Posts Tagged ‘Self Awareness’
Understanding the Hidden Curriculum: An Essential Social Skill for Children and Youth with Asperger’s Syndrome
Understanding the Hidden Curriculum: An Essential Social
Skill for Children and Youth with Asperger’s Syndrome
Brenda Smith Myles and Richard Simpson
This article by Brenda Smith Myles and Richard Simpson, both professors of Special Education, provides a clear look at what was for me a new term: The Hidden Curriculum – the social skills “we are not taught directly but are expected to know.” (2001) The piece also contains a great summary of the diagnosis and traits of children with Asperger’s Syndrome, as well as citing very helpful examples and anecdotes that make clear the absolute complexity of understanding social interaction for kids with the disorder.
Writer and scientist Temple Grandin, who is herself an autistic person, has written a rule system for guiding social interaction and this is also included in the article. Her clear, open comments and perspectives on what she has learned that one can and cannot do in public and the consequences resulting from not heeding her advice affected me greatly.
The authors maintain that it is possible to teach the nuances of social interaction to children and teens with ASD, but that it must be done through a systematic, structured approach which is painstakingly described here. Also included is a very helpful chart with examples of “hidden curriculum” teaching points, such as, ‘You should not have to pay students to be your friends,’ and ‘When a teacher is scolding another student it is not an appropriate time to ask the teacher a question.’ (2001) The use of social stories to teach appropriate responses and understanding of social behavior is also recommended, as are “acting lessons,” which are referred to as “an appropriate means of teaching to aid in self awareness, self-calming and self-management.”
I found this article to be very helpful in illustrating for me just how complicated social interaction must seem to young people with ASD, and the accounts of how interaction works in ways we do not even think about if we are not disabled in this way gave me additional insights into this problem.