Inclusion

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onAsperger's syndrome (AS) named after Hans Asperger (Young,2009), is often referred to as a high-functioning autism at the mild end of the Autistic Spectrum. (Prior, 2003). The diagnosis of AS is only made if three key types of behaviour are present; the child's social relationships and social development are abnormal. The child is failing to develop normal communication and the child's interest and activities are restricted and repetitive rather than flexible and imaginative. It is thought that people with autism display certain characteristics which fall into three categories: social impairment, restricted and repetitive behaviour and interests, and communication impairment. I noted that the Pupil's depth of knowledge in some aspects of science and in his History observation reflected this. He simply knew so much about specific things which really impressed me. (Appendix 1, Lesson Observation - History). During my first placement I chose to focus on a year 8 pupil,(Pupil A); who has a statement for Asperger's Syndrome. He was diagnosed with this at the end of 2011. I have observed him in a number of lessons which include Science, Maths, English and History where he has responded in a variety of different ways. There are many intervention ideas and strategies which I have noted through these observations and also through reading various literature. I believe that it is important to plan and deliver lessons which allow each and every pupil the opportunity to learn by having a sense of belonging and being part of the class. It is important that they should feel comfortable enough to be involved no matter what their diversity. Baron-Cohen (1993:63) argues that "among children with autism of normal intelligence, school subjects that do not require extensive social or communicative skills are often preferred as these subjects are learned more easily". From my observations I would argue this statement somewhat as I found that during Science lessons, Pupil A wanted to be the centre of attention and really enjoyed answering questions; coming up to the front and helping me with demonstrations, whereas, in his English lesson, he refused to take part at all. The main trigger of this behaviour seemed to be the sense of failure he felt for not getting the highest mark for his spelling test. He feels that to succeed he must be the best at everything or the winner. Therefore by answering questions or being part of the demonstration in the science lessons, he feels he is achieving. I think it is more to do with the content of the actual subject which the pupil finds interesting rather that the type of skill which might be required. To create an inclusive learning environment, it is vital that as a teacher there is routine and structure to my lessons. From the outset in the class, I set clear expectations and stated my routines; which I tried to keep consistent with the class teacher as much as possible to avoid any disruption. I think it also very important to make sure any instruction is very clear and concise so pupils know exactly what they should be doing. Powell (2000) states that children with AS need a predictable and ordered environment if they are to learn effectively. Teachers' behaviour is a significant aspect of this and teachers need to strive for the kind of consistency that avoids disruption to patterns of action and subsequent confusion for the pupil with autism. It is also very important to remain consistent and calm in your mood even when things don't go to plan which can often happen in a Science lesson. During the English lesson I observed, the teacher became extremely angry with certain pupils in the class, not Pupil A, but I could see that this seemed to change his whole mood and he seemed very unsettled after this had happened. It may be a coincidence but shortly afterwards he threw his pen and book across the desk and stopped joining in. There will be times when it won't matter how...
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