Want to motivate learners and make lessons memorable? Incorporate the occasional costume to drive your message home. Teach as an atom, a pioneer or as Rosie the Riveter.

This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons, and experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and accessible for all learners.

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Day 8: Asperger Syndrome in the Family: Redefining Normal

Posted on April 08, 2014 in Autism

Lianne Holliday Willey writes Asperger Syndrome in the Family wearing two hats; she is a woman on the autism spectrum and she is the mother of a daughter who is an “Aspie” as well.

In reading even a few pages, you will see that reading Lianne’s books is like sitting down for lunch with a friend; she is insightful, funny, and warm and relatable. She is also very generous in taking us into private family moments and talking very honestly about marriage and parenthood.

This book is also very helpful. Lianne does offer a lot of tips in all of her books, but in this particular text, the reader finds …

Day 7: Emergence: Labeled Autistic

Posted on April 07, 2014 in Autism

More than twenty years after reading my first autobiography, this one still remains one of my favorites. I am also a fan of Temple’s other books, of course, but Emergence has helped me the most in my work with children as it is short, insightful, and chock full of stories that illustrate how autism can feel, look, and be experienced.

Like many young children on the spectrum, Temple had sensory problems, communication difficulties, and struggled to navigate relationships. Her memories of these difficulties will help you better understand behaviors, design supports, and potentially even plan curriculum and instruction—especially since several of her stories are related to school or learning in some way. This first book by the most famous …

Day 6: Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey through Autism

Posted on April 06, 2014 in Autism

So, if you follow my work at all, you know about my belief in teaching to student fascinations and supporting strengths (see Just Give Him the Whale). I think I enjoyed this memoir by Dawn Prince-Hughes so much because it validates this practice. Above all, Songs of the Gorilla Nation is a story of a life lived in pursuit of a passion.

Prince-Hughes not only found a life’s purpose with gorillas, but shares that she learned to understand Asperger’s syndrome, by connecting with animals. Though she dropped out of school at the age of 16, her love of gorillas motivated her, gave her a focus, and eventually led to a Ph.D. in anthropology.

This is simply a lovely book that I would recommend to …

Day 5: Mozart & the Whale: An Asperger’s Love Story

Posted on April 05, 2014 in Autism

Mozart and the Whale is an absorbing account of Jerry and Mary Newport, a couple who fall in love, date, get married, but struggle to find their ‘happily ever after’….at least initially. Their story is sweet, funny, and sometimes sad. It provides a glimpse into two lives and helps us not only understand more about life on the spectrum, but about negotiating relationships and providing support. It brings up really complex and important questions such as, “What does it take to make a marriage?”; “Can love overcome all?” Bravo to Jerry and Mary for being bold enough to pull back the curtain on their lives and their love and for sharing insights that could help any marriage.

I have not used this book much in my work with schools, but …

Flashback Friday: Teach organization daily

Posted on April 04, 2014 in Autism

You might provide all students suggestions for keeping things orderly. For instance, instead of asking all students to clear their desks for a test, ask them to “put notebooks right under the desk”. You might give some ideas on how they might organize desk tops, lockers, cubby holes, or backpacks (e.g., “keep your protractor in your pencil bag”) or simply teach an organization system that everyone in the room follows.

In one classroom I visited, the teacher asked all students to stack their …

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