Autism Spectrum Disorder / Asperger's Syndrome

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Asperger’s syndrome are neurological disorders that are characterized by having difficulties in social communication and interaction, having a set interest in a particular area, and by repetitive behaviors and routines. Asperger’s syndrome is now considered a category under the ASD. The term spectrum refers to one's range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment. Individuals with autism may have an average overall intelligence with increased skills or talents in a certain area.

Characteristics of individuals with ASD may include: difficulty initiating/maintaining social interactions and relationships, a sense of discomfort related to participating in activities or in the classroom, poor eye contact, repetitive behaviors, sensitivity to light(s), sound(s), touch, and/or scent(s), and increased interest in a particular area.

Considerations and instructional strategies:
  • Include the approved disability accommodation statement in the course syllabus. Invite students to contact you if they need disability-related accommodations.
  • Provide clear and concise instructions.
  • Provide an outline for each class session including important takeaways.
  • Allow time for clarification of essential information and/or directions.
  • Incorporate visual aids and multiple teaching methods.
  • Break large amounts of information or instructions into smaller segments. Review previous lessons and summarize periodically.
  • When in doubt about how best to assist your student, ask them. Remember that confidentiality is important; therefore, it is best to have the conversation in private (e.g., during your office hours).
Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
  • Priority seating
  • A written supplement to oral instructions, assignments, due dates and other directions
  • Note-taking assistance
  • Permission to use tape recorders and/or laptop computers for note-taking
  • Test accommodations may include: extended time and a reduced-distraction testing environment