I am currently doing some research to become more familiar with how to communicate with someone with Aspergers. There are a number of links online, but I was also wondering if anyone here has experience with this. I realize it is a spectrum disorder, and I have worked with a couple of individuals. What I have encountered involves a strongly concrete perspective that has to work with what is directly in front of them. For example the person cannot extend the idea that you can play an instrument even if you work as a teacher until they actually see and hear you play. There is need for strongly concrete and linear approaches to the world. There is also a tendency to approach a learning situation by telling the teacher what they are going to teach and so forth. I think that is part of the concrete perspective since they cannot imagine what the teacher would bring to the table. That concept is unknown and therefore too abstract.
I am currently trying to calibrate my communicate to an adult student who has what appears to be a relatively severe case, at least in terms of communication. This person constantly instills conflict, but is also incapable of dealing with conflict. I had to leave early because of a winter storm and they became quite upset, which I understand is an event that would be challenging in that context. I might be raked over the coals next week. My main area of anticipation is that I don't know what approach to take. I'm not even sure if the upset in one instance tranfers over that far. I might just deflect attention away from it and demonstrate a peaceful, happy mood to draw them into. I could also try to help the person reason through it by pointing out the information they are lacking to draw a conclusion and reassure them I had wanted to work with them that day. I could also just work out something simple and direct to say that somewhat mirrors their style. If I want to get a point across it needs to be direct. I also need to find out to what extent I should be veering them in the direction of normative behavior. In some cases with special needs, behavior therapists work with the whole team and everyone keeps the person on task to remember to ask before grabbing, respecting personal spaces, etc. This individual doesn't have a team of helpers. I can also just go with the flow and let it be however it is.
Where I work I am given all the special needs clients, although I don't have a degree in special education, but my work would probably fall under the category of "recreational" so it isn't considered an issue. I am somewhat isolated professionally in working in part because no one else there does much in this area. I am constantly learning with each new scenario.
If you have any experience or knowledge about Aspergers, feel free to relay it here whether or not it seems to directly apply to my situation. I just want to get more data points overall in both theory and application.