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Students with Asperger


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Title: Students with Asperger

Students with Aspergers Syndrome Participating
in Group Work
  • Rich Exchanges
  • 21st July
  • Olivia Sismey and Stephanie Brewster

Numbers of students with AS in HE
of students with AS/ASD in each faculty in Uni
of Wolverhampton
Aspergers syndrome can result in
  • Difficulties in
  • Social communication and interaction
  • Restricted behaviour and interests
  • Sensory sensitivities
  • Planning/prioritising
  • Often co-occurs with mental health conditions
    e.g. anxiety

Benefits of group work
  • Can be used for both teaching/learning and
  • Responds to diverse learning preferences
  • Development of subject knowledge
  • Employability
  • Transferrable skills
  • Encourages autonomy and commitment
  • Can be problematic for any student, but presents
    particular challenges for those with AS

Challenges for students with AS
  • Admission into university use of interviews and
    group work
  • Confidence physical presence in groups, busy
    places, with strangers
  • Communication knowing what is appropriate may
    speak too much or not at all, or appear
    disengaged from the rest of the group
  • Speaking when around strong personalities
  • Group work within lectures without prior warning.

Challenges for students with AS
  • The need for organisation, structure and time
    management other students may not follow along
    with it
  • Stress from new situations especially if others
    in group dont know they have AS
  • Lecturers implied expectations the hidden
  • Not fully understanding the task

Strengths of students with AS
  • Using written media/electronic communication
  • Attention to detail (e.g. Harvard referencing!)
  • Following structure, meeting grading criteria
  • Looking at things from a different angle
  • Highly gifted in some specific areas
  • May be good at organising other students
  • Deep study and in-depth knowledge especially if
    it is a subject of interest
  • Honesty - often bad at lying (can be a challenge
  • Tendency to be logical so task may get done more
  • Tendency for perfectionism (can also be a

Benefits of group work for students with AS
  • Gives students with AS the same opportunities to
    participate in and benefit from learning through
    groups Subject knowledge, transferable skills
  • Helps build peer relationships
  • Expansion of ideas (some students with AS have a
    very narrow focus)
  • Development of flexibility
  • Allows other students to have greater awareness
    of differences

Strategies to try
  • Allow time for development of skills
  • Consider preferences for blended learning,
    classroom layout/size, choice of group members
    (personalities familiarity) and group size.
  • Get to know the students strengths and
    difficulties. Dont presume...
  • Provide independent study options
  • Give clear instructions on task.
  • Brain in hand app to help with situations - new
  • Sensory room calm down if stressed

Brain in Hand App
References and further reading
  • Centre for Accessible Resources (2015) Working
    with student who may have Autism or Aspergers
    online.Accessed 15 June. Available at
  • Disability Resource centre (2012) Asperger's
    Syndrome in the Classroom online.Accessed 15
    June. Available at lthttp//
    room 31642.pdfgt.
  • Hughes, M., Milne, V., McCall, A, and Pepper, S.
    (2010) Supporting Students with Aspergers
    Syndrome. HEA and UK Physical Sciences Centre
  • Madriaga, M and Goodley, D (2010) Moving beyond
    the minimum socially just pedagogies and
    Aspergers syndrome in UK higher education.
    International Journal of Inclusive Education Vol.
    14, No. 2, p115131
  • National Autistic Society http//
  • A Quick Guide for Supporting Students with
    Aspergers Syndrome Lecturers / Personal Tutors
  • Smith, C, P. (2007) Support Services for Students
    with Asperger's Syndrome in Higher Education.
    College Student Journal, 41(3), pp.515-531
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