Dr. Julie Mosier is a licensed clinical psychologist and a licensed specialist in school psychology. She received her Bachelor's degree in psychology from Brigham Young University, her Master's degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Utah, and her Ph. D. in Clinical Psychology from Brigham Young UniversityRead More ...
At the Family Psychology Clinic of Kingwood, we believe in the potential of every individual. Our staff of licensed Clinical Psychologists offer a range of services aimed at helping the child, adolescent, or adult to discover, understand, and overcome the obstacles which prevent the individual from realizing their fullest potential. The services offered by our licensed Clinical Psychologists include: comprehensive psychological assessment, diagnosis, and psychotherapy. Our psychologists are experienced in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults in individual, family, and group therapy settings.
Our clinicians are trained and experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of learning disorders, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, pervasive developmental disorders (such as autism and Asperger’s Syndrome), behavior disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, adjustment, eating disorders, sleep disorders, and relationship and family issues.
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School Implications of Asperger’s Syndrome
What It Is
Asperger’s Syndrome is a neurological disorder that, like others on the autistic spectrum, is marked by difficulties in communication and social interaction.
How it’s similar to classic autism
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, children with Asperger’s Syndrome find it difficult to identify and express their feelings, just like those with classic autism. They find it challenging, even impossible, to connect with others, often don’t hold eye contact and have trouble reading other people’s faces and gestures. Many kids flap their hands, a behavior often associated with classic autism; speak without much emotion (or have otherwise unusual speech patterns); need to follow schedules rigidly or else the world feels out of control, and are intensely, even obsessively, interested in one specific subject, so much that they become veritable experts in that field. They also exhibit sensitivities to various stimuli, from sounds to clothing to food items.
How diagnosis differs
Compared with classic autism, children with Asperger’s Syndrome usually don’t show any signs of major cognitive difficulties — their IQ falls in the normal or even superior range—and they exhibit few, if any, delays in speaking. They also generally hit most of their milestones within reasonable time periods. Because of this, some describe children with this condition as “high-functioning” or as having a “mild” form of autism, at least compared to others on the spectrum. To many, they may seem just like other children but not quite — socially awkward in a manner that’s not easily understood.
This explains why healthcare providers may miss seeing it in their young patients, or may misdiagnose it completely. Or why some parents don’t seek help until much later than those whose kids display a more profound or more obvious set of symptoms.
Although children with AS have average or well above to superior level cognitive functioning, intelligence by itself is not enough to succeed in school. Children with AS have particular difficulty with the school setting. They typically require accommodations in the form of teaching style, behavior support, and social supports. Curriculum modifications are sometimes necessary. There is no one method or recipe which works with all students with AS, so adults must be flexible and creative.
1.Social supports and social skills development need to be an ongoing part of educational planning. Children with AS are frequently targets for bullies, and some degree of protection is mandatory, especially in secondary school. Preparation of neuro-typical peers to help them understand handicapped children’s abilities and disabilities often facilitates more acceptance, and give the child with AS better behavior models.
2.Classes need a high degree of structure, with a consistent routine and a positive approach to behavior.
3.Academic difficulty can have many causes:
a.The subject is not in an area of interest, and the child does not do the work required to learn the material.
b.The child is trying, but does not understand what the teacher wants
c.He may know the facts, but fails to understand the concepts surrounding the facts.
d.He may have difficulty with the higher level reasoning required in secondary school.
e.He may have an untreated attention disorder.
f.He may have a secondary emotional disorder, like anxiety or depression which interferes with learning.
4.Asperger Syndrome does not prevent an individual from having emotional disorders. Anxiety is very common, and makes all of the problems associated with AS worse. Depression is also fairly common during adolescence. This aggravates the social disorder and may eliminate motivation to work in subjects of low interest. Both anxiety and depression may result in increased irritability, lower frustration tolerance, and increased “meltdowns.”
5.Educational placement requires innovation and flexibility. The intellectual abilities of children with AS may allow them to function academically within a general education classroom. However, their behavior often requires a more restrictive setting.
6.Accomodations may be necessary for sensory issues. A quiet, isolated work area should be available when needed. Be aware of the cumulative impact of sensory stimuli and social pressure over the course of the day. Physical education is often difficult because of low structure, limited supervision, the social nature of games, the child’s poor coordination, and the noise and physical contact associated with sports. Modified PE or adapted PE services are often necessary.
7.Areas where a child can choose to isolate himself to calm down should be available in all academic settings. A “safe” staff member should also be identified to help the child calm down when he cannot calm himself.
8.Children who do well in elementary school often have difficulty during secondary school. This may be the result of a variety of factors:
a.More classes, more students, more social pressure
b.Higher levels of reasoning required for academic success
c.More variables in daily schedule
d.Greater requirements for independence
e.The student is more aware of and unhappy about his social isolations
f.Decreased sensitivity of peers
9.Secondary school students may require more individual assistance, academic accommodations, and sometimes modification of parts of the curriculum. Curriculum adaptations must be carefully planned and highly individualized.
10.The secondary school curriculum may need to include instruction in living skills, community skills, and pre-vocational skills. This is true even if the child plans to attend college.
11.Direct instruction is required in areas of weakness.
12.The student’s skill level, and generalizations of those skills
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