Working Effectively with Children and Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome/ High Functioning Autism (AS/HFA): A Special Four Part Program

This special, interactive, intensive four-part series is designed to enable professionals and families to:

  • become more familiar with the diagnostic features of children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome, pervasive developmental disorders, high functioning autism, semantic pragmatic disorders and non verbal learning disabilities
  • assist in designing appropriate programmatic adaptations in schools, community services and other arenas
  • understand family, communication and social issues
  • work, live, teach and communicate more effectively with individuals with this diagnosis.

Session 1:  Recognizing and Understanding the Clinical Features of Asperger’s Syndrome/High Functioning Autism (AS/HFA)

This session will describe the diagnostic features of children and adults with AS. Participants will learn how the features of AS/HFA effect socialization, communication, sensory processing and learning.

Participants will learn:

where AS/HFA fits in the spectrum of Pervasive Developmental Disorders
the diagnostic features of AS/HFA
examples of how each diagnostic feature can manifest in children and adults with AS/HFA
features that differentiate AS/HFA from other autistic spectrum disorders, mental illness or behavior problems

Session 2:  Adapting Programs to Meet the Needs of Children and Adults with AS/HFA

Developmental disability programs and educational programs are not always designed to meet the needs of this special group of people. Programmatic adaptations are needed to ensure success. This session describes programmatic adaptations that are reasonable, practical and inexpensive and are likely to benefit people with Asperger’s Syndrome or high functioning autism.

Participants will learn:

the importance of changing and adapting programs for children and adults with AS/HFA
how likes and interests can be used to teach children and adults with AS
programmatic adaptations that can be used to address sensory issues
ideas to help select and use peer mentors
how practice, role play, cartoons, scripting and video taping can be used in social skills training goals for children and adults with AS
how goal selection needs to relate to current and future life circumstances

Session 3:  Family, Communication and Social Issues

Asperger’s Syndrome has a unique kind of impact on families. Professionals benefit from understanding family issues. AS severely effects social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication even when the individual has typical or gifted intelligence. Participants will become more familiar with the impact of AS in these areas and how to more effectively teach social and communication skills.

Participants will learn:

5 ways that a family member with AS/HFA effects the entire family
ways that families can explain AS/HFA to others
resources for families of children with AS/HFA
how to involve families in the development of programs and the selection of goals by using specific family interview questions
appropriate language to use to discuss children and adults with AS/HFA
ideas to help identify learner strengths that can be used to teach social and communication skills

Session 4:  Developing Personal Competencies that Improve Services for People with AS/HFA

Professionals can develop effective interpersonal skills that enhance communication and the development of relationships with persons with AS/HFA. Specific skills will be discussed and practiced.

Participants will learn:

why the most important program component is staff skills, attitudes and knowledge
why the concept of “embracing diversity” must be integrated into all features of all programs and how professional staff can model this attitude
the importance of being present and focused to observe and mediate peer interactions
how to use “telling” vs. “asking” techniques
how stress, anxiety, embarrassment and humiliation interfere with learning
effective inclusive supports such as “making sense,” “unconditional acceptance,” and “affiliation” strategies