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Asperger's Syndrome

Teaching students with Asperger's Syndrome

Asperger's Syndrome is a neurological condition that has seven defining characteristics:

  • Insistence of sameness.
  • Impairment in social interaction.
  • Restricted range of interests.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Poor motor condition.
  • Academic difficulties.
  • Emotional vulnerabilities.




Insistence of sameness

Changing the classroom or class format may cause confusion for the student with disorder.

Impairment in social interaction

Inability to pick up on social cues. May not understand jokes or metaphors. May exhibit literal interpretation of communication from others. Challenged with social communication, such as small talk. Group work and presentations may cause anxiety. May speak very bluntly which may be interpreted as being unaware of other’s feelings.

Restricted range of interests

May ask repetitive questions about interests. Has trouble letting go of ideas and may spend too much time on one task.

Poor concentration

Easily distracted by external or internal stimuli. Heightened reaction to sensory stimuli.

Poor motor co-ordination

Appear awkward and clumsy. Have trouble taking notes, typing or navigating a computer mouse.

Academic difficulties

Have average to above average intelligence, especially in the verbal sphere. There is a tendency to think in concrete terms. Abstract thinking is more difficult. Tendency to have excellent memory skills. Likely to have impressive verbal skills which may not match comprehension skills.

Emotional vulnerability

Difficulty identifying (labelling and understanding) varied emotional states, both in themselves and in others. Easily overwhelmed when things do not go as planned. Prone to depression.


How can the Student Accessibility Services (SAS) staff provide support?

  • Orientation to campus and services.
  • Assistance with meeting faculty prior to start of course work.
  • Textbook in alternative format and screen reading software.
  • Support from learning strategist: Strategies for time management and organization.
  • Organizational software for essay based course work.
  • Tutoring.
  • Ongoing advocacy and support related to issues and challenges.
  • Testing accommodations: Quiet place to take the test, clarification of test question, scribe and allow for breaks when overwhelmed from stimuli.
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