For school professionals, it’s critical to understand the issues students with Asperger's Syndrome, NLD and related challenges bring to the classroom. These students are verbal and and often bright, so their challenges can be confusing and can be thought to reflect a negative attitude or lack of effort.
As students get older, their concrete thinking and over-focus on detail become increasingly problematic because the curriculum that is no long just based on facts. They often miss the main ideas and most salient points in their reading or writing, and many resist writing. Without a guide for organizing ideas, they tend to try to memorize everything. They require step by step structure in assignments and fail to understand inferred or ambiguous information. They can make comments or produce work that seems off topic. Assignments that ask the student to make critical comparisons, break down larger themes or grasp the motivations of characters can be very difficult. Most importantly, they don’t know when they’ve missed the point, so they don't’ know when to ask questions. Poor social understanding of situations and appreciation of social rules can result in behavior that seems oppositional or rude. They often misinterpret the behavior of other students and teachers and seemingly overreact to minor issues.
Like everyone else, these students need to feel respected and understood. All of these problems can be addressed by understanding these issues, which makes it possible to develop concrete, step-by-step strategies and feedback.