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Despoina Felekidou

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Asperger's syndrome

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Despoina Felekidou

  1. 1. Asperger’s syndrome and second language acquisition; how can we manage student’s better acquisition of a foreign language and their integration in a typical Greek school- class?
  2. 2. Asperger’s syndrome It’s an autistic spectrum disorder Difficulties in social interaction and non verbal communication Relative preservation of cognitive and linguistic development After DSM-5 in 2013, Asperger’s diagnosis was eliminated and replaced by a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder on a severity scale
  3. 3. The Greek educational system The need of special education was officially acknowledged in 1985. Schools work under the most current law that was passed in 2008. According to this law, students who cannot be incorporated in a typical class of the ‘normal’ Greek school, attend classes at ‘special’ schools.
  4. 4. Recent tries to integrate specific groups of those students to ‘normal’ schools have been –in general- successful. These tries are based on a system of under-cover parallel support by a second teacher in the same class. However, due to lack of money and teachers, under-cover parallel support is only for the basic subjects and not for the subject of a second language.
  5. 5. In order to achieve the integration of students with Asperger’s in the second language classes we should bare in mind both the needs of the students and of the Greek state/educational system. Adopting specific teaching approaches/methods in language classes can be the solution to the problem.
  6. 6. Communicative language teaching approach Focus on the development of the student’s communicative skills and not only on a strict teaching of the target language’s structures. So, it emphasizes both on the structural and functional aspects of the language. Its main characteristics differentiate it from previous language teaching methods.
  7. 7. Multiple Intelligences The method is based on Gardner’s ideas that there are multiple intelligences on human beings. The intelligences are eight; linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist. It is a philosophy that makes each student the center of attention.
  8. 8. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) In CLIL, students are taught a school subject like Mathematics or Science on the target language and not on their mother tongue. It would be ideal for language learning for students with Asperger’s syndrome because it promotes bilingualism. Though, the Greek state cannot probably adopt a method like this in schools right now, as it requires second language proficiency by the vast majority of teachers.
  9. 9. All in all… Students with Asperger’s syndrome can acquire a foreign language with the help of their teachers. Communicative language teaching combined with the method of Multiple Intelligences would help to achieve language learning and at the same time achieve the integration of the student in today’s typical Greek class. (vital to be changed is the attitude of the teachers –self-improvement is the first step).

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