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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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Flashback Friday: Text me!

Posted on April 11, 2014 in Autism, Differentiating Instruction

This idea is from the revised edition of “You’re Going to Love This Kid!”. I have selected ideas from several different chapters including those focused on classroom environment, teaching strategies, and communication.

If you have a reluctant writer on your hands, try using daily text messaging as a tool for practicing spelling and composing sentences. Pick a motivating partner (grandma, older student, principal) and set up a system where the two text a note at roughly the same time each day. The “tutor” can ask the student to …

Day 10: Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant

Posted on April 10, 2014 in Autism

A few years ago, I wrote a book on autism and literacy, A Land We Can Share, with Kelly Chandler-Olcott. To research that book, we read nearly every autobiography in press to gather tips and suggestions on teaching literacy from folks on the spectrum. One of the most useful books in this process turned out to be Daniel Tammet’s Born on a Blue Day. This book is not about teaching literacy or even about teaching, but as Tammet shares his stories of growing up, schooling, working, and even falling in love, there just happen to be many useful gems to mine about reading, writing, and studying that the teacher in me really appreciated. For instance, in this passage, Tammet discusses how writing felt …

Day 9: Asperger Syndrome, the Universe and Everything

Posted on April 09, 2014 in Autism

There are very few book-length autobiographies written by young people. For this reason alone, Kenneth Hall’s book is a gift to the field. Written by a ten-year-old Hall, Asperger Syndrome, the Universe and Everything helps the reader better understand sensory issues, social differences, and the importance of “loves” (e.g., Harry Potter).

As a teacher, I have long appreciated Hall’s book as it is short enough to recommend to a teacher wanting a quick overview and it contains several references to helpful learning strategies (e.g. using index cards to organize writing topics).

Finally, many readers will appreciate …

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 …

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