It is now well known that Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of Autism. It is not as well known that teaching students with Asperger’s Syndrome requires unique and extraordinary teaching skills. People with this syndrome tend to be intelligent, especially academically, but have difficulty with the social aspects of life.
The words “social aspects of life” sound almost trivial to some people, however, the social aspects of life are monumental in terms of contribution to the quality of a person’s living, loving, working, relationships, and, well, life as a whole. In order to prepare the Asperger’s student for life as a whole, it is imperative that the child’s school is a good fit school for the challenges of the Asperger’s student.
For the parents, anxiety begins the moment they realize that the current school is not helping their child. Immediately the search is on for a satisfactory school that is functionally, geographically and financially viable for their situation. If the search becomes extended, they will feel more and more desperate. Unfortunately this places them in a vulnerable position.
Before beginning the search, it is important that parents realize that not all schools are in the business for the good of the child. Many schools are in the business primarily because it is a lucrative market. The naïve and already vulnerable parent can be caught unaware, falling for a good spiel, and therefore put their child in a most unpleasant situation. The words “buyer beware” cannot be forgotten when searching for a school.
Parents must do their due diligence. In the course of maintaining business, schools become polished in portraying themselves favorably to their target demographic, making it more difficult for parents to determine if the school is what is professes to be.
The initial search can begin on the Internet, using search engines to develop a list of potential schools that are geographically feasible and that profess the ability to help Asperger’s Syndrome students, temporarily setting aside the temptation to compare cost. Parents will want to study the website of each potential school before making an appointment for an interview and tour, bearing in mind that this is only a starting place.
Prior to the appointment, the parents should prepare a list. First, they should write down everything that they would like to know. Then, on another sheet of paper, they should develop questions that will give insightful answers. For example: Instead of asking, “What is your stand on bullies?” parents should ask questions like, “What do you consider bullying?”
People with Asperger’s have difficulty finding appropriate words in any social situation, and it is especially so if they are a target of teasing. Therefore, it is imperative that the school recognizes that this is a form of bullying. Questions should push for specific answers, refusing to accept generalities as in “we don’t tolerate bullies.” How will the school protect the Asperger’s student from verbal bullies? Parents should present hypothetical situations and ask what the school would do.