View Full Version : Teaching a person with Aspergers

07-03-09, 01:03 AM
I've taken on a tutoring position helping a young man with Asperger's with his library course. I've worked with him before as a coworker. He's a good guy, hardworking and concientious, but I don't know much else about his work habits and learning style. I would appreciate any tips on teaching someone with Asperger's. I have ADHD myself. I'm hoping our learning styles will complement each other and not create more problems!

Lady Lark
07-03-09, 12:37 PM
The first thing I would suggest is to ask him. Since Asperger's has a spectrum, not everyone diagnosed with it will have the same problems. Finding out how it effect him personally, and how he learns best would go a long way to making things easier.

07-03-09, 07:06 PM
I just took on a tutee with Aspserger's as well, and I'd love to hear some responses.

Here's what I do know:

1. Folks with Asperger's don't tend to adapt to change very well- so keep your schedule consistent.

2. Auditory processing difficulties are very common with Asperger's- be careful with long strings of information. Keep things parced into small bits and give appropriate time for them to process. Just because he smiles and nods doesn't mean he has any idea what you're talking about- it's just a repetitive behavior he sees other people do when they're listening.

3. Eye contact is a problem for many folks with Asperger's- though not to the extent it is for more serious forms of autism. So let them set the style of eye contact. Also beware the use of inflection, idioms, ironic wording, etc. Assume everything you say is going to be taken literally.

4. Folks with Asperger's struggle with inattention in ways that are similar to, but not quite the same as, ADHD. Unlike folks with ADHD whose attention is primarily stimulation driven (hence if you give us anything in a highly stimulating format, we'll be able to pay attention to it), folks with Asperger's tend to have an egocentric component to their attention. They have to see every piece as relevant to them directly, or it won't be processed or interesting. Also be ready for hyperfocus-like symptoms if he's decided this is the most interesting thing to do right now- they tend to be obsessive about particular subjects.

5. Beware overly visual information- Asperger's folks are generally not very visual (unlike most of autism), they tend to be more verbally adept. And yet, they have serious deficiencies in auditory processing, prosody, etc. So be aware that their strongest information processing is still fraught with basic weaknesses.

07-03-09, 10:05 PM
As one fellow once told me, "Show me, don't tell me."

07-05-09, 12:20 AM
Thanks, this is all very useful. Thanks for the warning about long strings of information and ironic wording, I'm bad for that. I've already given him a short questionnaire to give me an idea of his learning style. I'll post the questions here in case other tutors are interested:

What are your weak points when working on this subject?
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What are your strong points when working on this subject?
What are your weak points when learning any subject?
What are your strong points when learning any subject?
What do you enjoy about this subject?
What do you like least about this subject?
What steps do you take when learning new material?
What steps do you take when working on a difficult task?

One of the areas he seems to be having problems with involves strings of numbers. Is this common with Aspergers?

Lady Lark
07-05-09, 12:45 PM
It can be, but it can also not be. It's probably his own personal issue. That's why I suggested you ask him how he learns best. My son is a very visual learner. Even at an early age the mindset in our house was, if you don't want Steven to know how to do it, don't let him see you do it. At the same time, he reads...a lot. And he picks up tons of information that way too. For him it's factual learning he does better reading, and physical manipulation of things he does better doing.