Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Hidden Curriculum

One important social skills area that has long been neglected is the hidden curriculum - the do's and dont's are not spelled out for everyday behavior, but somehow everyone knows about them, except children and youth with Asperger's. The Hidden Curriculum includes skills, actions, modes of dress, and so on, that most people know and take for granted. Every school and every society has a hidden curriculum. This unspoken curriculum is the one that causes challenges and grief for those with Asperger's.

Examples of Hidden Curriculum Items:
1.) D not tell the principal that if she listened better, more kids would like her.
2.) You should not have to pay students to be your friends.
3.) Do not talk to other kids in the classroom when the teacher is giving a lesson.
4.) When the teacher is scolding another student, it is not an appropriate time to ask the teacher a question.
5.) When you are with classmates you don't know very well and you are the center of attention, do not pass gas, pick your nose, or scratch a private body part.
6.) During a fire drill, go with your class to teh nearest exit. This is not the time to go to the bathroom or to ask to go to the bathroom.
7.)Do not tell classmates about all of the "skeletons in your parents' closet."
8.) Do not draw violent scenes in school.
9.) During a conversation, fact the speaker and position your body in that direction.
10.) Speak to teachers in a pleasant tone of voice because they will respond to you in a more positive manner.
11.) When your teacher gives you a warning about behavior and you continue the behavior, you are probably going to get in trouble. If you stop the behavior immediately after the first warning, you will probably not get into trouble.
12.) If one of your classmates tells you to do something you think might get you in trouble, you should always stop and think before acting. Friends do not ask other friends to do things that will get them in trouble.
13.) Not all teachers have the same rules for their class. Some teachers do not allow any talking unless you raise your hand. Others may allow talking if you are not disruptive or annoying other students. It is important to know the rules different teachers have for their classes.

Taken from:Myles, B.S. & Simpson, Rich. (2001). Understanding the Hidden Curriculum:An Essential Social Skill for Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome. Intervention.