Asperger's Syndrome

A pupil with Asperger's Syndrome may appear to have acquired speech and language structure in a normal way, but they still show signs of autism and may have difficulty in their social use of the language.

Characteristics may include monotonous voice, exaggerated tone and talking at great length about topics which interest them. Pupils with Asperger's Syndrome may avoid eye contact and have obsessive repetitive routines and pre-occupations.

Difficulties in School

  • They may have difficulty comprehending instructions because of their literal interpretation and inability to understand that everyone includes them.
  • Their facial expression and body language may be inappropriate so that, for instance, when told off they may grimace or smile.
  • They often excel in facts and figures but find subjects which require abstract thinking difficult - eg. RE, literature etc.
  • They may be socially clumsy and unaware of others' feelings and unable to empathise with others views. They have difficulty giving and taking in conversation and playing with other children may prove a particular difficulty.
  • They can be naive and gullible and are often perceived as odd or pompous by their peers. They can therefore become vulnerable to bullying, being set up etc. In order to compensate, they may seek out the company of adults with whom they feel safe.
  • As a result of their difficulty in understanding social relationships, they may become aggressive and lash out.
  • They may be physically awkward and have difficulty with PE.


  • Prepare for changes well in advance. They may be upset, for example, at having a supply teacher and other alterations to their timetable or routine. Have a contingency plan - eg. a buddy or place them with familiar teachers.
  • Use role-play and behaviour rehearsal to act out change scenarios and appropriate behaviour.
  • Utilise their skills, for example, their ability to remember by rote or their specific interests, to enhance self esteem.
  • Do not raise your voice at them, as it increases their anxiety.
  • Modify facial expressions and body language - eg. don't get too close or use gestures they may be unable to interpret.
  • Keep instructions precise - eg. "We're going outside now" not "Shall we go outside?" If the child asks a question, don't give vague answers like "maybe" or "perhaps".
  • Use visual lists - eg. a daily timetable.
  • Allow them to sit where they feel comfortable - eg. at the end of the row in Assembly. Provide a timeout space for when they need it.
  • Apply rules consistently, changes are stressful.
  • Make sure that all staff are aware of the approach, this should include lunchtime supervisors and supply staff.
  • Use computers, they are not demanding in the way that people are.
  • Try to identify the triggers of their stress by discussion with them.