TEACHING TOUGH KIDS
A personal focus on Asperger syndrome
"Our work with these kids needs to begin 'in the understanding' of their natural functioning. For them their personality, their drives and core processing differences define who they are. Here lies our starting point."
Based on TEACHING TOUGH KIDS, winner of the UK's international NASEN awards in the category - 'Best Book to Promote Professional Development' (2011). It was judged as humane, innovative, practical and inspiring.
A half-day presentation - can be adapted
To have Mark present to your school or organisation email or phone
A download link to a PowerPoint file is coming.
This workshop links current research to best practice for all educators in schools. The aim is to understand what causes Asperger syndrome, what drives the set of interesting traits, and how best to deal with the tricky emotion and behaviour that often go with it. Clearly, managing these kids (and their parents) can be very tricky. Over 10,000 Australian children aged between 6 and 12 years are currently identified with ASD (1 in 120 children). Here in South Australia we are seeing about 45 children per month being identified with this syndrome and most enter mainstream schools. There's no hiding!
I believe that to make any real difference with these kids we have to understand their 'natural functioning'. Our work needs to begin 'in the understanding' of their personality, their drives and core processing differences. This defines who they are and is our starting point.
Together, let's develop a range of practical and therapeutic ideas to enhance the life chances of all students, especially those with Asperger syndrome. Ideas to talk about with kids, ways to exchange thoughts, make plans and set goals. Ideas to assist with organisation, promote self-esteem and friendship development, deliver thoughtful feedback, create change, celebrate achievement and show care.
"I can't really tell you when I got it or how Asperger syndrome feels because it's the way I am. If I had to say one thing about it I'd say it's confusing, but I couldn't have told you that when I was younger. No one can see Asperger syndrome and that's part of the problem. In some ways I'm the same as anyone else, but in other ways I know it makes me different. In class when the teacher writes page 57 on the board everyone else seems to know what to do. For me it's not obvious. Once I stop worrying and work it out everyone else has almost finished and that's so annoying. I suppose I've had to learn another language, your language. The language I do understand is computers. They don't fight me, they're not mean to me, they do exactly what I tell them to do and they are organised the way my brain is. They are almost like a best friend to people with Asperger syndrome and that's why I like them so much."
Dylan, 14 years
Some of these students may very well drive us mad, but they are the kids who compel us to confront whether what we do in schools is truly helpful. They can take us to the outer limits of our patience, persistence and endurance - and in the process - prompt our personal and professional growth. They teach us about more than know; they teach us about the depth of human spirit and about connectedness.