New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

How an "Aspie" Thrives

Team: 53

School: Edgewood Mid

Area of Science: Behavioral Science

For people with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, everyday life can be stressful and hard, or it can be nothing at all. This mostly depends on the environment you put an “Aspie,” or someone with Asperger’s syndrome, in. Our mission in this project is to find the best possible environment for an Aspie, using a computer model.
So far, in our research we have found that Aspies thrive in environments that do not change, such as a school environment with a schedule, and a home environment that does not move from place to place. Like any student, a supportive teacher and a supportive parent will always help, but especially so in the case of an Aspie. The parents and teachers have to be very understanding in order for them to learn properly and functionally. In the past there have been cases where teachers who just don’t know what to do with Aspies will punish them, but that doesn’t help anyone.
Temple Grandin, a notable figure who has Asperger’s syndrome, had supportive teachers in elementary school, who she attributes to her success now. Her mother was very stubborn, trying to teach her how to talk even though she was seemingly uncooperative, which is one thing that was very good for her at that age.
We expect to find that environments with very little movement, and good teachers and homes will be the best environment for Aspies. We also think that a little bit of challenge will be able to help aspies like any other kid. With these environments, Aspie children would theoretically be able to accomplish many great things.
We plan to build our model based off of another model that we saw demonstrated last year during a class assigned to us for the expo. It dealt with virology, and it showed a family going through their daily lives, including school and work. We plan to change the model so that it was an Aspie going to school, and the people around them would influence them for either the bad or the good. For example, if the teacher was unsupportive, there would be a “success” meter that went down or up. It would be measured by how bad/good the interaction was, and how bad/good the interaction was would be random. There would also be interactions at home that would define the Aspie’s success meter. These interactions would most likely have more an effect because for most Aspie’s their home is their “safe place,” where they can feel comfortable.
We haven’t started on this model as of yet, because we haven’t been able to find the original model, and the people we’ve contacted haven’t gotten back to us. We are still trying to find the model, and we’ve been e-mailing back and forth between a few people. If we get the model, we will start modifying it immediately.
Our mission is to find a way to make people with Asperger’s syndrome a comfortable and safe environment to grow up in so that they can accomplish many great things with their amazing skills. Aspies like Temple Grandin have done wonderful things, thanks to the places they grew up in. Some Aspies that could have done great things have gotten stuck because of the places and people that influenced them as well. We also want to raise awareness of this disorder, so that Aspies can be understood and treated the way they should. By using a computer model, we think that’s what we can do.

Team Members:

  Sarah Robinson
  kayla laporte
  caleb campbell

Sponsoring Teacher: Janice Portillo

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Albuquerque, New Mexico 87190
(505) 667-2864

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