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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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Idea #16: Teach organization daily

Posted on April 16, 2013 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 folders in…

Idea #15: Go home

Posted on April 15, 2013 in Autism

If you are struggling with a particular student and feel you have ‘tried everything’, consider a home visit to see how he or she is supported during the rest of the day. Even though the environment and demands are very different at school, if you have an open mind, you may take away ideas for…

Idea #14: Share the good news

Posted on April 14, 2013 in Autism, News

Call home when the student has done something particularly well (e.g., helped a peer, mastered a new skill). Or write the learner an e-mail with specific information about what is going well. This information will always be welcome, but…

Idea #13: Assess early, often, and in a variety of ways

Posted on April 13, 2013 in Autism

Using a variety of assessments may be especially crucial when teaching students with autism since difficulties reading, writing, or communicating might prevent a student from adequately completing a traditional assessment (e.g., worksheet, quiz) and may lead a teacher to believe that a student is less…

Idea #12: “Show up” for your communication partner

Posted on April 12, 2013 in Autism

If you find it challenging to have a complex conversation with someone who does not speak, look for materials or cues that can help you generate conversation. You might read aloud from books or newspapers, comment on the person’s reaction to events or activities, share photos and video related to the topic at hand, involve the person in a multi-partner conversation so there are many ideas to share and build from, or simply use familiar objects as catalysts for conversation.

Remember that a person who cannot communicate effectively (or at all) cannot…

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