspiring Vision Statements, Measurable Goals and Dynamic Action Plans

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Experienced, powerhouse educational advocates Marilyn Weber and Jennie DunKley show you how to create individualized transition plans that will really help get your high school student ready for an independent adult life of education, work, self-care, and healthful... more

Using the Transition Planning Form to Make Your Teen’s High School Education Count

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Learn how the Transition Planning Form or TPF can be a powerful tool to guide the student and the educational team through the process of creating a dynamic, individualized action... more

Transition to Middle School: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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... more

The Parent’s Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum

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This book, written by experienced college disability directors, is the authoritative guide to the subject. Dr. Lorraine Wolf and Dr. Jane Thierfeld Brown lead AANE’s “Preparing for College” workshops, and Dr. Thierfeld Brown offers college consultations to individual teens and their... more

Preparing For Life: The Complete Guide for Transitioning to Adulthood for Those with Autism and…

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Far too often, students with Asperger profiles graduate from high school graduates unprepared for the transition to an independent adult life. Early, ongoing training in the social skills crucial to establishing successful adult relationships—in college, vocational school, residential living, or... more

The Incredible 5-Point Scale: Assessing Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders In Understanding Social Interactions and…

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Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis have created a tool that helps students with Asperger profiles become aware of their feelings and emotional reactions, and communicate about them with others. This must-have resource shows how the use of a simple 5-point visual scale can help students understand and... more

Middle School – The Stuff Nobody Tells You About: A Teenage Girl with ASD Shares…

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The transition to middle school is daunting to most, but for students with autism spectrum disorders, it can be a veritable mine field of hidden curriculum rules, social misunderstanding, cliques, etc. And that's even before cracking open a book! Based on her own experiences, Haley Moss, a teenager... more

Life, Animated

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This is the real-life story of Owen Suskind, the son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and his wife, Cornelia. An autistic boy who couldn't speak for years, Owen memorized dozens of Disney movies, turned them into a language to express love and loss, kinship, brotherhood.The... more

Take Charge of Treatment for Your Child With Asperger’s (ASD): Create a Personalized Guide to…

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AANE parent Cornelia Pelzer Elwood has partnered with psychologist and long-time AANE board member Dr. Scott McLeod of MGH Aspire to write this comprehensive guide for parents. The book includes access to templates that parents can use to create a detailed picture of a child and the strategies that... more

Asperger’s Syndrome: An Owner’s Manual–What You, Your Parents and Your Teachers Need to Know: An…

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Experienced educator Ellen Korin created this workbook at the request of one of her middle school students, who wanted a tool for remembering the content of their important discussions. The result is a very flexible and effective tool that educators or therapists can use with teens with Asperger... more

How to Be a Para Pro: A Comprehensive Training Manual for Paraprofessionals

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Paraprofessional classroom aides are critical to the comfort and success of many students with Asperger profiles.This book is an invaluable guide for such paraprofessionals, full of practical, concrete suggestions.Learn More and... more

No B.O.!: The Head -to-Toe Book of Hygiene for Preteens

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It is essential for our pre-teens to have good hygiene. This book is a valuable tool for raising awareness and teaching skills.Learn More and... more

Living Sensationally

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Winnie Dunn has worked with many people with Asperger profiles. Based on her deep understanding of how their sensory issues impact their experience and functioning, she offers strategies to creating more hospitable environments and practical solutions. The book is refreshingly concise, with handy... more

Quirky Kids: Understanding and Helping Your Child Who Doesn’t Fit In – When to Worry…

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Quirky Kids is a classic written by two experienced pediatricians, offering parents practical strategies for raising children with Asperger profiles.Learn More and Purchase... more

The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students

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The behavior of children with Asperger profiles is often driven by anxiety and/or missing skills. Over-simplified behavioral interventions such as imposing inflexible negative consequences may increase a child’s anxiety--and do nothing to teach the necessary skills. This book offers a much more... more

Easy-To Implement Interventions for Children With Asperger Profiles

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“Hello, Mrs. Thompson, this is Ms. O’Conner, Jacob’s teacher. I’m calling today because there was another incident in class. Jacob is struggling with listening to directions. We were at morning meeting and, as always, he was jumping up and down and calling out. Another student asked him to sit and be quiet because he couldn’t hear. Jacob... more

Familiarity = Safety: Transition for the Asperger Profile Student

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Spring has sprung. It’s that time of year. Usually transition planning begins now in most school systems. However, it’s actually a little late. By the time you get this newsletter you will already be behind the eight ball as far as transition planning goes!! (Try understanding that if you have AS!!) So you better get busy! There are many steps... more

Creating A Team

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An Individual Educational Program (IEP) is a formal structure for achieving the educational goals of students with learning differences. IEPs are written collectively by a team of teachers, parents, and professionals involved with a student’s welfare, based on concerns raised by parents and/or teachers, usually backed up with specific diagnoses... more

Getting to Know Your Student Template

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 Use the following template to share information with your child or student’s new team and teacher. Change categories or language to fit your student. Thank you for sharing your expertise! Download... more

Guidelines for Neuropsychological Evaluations for Children and Teens

Article
To most parents hearing it for the first time, the term “neuropsych eval” is mysterious, a phrase that never comes up in toddler music classes, playground chat, or the mainstream parenting manuals. Parents facing the possibility that their child has developmental problems, however, must quickly become accustomed to it, because the... more

Helping Students with Asperger Profiles Avoid Writing Pitfalls

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Written language tasks can be difficult for many students with AS because they involve many different skills and abilities that are often areas of weakness for students with AS. Keys a writer needs to unlock writing tasks include:Motor control and production. (For some students, dictation, speech recognition software, tape recording,... more

Helping Students with Asperger Profiles Make Sense Of Recess

Article
When “typical” children are asked: “What’s your favorite class at school?” many will say “Recess!” Most children love recess. They are in charge. Freed from arbitrary adult rules, they get to play and run around, burn off energy etc.Children with Asperger Profiles, however, may have another perspective. For them, recess is... more

How to Determine Homework Needs of Students on the Autism Spectrum

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Homework is an issue that needs careful consideration for the student with AS. Hopefully this article will help both parents and teachers focus your thinking about homework and make good decisions for your student. Decisions about homework should be addressed by the whole educational team, including parents and, if possible, the student... more

How to Help Your Students Track Their Assignments and Turn in Homework

Article
We know that there are many components that need to be addressed in order for kids with ASD  to be able to understand, complete, and turn in their homework. One strategy that has been used successfully is a homework template to keep track of assignments. Many schools provide an assignment book where the assignments are written down with a due... more

Connecting To Humans: Some Ideas for Parents, Family and Professionals

Article
My name is Jennifer, I’m 42 years old, and I have Asperger Syndrome (AS). Lately I’ve been frequently asked to talk or write about dating, friendship, and relationships. This may be partly because I’ve been happily married for 14 years (to a man who also has AS), and socialize reasonably well with the “neurotypical” (NT) population. I... more

Don’t Forget to Invite the Student! Including Students with Asperger Profiles in Meetings

Article
According to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, “to write an effective IEP for a child with a disability, parents, teachers, other school staff—and often the child— must come together at a meeting to look closely at the child’s unique needs.” As noted in Bonnie Glickman’s article, students are legally... more

Morning Work Template

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Students with Asperger profiles often have challenges with organization and self-regulation. They benefit from having an explicit list that teaches them what tasks to do, and in what order, and allows them to check off items as they are completed. Try using a form like this for first thing in the morning to help your student know what they need to... more

Sensory Processing and the Sensory Budget

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How do we know anything at all about the world? Our sensory system is responsible for accurately taking in information so our brain can interpret this information and then do something with it. For everyone, this process happens instantaneously and continuously throughout the day: “I see red, I see round, I hear bouncing, I smell... more

Asperger Profiles: Developmental Delays

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Every person with Asperger Syndrome is developmentally delayed, not intellectually, but at the social-emotional level. This delay can be significant; for example, a 21-year-old may seem socially and emotionally more like a 14-year-old. The social consequences of being developmentally delayed often become particularly conspicuous during the middle... more

Simple Steps to Help Your Child Follow Through on Tasks

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Many parents find that their children resist doing jobs at home especially when tasks have multiple steps that are not explicit. Daily requests like; ”Clean your room,” or “Take the trash out”, or “We’re leaving, get ready,” or  “Play with your sister,” may seem to be ignored or result in a meltdown. But there are strategies... more

Basic Guidelines for Choosing an Advocate for Your Child

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Working with your school district to ensure your child is receiving an appropriate education can be challenging. Often parents feel they are not equal members of their children’s educational team, and that decisions are not always made with their child’s unique needs in mind. Add the complexities of special education laws, with timelines and... more

Change in My Day Card

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Many students with Asperger profiles get distressed when anything changes in their day. Alerting them in writing that a change is anticipated can help them adjust. You can help reassure them that everything will still be OK and help them understand what they will be doing instead of their regular schedule. Try using this model or one of your own.... more

Reflections About College

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Beginning college is a big step for most kids, and can be even tougher for young people with Asperger’s. If you choose to live on-campus, it means leaving your family and your home and moving into a dorm room with one or more total strangers. College students don’t have to take nearly as many classes as high school students, but the workload... more

Teaching Resilience to Children with Asperger Profiles

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Perhaps you, too, have had this experience. A child—let’s call him Joey—is in the middle of a meltdown, and a well-intentioned adult advises him to take some deep breaths. (Perhaps you have even been that adult.) There’s just one problem—the child has never had any prior instruction in deep breathing, or any opportunity to rehearse using... more

Helping Your Child Learn How to Be Calm

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Many children with Asperger profiles are easily frustrated, have strong reactions to change and have a more difficult time calming themselves when they are upset. Many parents have found it helpful to use the following strategy to help their children learn how to calm themselves when they are frustrated, angry or anxious. Step 1: Observe and Get... more

School Visitation Form Template

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School/Program Visitation Information Here’s a guide to help you gather information when you visit potential schools and programs.  Feel free to add different questions to make sure you have the information you need to decide if the school/program will be a good fit for your child.Download... more

Asperger Profiles: What We Know

Article
Because of the ways in which they tend to differ from the norm, many people with an Asperger profile report having been bullied and/or excluded from groups, both as children and as adults. This history of rejection can impact Asperger individuals’ ability to trust others; they might be more cautious and emotionally guarded around certain people... more

Throw Away The Yardstick or The Blessing of the Diagnosis

Article
Many of us started this journey through the now famous metaphor of visiting Holland. If you haven’t read Emily Perl Kingsley’s brilliant essay on having a child with special needs, read it here. In it, she compares getting ready to have a baby to planning a trip to Italy—only expectant parents could think of parenting as a trip to one of... more

Asperger Syndrome and Young Children: Building Skills for the Real World

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Teresa Bolick is an experienced and trusted child psychologist who has shared her wisdom with the AANE community at many of our conferences. In this book she offers parents a compassionate perspective and practical strategies for raising children with Asperger profiles.Learn More and... more

Asperger Syndrome and Bullying: Strategies and Solutions

Recommended Reading
Bullying is a serious problem for people with Asperger profiles, both at school and in the workplace. Displaying "different" behavior, such as not understanding social rules or hand-flapping, exacerbates the risk of being victimized. Nick Dubin describes the bullying behavior he and others have... more

Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Helping Preteens and Teens Get Ready for the Real World

Recommended Reading
Teresa Bolick is an experienced and trusted child psychologist who has shared her wisdom with the AANE community at many of our conferences. In this book she presents strategies for helping the ten to eighteen­-year-­old achieve happiness and success by maximizing the benefits of Asperger... more

Parenting without Panic: A Pocket Support Group for Parents of Children and Teens on the…

Recommended Reading
Ever wish that parenting a child or teen on the autism spectrum came with instant access to a support group? Brenda Dater has provided parents with exactly that. In this book she draws on her extensive experience as a support group leader and parent of a child on the spectrum to offer trusted... more

Transitioning From High School to Adulthood

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Making the transition from high school to adulthood can be both enormously exciting and stressful for any students. The stress may be magnified for students with Asperger Syndrome (AS) as their maturation level, ability to tolerate or accept help, and their social skill/perspective-taking, executive functioning and meta-cognitive abilities (i.e.,... more

Types of Help for Complex Children and Teens with Asperger Profiles

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When children are in crisis or things seem stuck, there is no silver bullet. Generally speaking there are only so many types of interventions one can try. Therefore, it’s critically important to re-examine key areas to see if something got missed, or if something needs to be tweaked or changed (or some member of the team needs to be swapped... more

Using Skill Cards to Generalize Skills

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Skill cards help educators focus on teaching one particular skill at a time. They clarify which skill you are teaching, where the skill is being practiced and how it will be generalized. These cards are shared with the team of teachers who are working with the child as well as the parent.Skill cards collect data to help you know if your... more

Vision Statement Worksheets for Transition Planning

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Vision Statement Worksheet for a High School StudentThe vision statement on the Transition Planning Form should be written entirely from the student’s viewpoint.After I graduate from/age out of high school, I want to:     Study: In what kind of program/setting/geographical region?      Work: What kind? ... more

Using Visual Schedules on the Weekend

Article
Ever have the experience of waking up Saturday morning with a plan for how the day should proceed?  Guess what, your child on the autism spectrum does too! Often the parent and child perspectives differ concerning what should happen during the weekend. One strategy that can help address these differing expectations and clarify what will happen is... more

Welcome To Holland

Article
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make... more

Don’t Mourn for Us

Article
This article was published in the Autism Network International newsletter, Our Voice, Volume 1, Number 3, 1993. It is an outline of the presentation Jim gave at the 1993 International Conference on Autism in Toronto, and is addressed primarily to parents. Parents often report that learning their child is autistic was the most... more

How to Choose a Social Skills Group for Your Child

Article
Who will be the most successful in school and life: students with high academic achievement— or students with good social skills? Ever since Daniel Goleman’s work on Emotional Intelligence hit the popular press, we have increasingly come to realize the critical importance in our society of good social skills. If we are parents of children with... more

Asperger Profiles: The Big Picture-Challenges

Article
While respecting the abilities and humanity of people with Asperger profiles, one should not underestimate their struggles and suffering they might endure. A society designed for and dominated by the neurotypical majority can feel uncongenial and even overwhelming for a person with an Asperger... more

ASD Strategy Bank Developed by Educators and Principals

Article
AANE is pleased to share insights from the educators and school administrators we work with. If you’d like to discuss any of these successful strategy ideas, please contact us or learn more about professional development opportunities that meet your needs and request training or consultation.Use cartooning and comic strip conversations to... more

The Dating Scene — Are You Interested?

Article
Let’s look at dating as a pastime for teens, young adults, and adults. Webster says a pastime is “something that amuses and serves to pass time agreeably.” That is dating at its best. Most of us know that it also produces times of high anxiety, anger, sadness, and confusion. Dating, after all, is one kind of relationship, and all... more

An Approach to Transition Assessment and Planning

Article
Defining Transition Generally speaking, transition is defined as the movement from one set of activities to another, but for the families of adolescents and young adults with special needs it has a more specific meaning. In this context, “transition” refers to the complex process of moving from or one life stage to another: from adolescence... more

Executive Function Challenges in Children with Asperger Profiles

Article
What Is It, What Does It Mean for Kids, and What Can Be Done?Executive function is the ability to plan, organize and manage complex tasks. Executive function allows us to develop and apply problem-solving skills as circumstances call for them. We need executive function skills to deal with the stream of decision points we encounter throughout... more

Dear Parents of Typical Kids

Article
Dear parents of typical kids, I could have been labeled a helicopter parent for my oldest son, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was 3 years old. When he started middle school 8 years ago, I tried to arrange for neighborhood kids to walk or bike to and from school together. I knew that other parents were not making plans for their kids.... more

Helping Students with Asperger’s Make Sense of Recess

Article
When “typical” children are asked: “What’s your favorite class at school?” many will say “Recess!” Most children love recess. They are in charge. Freed from arbitrary adult rules, they get to play and run around, burn off energy etc.Children with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS),... more

How Parent Coaching Helped Me

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Katie shares how parent coaching has helped her family. Sign up for Parent Coaching... more

How Parent Coaching Helped Me

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Ross Kramer shares how Parent Coaching helped his family get on the right track.Sign up for Parent... more
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