As a learning consultant, I've had nearly 10 years of experience developing learning and behavior plans for students with Aspergers.
In my experience, students with Aspergers respond to many of the following strategies: establishing a predictable lesson format, incorporating use of a nonverbal token or reward system, providing visual aids like charts or graphs to track progress, and providing extrinsic motivators that reflect the students' interests.
As a learning consultant, I've had the opportunity to work with autistic students for almost a decade.
My instruction centers around strengthening language processing and comprehension skills. As comprehension is enhanced, I help address weaknesses in many of the following areas: vocabulary development, following oral directions, critical thinking, and oral and written expression.
I began working with students diagnosed as dyslexic in 2004. Using a sensory-cognitive approach, my lessons are designed to strengthen weak learning components like phonemic awareness and visual memory. As individual components are strengthened, I include reading exercises to support concept application and use of context.
I have nearly a decade of experience helping non-readers and struggling readers develop strong phonics skills. I use techniques to strengthen visual memory recognition of letters and letter pairs. I also draw attention to articulation of sounds in order to help students develop automatic sound and symbol associations.
Implementing and applying an effective editing process is important for student development. In order to proofread effectively, material should be reviewed in a strategic manner. Creating a mental or visual checklist and then reviewing one aspect at a time, gives a student multiple opportunities to make corrections. Additionally, reading the material aloud enables the student to experience the style and flow of the written word.
Reading is not only a necessity in school, but for life!
In a one-on-one learning environment, a struggling reader benefits from tailored instruction that responds to his/her individual needs. Using a multi-sensory and integrated approach, I address the essential components required to develop reading fluency.
For six years I've had the opportunity to work with special needs populations. My philosophy is person-centered and I've attended numerous trainings designed to help clients discover and achieve on their own terms. I've had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of clients with various diagnoses: MR/DD, ASD, CP, and Down's Syndrome.
Spelling ability comes naturally to some. For others, spelling is a frustrating task with little rhyme or reason. My approach to spelling involves an analysis of decoding and word imagery reinforced through repetitive review. In order to stabilize the spelling process, it's important to rely upon reading rules, when applicable. However, since so many words fail to follow common reading rules, attention to the word's orthographic pattern also becomes important. Experiencing spelling words on a multisensory level gives a student multiple opportunities for word acquisition.
Using cognitive strategies, I've been successful in helping students organize and prioritize their study needs. Using a 'learning partnership' approach, I encourage students to take ownership of their learning and seek out resources as needed. My study skills sessions include: drills for writing down homework assignments, using school databases, using an agenda/planner, time-management discussions and effective use of materials for successful test-taking.
Developing expressive and receptive vocabulary entails much more than memorizing definitions. In order to truly retain unknown words, a student must be able to create some sort of mental picture for the concept in question. Using illustrations, Google images or reference pictures is a great place to start. Once an image is established, describing the image verbally is important. With that verbal description should come an opportunity to practice the word in context. Ultimately, reviewing the word meaning becomes more than just memorization, it becomes understanding on a cognitive level.
The difficulty many students experience with writing often comes from lack of planning. It's important to begin by engaging in a critical thinking discussion and formulating a verbal plan. Once the plan is verbalized, the student creates an outline that meets the requirements of the assignment. There are a variety of outline formats and other graphic organizers that can serve as visual aids during the planning phase. From the outline, an initial draft should be completed. Using editing techniques, secondary and final drafts can then be developed.