On Teaching Students with Asperger’s Syndrome

 

teaching Aspies

Teaching students with Asperger’s Syndrome is a challenge. As a teacher who also has Asperger’s, I have some suggestions for how to do this, and wish to share them.

  1. Keep the administrators at your school informed about what you are doing.
  2. Know the laws regarding these matters, and follow them carefully. Laws regarding confidentiality are particularly important.
  3. Identify the special interest(s) of the student (these special interests are universally present with Asperger’s; they also appear, sometimes, with students on other parts of the autism spectrum). Do not expect this/these special interest(s) to match that of anyone else, however — people with Asperger’s are extremely different from each other, just as all human beings are. As is the case with my own special interests in mathematics and the “mathy” sciences, it’s pretty much impossible to get students with Asperger’s to abandon their special interest — and I know this because I, quite literally, cannot do much of anything without first translating it, internally, into mathematical terms — due to my own case of Asperger’s. Identifying the special interest of a student with Asperger’s requires exactly one thing: paying attention. The students themselves will make it easy to identify their special interest; it’s the activity that they want to do . . . pretty much all the time.
  4. Find out, by carefully reading it, if the student’s official Section 504 document, or Special Education IEP, permits item #5 on this list to be used. If it doesn’t, you may need to suggest a revision to the appropriate document. (Note: these are the terms used in the USA; they will be different in other countries.)
  5. Of things done in class which will be graded, if the relevant document permits it, alter them in such a way as to allow the student to use his or her special interest to express understanding of the concepts and ideas, in your class, which need to be taught and learned. This is, of course, the most difficult step, but I cannot overemphasize its importance.
  6. Use parental contact to make certain the parent(s) know about, and agree with, the proposed accommodations/modifications. (504 students get accommodations, while special education students receive modifications. Following both 504 plans, and Special Education IEPs, is not optional for teachers — it is an absolute legal requirement, by federal law, and the penalties for failure to do so are severe. It is also, of course, the ethical thing to do.)
  7. Do not make the mistake of punishing any student for behavior related to a documented condition of any kind, including Asperger’s Syndrome.

Two Versions of a Slowly Rotating Rhombic Triacontahedron, Adorned with Spectral Patterns on Each Face

Rhombic Triaconta

It took three programs to make this. First, outlines of the “double rainbow” patterns on each face were constructed using Geometer’s Sketchpad. A screenshot from that program was then pasted into MS-Paint, which was used to add color to the outline of the pattern on each face. Next, the colorized image was projected onto each face of a rhombic triacontahedron, using Stella 4d: Polyhedron Navigator — the program that put this all together, and what I used to generate the rotating .gif above. Stella is available at http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php, with a free trial download available.

Interestingly, while this polyhedron itself is not chiral, the coloring-pattern of it, shown above, is.

With only small modifications, Stella can produce a very different version:

Rhombic Triaconta

Which one do you like better?

Revise, and Re-install, Unconscious Mental Subroutine

tess chiral 2012

Sleep eventually takes your awareness from you, and, at the end, you don’t even resist.

Asleep now. Initialization of nREM startup program in progress.

Stop. Evaluate time elapsed since last sleep-reprogramming. Identify areas of concern.

Rank items of concern in priority order,

Schedule upcoming REM cycle to allow the “playing out” out of necessary “real-word” drama to address the top priority concern. Maintain focus on that concern until it is replaced by another one, new, and of more importance. Keep an eye on all areas of past conflict, while watching for new ones, hoping for early detection.

If unavoidable, implement “the best you can fake it” multitasking coping-mode.

Realize that memory of this sleeping activity will be fragmentary at best.

Know also, nonetheless, that you are the one one writing the program, at both ends of the consciousness-spectrum, the autism spectrum, and any other spectra I find myself standing on.

To answer the obvious question: yes, this blog-post is deliberately being written in the grey zone between sleep and wakefulness. If parts of it make no sense, that’s the reason.

~~~

Note upon waking: I found this, written but not published, on my computer, when my alarm clock went off. I guess I’ll post it now!

A Gallery of Rainbow-Colored Artwork Inspired By Polyhedra

Image

Rainbow Artwork Inspired By Polyhedra

The smaller images below may each be enlarged with a single click.

Ytistorsnow and starsFloralConjdgdhfvbcxvcvex hull dualConjdhfvbcxvcvex hull dualConvex hjgfyull dual rvConvehhggdhgx hull tovrhombi and trapezoidsZonohedrified Dodeca

I made these using Stella 4d, which you can find at http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php.