Supporting Students with Asperger s s Syndrome

Supporting Students with Asperger’s Syndrome Workshop Plan: 1. A quick overview of Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) 2. How we got involved in supporting stude...
2 downloads 3 Views 128KB Size
Supporting Students with Asperger’s Syndrome Workshop Plan: 1. A quick overview of Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) 2. How we got involved in supporting students with AS 3. Some of our thoughts on effective student support 4. Some typical scenarios to get you thinking! Alan McCall 

Mark Hughes

School of Physics,   Astronomy & Mathematics

School of Physics & Astronomy

Acknowledgements:  Victoria Milne  & Sylvia Pepper

What is Asperger’s Syndrome ? • Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is a lifelong condition on the autistic spectrum that affects ~0.1% of the population (1~4% of Physics undergraduates) • It is characterised by difficulties with flexibility of thought, social interaction and communication. • People with AS may become very focused on an activity that they enjoy. This can lead to significant productivity if the activity is related to their work. • People with AS may find it difficult to empathise or to know what others are thinking, finding other people unpredictable and confusing.

The Support Strategy at the University of Hertfordshire Named Academic Contact in School A focus for lecturers, admin and tech staff

Mentor •Domestic & Social issues •Organisation

Disability Coordinator •Study needs agreement •Exam arrangements

Specialist Support •Written Communication •Mind mapping

Typical Academic Scenarios

Scenario 1: The student who appears to be rude One morning, Greg and his good friend are queuing for a coffee together at the café. It is Greg’s turn to be served, but before asking for his drink he bellows ‘My gosh you look absolutely terrible!’ to the lady behind the counter who looks very tired (and now very annoyed!) .

Typical Academic Scenarios

Scenario 1: The student who appears to be rude Once they had both got their coffees, Greg’s friend agreed that the lady looked tired, but explained that his comment had probably embarrassed her and would have come across as being rude. Greg appreciated his friend’s honesty.

Typical Academic Scenarios

Scenario 2: The student who never comes to ask for help Alex is an intelligent, motivated and punctual student but she has failed to submit a major piece of coursework which has caused her to fail a module. This is puzzling her lecturers as she has already passed the exam component of the module so her subject knowledge does not seem to be the problem...

Typical Academic Scenarios

Scenario 2: The student who never comes to ask for help It was discovered that Alex had experienced a ‘mind block’ which she could not overcome and therefore missed the deadline. An extension was granted and Alex’s study skills tutor was informed. Together they worked on strategies to overcome ‘mind blocks’. Alex was reminded that as soon as situations like this arose, she should inform the relevant lecturer and/or her study skills tutor so that the problem could be addressed well before the deadline.

Typical Academic Scenarios

Scenario 3: The student who comes to ask for help too often Justin was is a successful student who suffers from great anxiety when doing coursework. He often comes to a ‘dead end’ when working independently and frequently goes to see his lecturers for help. As the semester progresses, Justin is appearing at the lecturer’s office more frequently, sometimes more than once a day…

Typical Academic Scenarios

Scenario 3: The student who comes to ask for help too often The lecturer sensitively explained to the student that he was asking for help too often. Together, they decided that Justin could come to ask for help a maximum of twice a week and could send 3 emails a week to ask simple questions. He also emphasised the importance of independent study at university. Once these ‘rules’ had been put in place, Justin began to work more independently and when he contacted the lecturer, it was about serious matters.

Typical Academic Scenarios

Scenario 4: The student who disrupts the class Sam is regularly disruptive in lectures. Every time the lecturer asks the class a question, Sam gives a lengthy answer that is often stunningly irrelevant. Wishing to move on with the topic, the lecturer tries to politely thank Sam for his contribution in an attempt to quieten him down. This indirect approach is failing miserably as Sam ploughs on regardless. His class mates, having been sympathetic to begin with, are now becaming frustrated and began to complain...

Typical Academic Scenarios

Scenario 4: The student who disrupts the class The lecturer contacted Sam’s mentor who discussed appropriate class room behaviour with him and then sat in on a few lectures to observe and give Sam reminders when necessary.

General Discussion Items from Case Studies General discussion items from case studies •Have others met similar situations to the case studies? •Would they suggest different approaches? •Should student mentors/buddies be an integral part of the support  network? •What responsibility does a university have beyond developing  subject expertise? •To what extent should parents be part of the support network? •How do we avoid support being a crutch which is kicked away on  graduation? •Can AS students be expected to progress beyond MSc level? •How much support should a student (or a parent) expect of a  University? •How best do we enhance communication skills in students with AS?

Summary Comments

•Plan in advance so students are prepared for change and for key  stages of assessment. •Have good communication within the support team. •Inform all academic and technical staff about study agreements. •Maintain good communication with the student (monitor  attendance, progress, wellbeing). •Make sure that changes to academic routines get communicated. •In group work make sure that specific roles are assigned. •Show appropriate flexibility in the various forms of assessment 

Suggest Documents