#MakeSchoolDifferent

The #makeschooldifferent challenge calls upon educators to look critically at our current education system and how it affects our students. As I read some great posts by other educators, I find that some of the issues that arise around public education and ‘mainstream’ teaching produce commonalities that are also found in Special Education. I hope […]

Read More #MakeSchoolDifferent

The Benefit of Sport for ASD Kids

“It was through the world of sports and legendary Lakers announcer Chick Hearn that I was able to find my voice and thus communicate with the world.” Ethan Hanson was diagnosed with high functioning Asperger’s syndrome when he was 4 years old. Asperger’s is an Autism Spectrum Disorder which is characterized through difficulties with social interactions, restricted […]

Read More The Benefit of Sport for ASD Kids

A Letter to Kadence

 In honour of Mother’s Day, I am happy to share a post written by my good friend and co-worker Andrea Haefele. Andrea’s daughter Bella is a student of mine and from the outside presents as a non-verbal learner with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Pitt-Hopkins Syndrome. Andrea’s advocacy for her daughter’s exceptional needs knows no bounds, and […]

Read More A Letter to Kadence

Early Math for Autism

  When choosing Mathematics goals for my students, I try to envision where I see them twenty years from now. Will they be able to use money to do their own shopping? Will they need to tell time to self-regulate their own schedule to avoid anxiety? Will they be able to hold a job where they […]

Read More Early Math for Autism

TEACCHing Fine Motor

Students with ASD benefit from exposure to activities that support the development of fine motor skills in the hands and fingers. Developing motor strength and dexterity can lead to the improvement of other cognitive, communication and life skills necessary to achieve independence in their daily lives. I incorporate Fine Motor skills into my TEACCH Independent Activity Schedules on […]

Read More TEACCHing Fine Motor

Physical Education: DisABLE the LABEL!

  This year for the first time, I am responsible for teaching Physical Education to my ASD class and it has quickly become a meaningful integration/inclusion opportunity for my students. My colleague ad P.E. guru @andreahaefele and I observed a gap in the knowledge and education of Phys.Ed teachers required to properly teach special needs students. To […]

Read More Physical Education: DisABLE the LABEL!

My Turn! Social Skills in the ASD Class

  Students with Autism can lack the Social Skills necessary to function successfully in environments with their peers, often resulting in exclusion from groups. Social and play skills must be directly taught, meaning, most students will not simply pick up these skills on the playground like their peers. They need to be taught like any other skill […]

Read More My Turn! Social Skills in the ASD Class

Morning Meeting: Combining Social & Academic Learning

The word ‘individual’ is used in abundance in Special Education to describe the nature of the student’s school day. Their programs are individualized, their schedules are individualized, and worktime is often completed one-on-one with an adult to ensure that ‘individualized’ goals are met. “The underlying goal of any Special Education program is to provide students with the skills to […]

Read More Morning Meeting: Combining Social & Academic Learning