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Asperger’s Autism And The Classroom Setting

1091 words - 4 pages

I am very interested in high at risk student populations in traditional schools. While many students labeled as high at risk exist in ever-increasing numbers, there is little in the field that demonstrates the remediation of the student. There have been successful ventures in some instances, however, the greater question of what works and what does not work exists in piece meal fashion (Grenier, 2010). The high at-risk population I am interested in is the special needs child. I have spent numerous years working with autistic children in school settings. The enduring social emotional issues and the mechanics of social interaction have made me contemplate the question of what works best for these children to learn. I have worked in schools where special needs children were the sole students, and in schools that mainstreamed. Towards my EdD, I am looking at the pragmatic results of inclusion versus mainstreaming versus self-contained classrooms. All three offer different learning environments and are based upon public law 94-142, now called the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (Demonte, 2010). Until 1975, schools simply had to describe the student as different to either exclude the student from school or tell the parent to institutionalize the student (p.158). When the IDEA came into being, schools acknowledged special needs students who previously they would not accept into their school (p.165). I remember distinctly in 1969, that separate classrooms housed and educated students with disabilities. It was the beginning of my journey in working with at risk populations. Mr. Papanek was the special education teacher and I remember his compassion and commitment to these children. I often volunteered to use my study hall classes to work with these children. I became curious and fascinated by the students and their amazing resiliency. The uniqueness of thought had such a profound effect upon whom I was and why I chose to be an educator. To that end I have devoted my life to working with many of the groups considered to be high at-risk. Currently I work with a drop out recovery school where all of the children are high at risk and all of them have learning disabilities. However, my experience in working with Asperger’s autistic children is where I want to focus my research and dissertation.
Asperger’s autistic children operate at the higher end of the autistic spectrum; and there is debate as to whether Asperger’s belongs in the autism spectrum of pervasive personality disorder or the personality disorder spectrum (Loefgren, 2011). The personality disorder spectrum includes schizoid, schizotypal, and paranoid personality types that closely associate to Asperger’s autism (p.227). Nonetheless, Asperger’s effects on children in the classroom are profound. The lack of associative emotional responses, motor skill clumsiness, indifference to other people’s feelings, introverted anger, and violent outburst are barriers to effective learning in...

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