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RE: [ICTs in English] Re: Teaching students with Asperger syndrome or autism

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  • From: "SARA, Debra" <dsara1 AT>
  • To: ictenglish AT
  • Subject: RE: [ICTs in English] Re: Teaching students with Asperger syndrome or autism
  • Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 08:16:58 +1000


I’ll check it out




Deb Sara

BSDE Teacher English 7- 10

Brisbane School of Distance Education (BSDE)

07 37272617

dsara1 AT

Description: bsde-logo-small (3)



From: ictenglish-request AT [mailto:ictenglish-request AT] On Behalf Of Kim Cohen
Sent: Tuesday, 19 March 2013 2:34 PM
To: ictenglish AT
Subject: Re: [ICTs in English] Re: Teaching students with Asperger syndrome or autism


What about the film ‘Mary and Max’. It has a sympathetic portrayal of Aspergers and the character Max says that he likes being an Aspie.


Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 12:06 PM

Subject: RE: [ICTs in English] Re: Teaching students with Asperger syndrome or autism


Thanks to those you responded re aspergers.

Very helpful.

Appreciate it.



Deb Sara

BSDE Teacher English 7- 10

Brisbane School of Distance Education (BSDE)

07 37272617

dsara1 AT


Description: bsde-logo-small (3)



From: ictenglish-request AT [mailto:ictenglish-request AT] On Behalf Of Malcolm Law
Sent: Monday, 18 March 2013 6:46 PM
To: ictenglish AT
Subject: [ICTs in English] Re: Teaching students with Asperger syndrome or autism


Yes, this is an English rather than ICT subject but many students with a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome also like ICT!

As the parent of a boy with classic autism, I've had the advantage of being able to take some training in teaching ASD students  and been in rooms with more children with a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome than I could ever be comfortable with again.  Also working at Te Kura, I've seen wonderful creative writing from a boy with an Asperger diagnosis, which is counter intuitive.  My view is that students with the syndrome have some common characteristics allowing a clinical psychologist to make a diagnosis, but  they are otherwise as diverse as the rest of the population.  Autism, moreover, is a spectrum disorder, that is the degree of disability varies from person to person.  Kanner Syndrome, or classic autism, is a diagnosis of profound intellectual disability while Asperger Syndrome, as Tony Attwood likes to point out, is a diagnosis which could be applied to most University professors!

I agree with Louise about the problem teaching The Curious Incident to such students.  I would add that Mark Haddon told the National Autism Society in the UK that he was not describing Asperger Syndrome. He could have fooled me!  From what I read, the year I marked Extended Text in NCEA, I'm less concerned about stereotyping Aspies and more concerned that Aspies are being patronised. (Aspies reject the idea that they have a disability.  They see themselves as differently abled.)

There is a book about teaching ASD students, published by The Cloud Nine Foundation.  I can't remember the author at the moment.  I only recall that The Cloud Nine Foundation donated a copy to every school in New Zealand except Te Kura, the school which ends up teaching a lot of ASD students! I think you're in Australia, Deb, but Cloud Nine Productions moved to Brisbane about ten years ago and Tony Attwood, the leading expert in ASD treatment, lives in Brisbane as well, so you may be able to catch one of his courses.

Malcolm Law

On 17/03/2013 12:52 p.m., Debra Sara wrote:

Dear All


This is more an English post than an ICT post. I am teaching year 10 English and am struggling to accommodate students who have autism or aspergers when the assessment criteria for Assessment Tasks require students to identify values, social, moral  point of view of narrator, author , characters etc. Students with Autism or asperges seem only to be aware or their own point of view - more or less. I think (?)

I need to do some training in the area but wondered whether any of you had any advice re this, at this stage.

Would studying a class novel  such as "The curious incident of the dog in the night time" be helpful  since the main character has aspergers? Or am I stereotyping these students? Is there so much diversity in the group that no one novel would align with the group's views and values? I suspect so. I think this novel is written pretty much without connectives and complex sentences from memory. This is away of avoiding connectives which show conditionality, concessionality etc which at least one of my students struggles to show or to even see.


Any thoughts?




On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 1:35 PM, Hamish Chalmers <hchalmers AT> wrote:

A really interesting post from Karen Melhuish over on the VLN got me thinking this week about how technology is reshaping our observation and collection of our students’ evidence of learning. Karen was particularly interested in how mobile technology is providing easier ways to capture thoughts and observations of the things around us. She points out how technology can also be used just as easily for collecting data and observations during authentic learning moments in class.

This made a lot of sense to me. In the flow of teaching, it’s important that we’re giving feedback to students to enable them to develop next steps. We often do this through summative assessment but may find that we’re a little limited by how much time we have divided by the number of students we’re teaching and the need to give face to face assistance, whether we’ve given some other kind of feedback or not. The ways of using technology Karen is suggesting has some rather interesting implications for how we give feedback, what this means for the more formalised form of feedback (summative assessment) and the ratio between the two.

I don’t know about all of you but traditionally I’ve put quite a whack of time into constructing summative assessments to give students feedback on where to go next. While really rate combining this with more ‘on the spot’ feedback (usually verbal) I haven’t really considered how technology can be used to make this short-term feedback much more regular and useful for students. Imagine us and our learners using technology to video or record (in writing or verbally) some evidence of learning and then the following reflection. If we built these as technology ‘habits’ with a class, both us and the students could have a larger collection of evidence to look back on at a later date and consider whether the attached feedback had helped, how it impacted them and again, the next steps from there. This would be pretty awesome for student motivation from seeing their learning developing too.

Research in recent years has highlighted again and again the need for ongoing communication with parents and whanau. Phone calls can be difficult to get right though, both in terms of timing and specificity. We’re having to describe things we’ve seen and this can often get so far removed from students’ actual learning artefacts that the usefulness for the students can be lost. Imagine sharing some evidence of learning (say a video of a student practicing a presentation) and the students’ subsequent reflection and perhaps even some feedback from other students and us in the form of comments. This could be in whichever form of social media the student decided to upload their artefact to. Helping the less tech-savy parents to see the benefits of this might take some time - only one lot of parents out of my tutor group of sixteen responded to a recent offer of sharing a google doc I’m using to track each students learning progress. The possibilities are massive and if we can get the students in the habit of doing the uploading and storing themselves, our time is freed up for what we’re good at - giving good feedback and next-steps.

Building skills and habits around these kinds of approaches can take time though and the benefits might not show straight away. It might also pay to create some accessible tutorials to throw at the students after the usual bombard of questions after introducing a new ICT or activity in class. But there’s still time to start these things! It’s only half way through term one! Assuming we’re not all completely exhausted of course.

Hamish Chalmers
Facilitator: ICTs in English


Malcolm Law

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