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The number of individuals with special needs in Indonesia is increasing. This certainly cannot be separated from the government's attention that issued various policies in support of their existence. One of the categories included in individuals with special needs is those who categorized as Asperger’s. The obstacle that occurs in Asperger is the difficulty in understanding the social interactions that occur around it. The use of symbols as a medium for communication sometimes leads to ambiguity of meaning when interpreted by individuals with Asperger’s and it is also possible that errors occur in the use of symbols. Using Mead's ideas which consist of three important elements- Mind, Self, and Society- this research reveals that the environment has a role as a stimulus when individuals with Asperger’s try to interpret and use symbols in a communication process.
The study was conducted at London School Beyond Academy Course (LSBA) and Skills Training Institute, a learning place that accepts students with special needs within the autistic category and learning difficulties who have completed high school or equivalent. In the Autistic category, there are 8 Asperger students who are all male between the ages of 19-24. After going through the consent process, the number of Asperger students reduced to 5. Other informants are from teachers and parents who are part of the students’ environment and providing stimulus to the students.
Based on the characteristics and objectives of the research, this study uses a phenomenology study that has the freedom to actively participate and pay attention to the daily activities of Asperger students in interacting socially with the environment. Through this research, three important things were found to cause failure and success things in interpreting symbols when interacting with Asperger student; (1) gestures, (2) memories (pas experienced), (3) society. In conclusion, the environment in Asperger students not only functions on the meaning of symbols, but also contributes to meaning.
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