It's not uncommon for Asperger syndrome to remain undiagnosed until an affected child or adult struggles in school, at work or in their personal lives.
Identifying the autism spectrum disorder – characterized by social impairment, communication difficulties and restrictive, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior – is further complicated by the lack of a standardized diagnostic test.
That's why it's important for teachers and those who work closely with children to understand how to recognize behaviors that may indicate Asperger syndrome.
To help teachers, parents and counselors identify those with Asperger's, Harper College is launching Students with Asperger's, a new online class starting next month through its Continuing Education department.
Students will learn how to recognize behaviors that may indicate Asperger syndrome and learn strategies for working effectively with affected students and their parents.
"Twenty years ago, Asperger's syndrome and related neurological conditions were virtually unheard of," instructor Julie Coates said. "Today, every school in America has students who have been diagnosed."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 1 in 88 children have an autism spectrum disorder. Coates said the class is also timely because Asperger syndrome was recently reclassified as autism spectrum disorder I, a change that has been confusing for many caregivers and service providers.
The online course will run Tuesday, March 4, through Saturday, March 29. Tuition is $145. For more information, call 847.925.6300 or visit harpercollege.edu/ce.