Students with Aspergers and the Khan Academy By Cindy Strandt

High functioning students on the Autism Spectrum often have difficulty interacting and participating in the ‘typical’ classroom manner. Students can however be gifted in one or many areas. The sounds of the other children working and teachers lecturing can set off disruptive behavior and interfere with the students learning. Wearing headphones to filter out unwanted and over stimulating sound can help. Students on this spectrum who are knowledgeable and proficient at navigating and using a variety of software on the computer may benefit from using it as an independent study or support to classroom instruction. A 60 Minutes featured the Khan Academy which could fill those needs. I used this program with a student with Aspergers who was far advanced mathematically. Working on the computer can filter out over stimulating sounds and provide instruction at developmentally appropriate levels. The Khan Academy provides a variety of video lessons in math on all levels that are both visual and auditory with practice sessions and the ability to track progress. Keeping the student focused and completing the task could be a problem. Using a visual timer (with the moving red) could assist as well as a reward such as allowing free computer or desired activity for completion of a lesson or practice session. “Now, I’ll be the first to say that I have no data to back up this claim, but, as an autism advocate, I have seen the evidence right before my eyes as a number of my clients with Asperger’s kids are successfully using many of the Khan Academy videos to work through challenging academic areas more quickly, painlessly and cheaply than hiring a tutor.” Merryn Affleck The following is a video associated with Ms. Affleck’s article that is worth viewing.

Parents should discuss with teachers the possibility of flipping the classroom or using a program/site such as the Khan Academy to meet their child’s individual learning needs. Parents and teachers can work as a team to help the autistic student reach their academic best. “Approach you child's classroom teacher, and show them the web page and ask if there is any way he/she or anyone in the school might be interested in setting up a tutorial program using the system. This system allows the coach to follow student's progress effortlessly. It provides easy charts of what the student is having an easy time with, and what the student is having difficulty with.”
Dr. Jim Roche
The Khan Academy can help students with Aspergers work on specific skills in an environment that fits their needs and learning styles.