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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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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 …

Day 4: How Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move?: Inside My Autistic Mind

Posted on April 04, 2014 in News

I am a fan of all of Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay’s work including this newer book. How Can I Talk if My Lips Don’t Move is-above all-a poetic and compelling story of a life. The book provides a glimpse into the experiences of a child who had very little reliable communication for most of his life. The reader follows Tito’s journey as he gains access to his voice through typed communication and handwriting and shares his thoughts on his autism, on living without expression, and on misunderstandings of autism. Tito shares many struggles in these pages, but sums up ..

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 …

Day 3: Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism

Posted on April 03, 2014 in Autism

When I met Stephen Shore, I joked to him that I knew his book better than he did. After spending some time with me and doing a few presentations together, he had to agree! I don’t think I have an autobiography more dog-eared, highlighted, or worn than Beyond the Wall. I love so many things about this book but I think I am most drawn to it because in the pages of the book, Stephen starts as a student and becomes a teacher. I really like these two perspectives as it helps me related to learners I support and helps me to consider how a teacher on the spectrum might approach different situations.

What I love most about this book, however, is the …

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