Asperger Syndrome
Rethinking the Glass House Rule
Dimitri Martin: Glass House Rule
Video clip
Complexity
• Perhaps student profiles and behaviors
are becoming more complex…
The Real Question…
• What is your professional and ethical
responsibility?
Understanding Asperger Syndrome
Research – Yale
Video clip
Understanding Asperger - Research
• Break in the brain
• Cannot figure it out
• Cognitive ability does not = social skill
development
• Not holding back on social skills
Activity: Conversation
without looking at the
person’s eyes
Aspergers – Seeking guidance from
someone who probably knows what to
do is usually not a first or even a second
thought. The student with Aspergers
might be sitting next to someone who
could obviously help but appears
blinkered and determined to solve the
problem by himself.
Atwood, 2007
Fat lady in the grocery store
Student with Aspergers remarks in his
usual tone of voice and volume, “That
lady is fat and needs to go on a diet”
The child’s opinion is that she should be
grateful for the observation and advice,
the likelihood that his mother will be
embarrassed or the woman would be
offended at such a rude comment is not
part of the thinking process.
Atwood, 2007
The Truth
Video clip
“People expect
cognition and social
functioning to be
equally developed.
When kids with
Asperger’s Syndrome
experience difficulty
they [public] wrongly
assume it is deliberate
misconduct.”
(A. Klin and F. Volkmar, 1997)
Progression of Etiological Theories
BRAIN research . . . Looking at brain differences
Limbic
System
Cerebrum
Corpus
Collosum
Amygdala
Cerebellum
Purkinje Neurons
Limbic System
Amygdala-Brain’s Fear Center
• November 22, 2006: Study (Davidson,
Univ. of Wisconsin) confirms reduced
size of amygdala in most socially
withdrawn individuals with ASD.
– Starts hyperactive and enlarged
– Shrinks over time (toxic adaptation) which
correlates with length of eye contact and
general fear of, withdrawal from, people.
Amygdala, Cont.
• Small amygdala: significantly slower in
identification of happy, angry, sad facial
expressions.
– Spent least amount of time looking at eyes relative
to other facial regions.
• Smallest amygdala: 40% longer to recognize
emotional expressions.
• Largest amygdala: looked at eyes 4 times
longer than smaller amydgalae.
Cerebrum (Cerebral Cortex)
Corpus Collosum
Neurons
• Mirror Neurons:
A study by UCLA neuroscientists (Dapretto et al)
featuring functional MRI suggests that
mirror neurons help people understand the
intentions of others –
a key component to social interaction.
Faulty?
Not cued into them?
• Cell-Adhesion Molecules: Help brain
cells connect
(Hakonarson, 2009, Center for Applied Genomics at Children’s
Hospital of Philadelphia)
Yawning Study
Current results suggest that contagious
yawning is impaired in ASD, which may
relate to their impairment in empathy. It
supports the claim that contagious
yawning is based on the capacity for
empathy.
Senju, et al, 2007
Cognitive Differences
• Cognitive development
typically ranges from average
to very superior IQ.
• Difficulties may include:
– Difficulty shifting attention
– Difficulty processing two
cognitive tasks simultaneously
– Generalizing information
– Retrieving information on
demand
– Developing problem-specific
solutions
– Difficulty with sense of time
RED BLUE BLACK YELLOW
PINK GREEN WHITE RED
PURPLE ORANGE BLUE
BROWN GRAY PINK GREEN
BLUE BLACK YELLOW RED
SOLUTION
PROBLEM
SOLUTION
SOLUTION
J.Janzen, Understanding the Nature of Autism
PROBLEM
SOLUTION
PROBLEM
PROBLEM
J.Janzen, Understanding the Nature of Autism
Attention
• Studies have suggested at least 75% of
children with Aspergers also have a profile
indicative of ADHD.
• Difficulty with four aspects of attention:
– Ability to sustain attention
– Attention to relevant information
– Shifting attention
– Storing/encoding information
(episodic vs. semantic memory)
Attwood, 2007
Executive Functioning
Research confirms that some children, but especially
adolescents and adults with AS, have impaired executive
functioning.
Elementary:
Difficulty with:
Middle School and older:
Additional difficulties with:
• Inhibition (age 8)
• working memory
• using new strategies
• organization and planning
• self-reflection and selfmonitoring (mental
conversations)
• time management and
prioritizing
• understanding abstract
concepts
• weak central coherence
Attwood, 2007
Things to think about
• One guy vs. “thousands/billions”
– Neurons
– Inefficient, slow retrieval
– Misfilings
• Shredder
– Can’t “forget” any information
– Can’t differentiate between important & non-important
information
• Microphone
– Isn’t used much (visual stronger than auditory)
– Uses the big computer screen
• Memory storage—no sound
• Power Cords
• Brain Bacteria
– Interferes with storage of information
• Different Levels of Storage
• Daydreaming (processing?)
Activity: Executive Functioning
OTTFFSS
Look Me in the Eye Clip (CD 6 – 09) –
•
•
•
•
Planning for human contact
Self-reflection
Self-monitoring
Understanding abstract concepts
– “Woof”
Because of the executive functioning
differences, social interaction
becomes a cognitive task
Cognitive Inflexibility
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Difficulty with change
Insistence on sameness
Rule-governed
Routines/rituals
Concrete thinking
Difficulty letting go of thought and ideas
Over-focus on details (weak central
coherence)
Create rigid rule structures to make
order in ambiguity
• Playing with toys for young children and
the child molester
• “NO LEFT TURNS!”
• Men go to bars and women are maids
• “Jocks”, “People that don’t make good
decisions” and “friends”
• Pass four red cars and it’s a good day
• Blue gel pen = good assignment
• Grocery Store Scenario
• Exchanging Christmas presents
How do you navigate cultural
expectations?
• Taarof (Iranian Politeness)
– How would you handle the picture
problem?
– What about the ice issue?
– Would you know what to do?
Cognitive Strengths
• Processing whole chunks of information
quickly
• Good rote memory
• Good long-term memory
• Process visual information meaningfully
• Understand and use context-free
information and rules
Learning Characteristics of ASD
Uneven skill development
Tends to resist change in learning environment
Difficulty generalizing skills/information
Difficulty with abstract concepts
Relies on cues and learned routines
May tend to function more reliably with consistency and
structure within activities and environments
Learning Characteristics of ASD
Organizational issues
Focus on unimportant information
Difficulties processing multiple sensory
input under certain conditions
Difficulty seeing the “big picture”
Over-selectivity
Good long-term and rote memory
Prefers sequences and routines
May demonstrate desirable persistence with a task if motivated
Tendency toward literalness – difficulty with multiple meaning word
By Cannon Clouse
“Numbers”
This American Life
Meet Jerry—Adult with Aspergers
My Response…
The most powerful idea that strikes
me after hearing this clip is…
3 things that I will accept in
students with Aspergers and no
longer try to change…
Theory of Mind
(ToM) means the ability to recognize and
understand thoughts, beliefs, desires and
intentions of other people in order to
make sense of their behaviour and predict
what they are going to do.
(Atwood, The Complete Guide to Aspergers Syndrome, 2007)
Developmental Trajectories
Experts on people
Normal
birth
ASD
Experts on things
Theory of Mind: Perspective
Taking and Reciprocity
• “Mind reading” ability is located in the
orbito-frontal cortex-superior temportal
sulcus-amygdala area of the brain.
• Winning/losing concept difficult
• Difficult to engage in manipulation
• Difficult to engage in lying
Maturation
The ability to understand the value of
deception and recognize when it might be
expected occurs later in the development of
the student with Aspergers, sometimes as
late as early teens.
This can cause confusion to parents and
teachers, as the previously honest, (perhaps
to a fault) child recognizes that one can
deceive people and avoid anticipated
consequences. However the type of
deception can be immature and the deceit
easily identified by an adult. Atwood, 2007
Travis and Lying
Travis is 18 Years Old
Drives and attends a typical high school
Driving to school his check engine light came on
Communicated in the best way he knew how
Did not get any response
Got a response…Is this Lying
Background Information
• Staff explained…they could not believe what
Travis said anymore…He was constantly lying.
• Used white board…invited Travis into the
meeting
• Put the word liar on the white board
• Travis said – “Everyone thinks I am a Liar”
• What was discovered by the facilitator and
staff?
Travis’s Explanation
Travis’s Take on Things
• “Telling the truth is not good enough for the
people”
• Translation – I need help and the staff does not
help me
• “The wrecker is better because my car blew up”
• Translation – Ms. Black responded to the
wrecker is coming because my car blew up but
did not respond to my check engine light
coming on
Time for a Change
• Most people with ASD will not wait until (the
typical population - staff) perceives or does not
perceive the situation as important as they do
• Most people with ASD are perceiving the
problem right in front of them(right or wrong) a
catastrophe
• Adults around students with ASD are saying
words like “relax”…”not a big deal”… “we’ll get to
that later” That does not work for this population.
• Students with ASD Want to - Solve the Problem
SOLUTION
PROBLEM
SOLUTION
SOLUTION
J.Janzen, Understanding the Nature of Autism
PROBLEM
SOLUTION
PROBLEM
PROBLEM
J.Janzen, Understanding the Nature of Autism
Maturation
• Lying and Asperger Syndrome
• Due to the impaired or delayed ToM abilities,
the person with Aspergers may not realize
that the other person is likely to be more
offended by the lie than by any apparent
misdemeanor
• He may consider that a lie can be a way of
avoiding consequences or a quick solution to
a social problem
• Maintaining self esteem should he have an
arrogant self image whereby the making of
mistakes is unthinkable. Atwood, 2007
Typical children, especially after the age of
five years, are remarkably astute at
perceiving and understanding social
cues that indicate thoughts and feelings.
(Michelle Garcia, 11-08)
• Parents nor educators teach these skills
• Parent and educators only notice when these
skills are not present
• The lack of these skills makes students and
adults uncomfortable
• Zero productive social skills curriculum
developed
It is as though their mind prioritizes social
cues above other information in their
environment and they have a mental theory
as to what the social cues mean and how
to respond. (Michelle Garcia, 11-08)
• Minds of typically developing students work
differently
• Lack of the prioritization of social skills
• Lack of a mental theory
• Eric example
• Resulting response? How does this manifest
in a student you know?
This ability dominates the perception of
typical people to such a degree that we
become anthropomorphic and project
human social behaviour on animals and
even objects.
(Michelle Garcia, 11-08)
• Anthropomorphic - Attribution of human
motivation, characteristics, or behavior
to inanimate objects, animals, or natural
phenomena.
• Factual or predictable information
dominates the Asperger’s Population
Applying Human Emotions to Inanimate
Objects – American Express
Video clip
Calvin and Hobbs
Social Attribution Task
S.A.T. Study – Aspergers
• Significant differences
• Typical
– Chasing, entrapping, and playing
– Frightened, elated or frustrated
• Aspergers: Different terms to explain
movement of shapes
–
–
–
–
Bouncing or oscillating vs. bravery or elation
Narratives – shorter with less elaborate plots
Fewer, more simplistic personality attributions
Focus on physical aspects of objects
Attribution Theory
• Every day we must guess how people will
act, often from small shreds of evidence.
• We do this through a form of social
cognition called attribution.
• As we observe others, we make
inferences about them. We attribute
people’s behavior to various causes.
• Whether we are right or wrong about the
causes of their behavior, our conclusions
affect how WE act.
Attribution
• In 2005, in the aftermath of hurricane
Katrina, many celebrities went to New
Orleans to help hurricane victims. As you
watched these events, did you:
Attribute the celebrities’ actions to selfless
concern for the suffering in New Orleans?
OR
Were the celebrities motivated by a selfish
desire to hog the limelight?
Attribution Theory
Two people enter a restaurant and order
different meals. Nell tastes her food,
then salts it. Bert salts his food before
he tastes it. How would you explain their
behavior?
Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior:
Twelfth Edition, 2010 Cengage Learning, Inc.
Fundamental Attribution Error
(It IS human nature!)
• Attribution Theory
• Erroneous cognitive tendency
• Over-value dispositional-based explanation for
behaviors of others
• Under-value potentiality of situational
explanations for behavioral motives of others
We predominantly presume that the actions of others are
indicative of the "kind" of person they are, rather than the
kind of situations that compel their behavior.
An attribution is an inference about why an
event occurred. More generally,
"attribution is a process that begins with
social perception, progresses through a
causal judgment and social inference, and
ends with behavioral consequences."
(Crittenden 1983)
Professional Responsibility
Path A
Path B
?
?
What do you attribute her behavior to?
Video clip
Attribution
• Going to have prejudices/attribution errors
• Lack of social skills – negates any viable
opportunities
• Oddity about social characteristics
• Physical appearance
• Perceived cognitive ability
• Are we going to be embarrassed?
• Is she going to embarrass herself?
• Make people uncomfortable
Susan Boyle
Video clip
What made you change what you
attribute her behavior to?
She Started Singing
Strengths Outweighed Public
Perception
Susan Boyle: Behavior Didn’t
Change
•
•
•
•
Walks off stage without results
Doesn’t understand she won by reactions
Wake up call
Shut down the cynicism in the audience
• We are going to make attributions and
attribution errors
Doesn’t Change Issues
•
•
•
•
Required Hospitalization
Continued Difficulty with Social Situations
Support Person – Britain’s Got Talent
Greater Societal Understanding –
Because of Talent
What would have happened to her without
discovery of her talent?
Continued sneers and judgment of her lack
of social understanding
Students with Aspergers
Have Strengths and Talents
How will we respond?
Will we give
them a chance
and overcome
our own
attribution errors?
Will we be
judgmental and
attribute their
behaviors to their
own control?
My Response…
I will stop expecting the Susan
Boyles of the world to prove
themselves first by…
Three things I will do when I am
faced with my own attribution
errors…three self-checks to
precorrect my own judgements…
Michigan Definition to Determine
Eligibility for ASD
• Qualitative Impairments in Reciprocal
Social Interactions: 2 of 4 areas
• Qualitative Impairments in
Communication: 1 of 4 areas
• Restricted, Repetitive and Stereotyped
Behaviors: 1 of 4 areas
What Do You Attribute the Student’s
Focus and/or Intensity of Interest Area To?
• Pick Student: To what to you attribute
focus and/or intensity of interest area?
• Worksheet
• Collin – Dinosaurs
Fundamental Attribution Error
Collin - Outcomes
Cut the projector screen and leaf on plant;
Pulled down his pants to show peers his underwear
Path A
Likely outcomes for Collin if his
behavior is attributed to Aspergers
and the situational context??
Path B
Likely outcomes for Collin if
my attribution is dispositional
based??
Fundamental Attribution Error
Collin - Outcomes
Cut the projector screen and leaf on plant;
Pulled down his pants to show peers his underwear
Path A
Showing Dinosaur
Dinosaur Scissors
Path B
Sexual Harassment
Property Destruction
An attribution is an inference about why an
event occurred. More generally,
"attribution is a process that begins with
social perception, progresses through a
causal judgment and social inference, and
ends with behavioral consequences"
(Crittenden 1983)
Intense Interests – Struggling with Life
Video clip
Focus and/or Intensity of Interest Area
The special interest has several functions:
a. To overcome anxiety
b. To provide pleasure
c. To provide relaxation
d. To ensure great predictability and
certainty in life
e. To help understand the physical world
f. To create an alternative world
g. To create a sense of identity
h. To occupy time, facilitate conversation
and indicate intellectual ability (Atwood, 2007)
Professional Responsibility
Student’s Focus and/or Intensity of Interest
Your Own Student
Path A
Path B
?
?
Michigan Definition to Determine
Eligibility for ASD
• Qualitative Impairments in Reciprocal
Social Interactions: 2 of 4 areas
• Qualitative Impairments in
Communication: 1 of 4 areas
• Restricted, Repetitive and Stereotyped
Behaviors: 1 or 4 areas
What Do You Attribute the Student’s
Communication Issues To?
• Pick Student: To what to you attribute
communication difficulties?
• Worksheet
• Jarod—Facial Hair
Fundamental Attribution Error
Jarod - Outcomes
Told the teacher he liked her moustache
Path A
Likely outcomes for Jarod if his
behavior is attributed to Aspergers
and the situational context??
Path B
Likely outcomes for Jarod if
my attribution is dispositional
based??
Fundamental Attribution Error
Jarod - Outcomes
Told the teacher he liked her moustache
Path A
•Intense questioning
about facial hair
•Question about female
teacher’s moustache
•Lack of understanding
Path B
•Making Fun of Teacher
•Disrespectful
•10 Days Suspension
An attribution is an inference about why an
event occurred. More generally,
"attribution is a process that begins with
social perception, progresses through a
causal judgment and social inference, and
ends with behavioral consequences"
(Crittenden 1983, p. 426).
Look Me in the Eye Communication
Pragmatic Language
(Social Communication)
• Pedantic, formal
– In this economy…
– Calculate my percentage…
– When in a rare conflict…
• Difficulty with relinquishing conversational turn-prompts
• Limited understanding of conversational partner
(interest, cues, topic appropriateness)
• Tone of voice (often perceived as disrespectful)
• Literal use of Language
Attribution Error of Communication
Mozart and the Whale – Breaking Records
Video clip
Ordering/ReOrdering
Secretaries Name
•
•
•
•
•
Baiba
Bunny
Bev
Blanche
June
• What is wrong with this place?
• Get a normal name
• At least they could all start with the same letter
Professional Responsibility
Student’s Communication
Your Own Student
Path A
Path B
?
?
Michigan Definition to Determine
Eligibility for ASD
• Qualitative Impairments in Reciprocal
Social Interactions: 2 of 4 areas
• Qualitative Impairments in Communication:
1 of 4 areas
• Restricted, Repetitive and Stereotyped
Behaviors: 1 or 4 areas
What Do You Attribute the Student’s
Social Skill Differences To?
• Pick Student: To what to you attribute
focus and/or intensity of interest area?
• Worksheet
• Jacob – Student attention
Fundamental Attribution Error
Jacob - Outcomes
Tickled peers on the back of the neck
Path A
Likely outcomes for Jacob if his
behavior is attributed to Aspergers
and the situational context??
Path B
Likely outcomes for Jacob if
my attribution is dispositional
based??
Fundamental Attribution Error
Jacob - Outcomes
Tickled peers on the back of the neck
Path A
Path B
•Desperately wanted to
•Interact with Kids
•Tickle Back of Necks
•Trying to Fit In
•Incompatible Response
•Tried Even Harder
•Targeting Students
•Aggressive Toward Peers
•Change of Classroom
•Feared by Others
•Threat of 10 Days
Suspension
An attribution is an inference about why an
event occurred. More generally,
"attribution is a process that begins with
social perception, progresses through a
causal judgment and social inference, and
ends with behavioral consequences"
(Crittenden 1983, p. 426).
Look Me in the Eye:
Social Reciprocity
We have a young man in our middle school who has autism (we actually
have many young people with autism....however this story just focuses on
one specific young man) and has been rather challenging so far this year.
Well, today he decided that he didn't want to participate in class.....after
losing all his tokens he was taken to "time-away". Of course, this didn't go
as planned and MK had to assist the parapro in moving him to his
designated timeout area. Once he was safely escorted to his timeaway...he served his "time", completed his compliance task and
immediately bolted for the bathroom. Of course, all the individuals working
with him at this time were female and thus could not enter the
bathroom.....so I was called. I entered the bathroom to find him just
standing there....really doing nothing. The moment I enter...he runs into
one of the stalls and attempts to slam the door shut. I quickly grab the
door and walk in. At this point....he backs himself into a corner and in his
deepest most convincing pirate voice....says "
"You'll never get anything out of me...you lousy no good scum-sucker".
I start laughing...tell him that is a great line and ask him what class he
needs to be in?
He says "room 104"
At this point, we walk out of the bathroom, I hand him over to his parapro
and they head down the hall to room 104. When they arrive...they walk
into Mrs. Redker's class as she is teaching sex ed. The young man hears
the topic......takes one look at his para and yells "I'm not ready for this"
and bolts out of the room!!!
Hey..Mr. Caine, do you think this is a "pragmatic" issue?
Gotta love our jobs! Hope each of you are having a great day!
Problems with Reciprocity (ToM)
•
•
•
•
Difficulty explaining own behaviors
Difficulty understanding emotions
Difficulty predicting how others feel or think
Problems understanding the perspectives of
others
• Problems inferring the intentions of others
• Failure to understand that behavior impacts
how others think and/or feel
• Problems with social conventions such as
turn-taking, politeness, and social space
Attribution Error of Social Reciprocity
Mozart and the Whale - McDonalds
Video clip
Reciprocity
• Use of nonverbals (eye gaze, gestures,
modulation of voice)
• Understanding emotions of self and
others
– “G Force”
– “I feel lonely when I’m lonely. How can I
describe it further?”
– Getting tissues for boys
• Shifting back to own topic (Anyways,
Guess what?)
At their core, they want to fit in
and have friends
• Try to orchestrate the relationship with
others
• Do what they want to do
• Others do not make sense
• Swearing/authority issues
• Vulnerable
• Isolating
• Social injustice
Big Bang Theory - Friendship
Video clip
Continuous Failure in…
•
•
•
•
•
Trying to follow the rules
Trying to get others to follow the rules
Trying to understand nuances
Generalizing information
Making friends
• Leads to behavior or worse
Struggling with Life – Birthday Party
Video clip
SOLUTION
PROBLEM
SOLUTION
SOLUTION
J.Janzen, Understanding the Nature of Autism
PROBLEM
SOLUTION
PROBLEM
PROBLEM
J.Janzen, Understanding the Nature of Autism
Maturation
• Lying and Asperger Syndrome
• Due to the impaired or delayed ToM abilities,
the person with Aspergers may not realize
that the other person is likely to be more
offended by the lie than by any apparent
misdemeanor
• He may consider that a lie can be a way of
avoiding consequences or a quick solution to
a social problem
• Maintaining self esteem should he have an
arrogant self image whereby the making of
mistakes is unthinkable. Atwood, 2007
Struggling with Life – Giving Up
Video clip
Professional Responsibility
Student’s Social Skills
Your Own Student
Path A
Path B
?
?
Reflection
Big Ideas
Thanks For Your Time!
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Asperger Syndrome: Rethinking the Glass House Rule