How do I get my son with Aspergers to understand that he has to follow the teacher’s directions to work on the subject in front of him rather than “entertaining” the kids around him or doing another subject because he thinks he can do the first subject at home?
It is common for children with Asperger’s Syndrome to have behavioral struggles in the school environment. The characteristics of Asperger’s sometimes interfere with the child’s desire to behave appropriately. These characteristics make the routine school day become an obstacle that is difficult to overcome. Each child with Asperger’s has his own complex condition that may include all of the following characteristics at varying degrees: obsessive preoccupations; sensory issues; poor social skills; the need for routine, sameness, and order; poor motor skills, both fine and gross; auditory processing problems; comprehension struggles; and the tendency to suffer anxiety and depression.
Because of these complex characteristics, there is no single approach for dealing with behavioral issues. Each student must have a personalized plan for behavior to go along with his personalized education plan. In fact, behavioral issues should be a major component of your son’s individual education plan or, IEP. Without behavioral support, your son will continue to struggle through the learning process. Here are some suggestions for you to consider.
* IEP changes-It may be time to schedule a meeting with your son’s education team. Request a new behavioral assessment to find the areas of discord in the classroom. The behavioral assessment may show your son’s sensory issues are extreme, for instance. With this information, the team can develop a plan to avoid sensory overload.
* Parent/teacher relationship-Be a strong ally in the quest for your son’s education. His teacher wants his success as much as you do. Work together to form a strong discipline plan, where needed. Clowning should not be tolerated. Talk frequently to keep everyone informed on changes at home that may cause problems at school.
* Rules, schedules, routines-These are all necessary for appropriate behavior. Your son desires the structure these tools provide. Keep written lists of rules, chores, schedules, and expectations for home and for school visible whenever possible. Routines are important. Even a tiny change in routine can lead to behavioral issues. It is difficult for your son to accept and adjust to these changes.
The key to better behavior in the classroom is to prevent the situations that cause problem behavior. With the right support at school and at home, your son can behave appropriately without negative backlash. Better behavior will come, not solely from punishment and learning new behaviors, but by avoiding stressful situations from the start.