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"... the most important considerations in devising educational programs for children with autistic spectrum disorders have to do with recognition of the autism spectrum as a whole, with the concomitant implications for social, communicative, and behavioral development and learning, and with the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child across areas of development."
—Educating Children with Autism2001

Intervention Strategies by Susan Stokes

Difficulty Representing Language Internally

Children with Asperger’s Syndrome can “blurt out” their thoughts as statements of factual information, resulting in an appearance of insensitivity and lack of tact. However these children typically do not understand that some thoughts and ideas can and should be represented internally, and thus should not be spoken aloud. Therefore, whatever they think, they tend to say aloud.
Example 1: “Mrs. Jones why are you wearing that dress? It looks just like a bathrobe.”
Example 2: “This is boring. Don't’ you think this is boring, Ryan?”

Typically developing children can internalize thoughts by the time they are five to six years old (2). This aspect of language should show improvement as the child learns how to take the perspective of others. This perspective-taking ability is sometimes referred to being able to “mind-read” or developing “Theory of Mind”.

Representing Language Internally Intervention Strategies
Initially, encourage the child to whisper, rather than speak his thoughts aloud. Next, encourage him to “think it-don’t say it” (1).

Role playing, audio/video taping and social scripting can all be used to teach the child how to initially identify what “thoughts” should be represented internally, versus aloud. Role playing will allow the child to practice this skill.

Reprinted from "Children with Asperger's Syndrome: Characteristics/Learning Styles and Intervention Strategies" by Susan Stokes, Autism Consultant for the Cooperative Educational Service Agency #7, Wisconsin State Department of Special Education. 

    Improving the educational experiences and outcomes of students on the autism spectrum in grades K-12

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