Have students write a collaborative poem or story using Twitter, IM, Edmodo or Facebook. This way, authors can contribute one word, one line, or several paragraphs.

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 12: A Real Person: Life on the Outside

Posted on April 12, 2014 in Autism

A Real Person by Gunilla Gerland was not published in the US, it is not well known by many readers of this genre. In my opinion, however, it should not be missed. Gerland has a real knack for storytelling and I have shared many of her anecdotes with teachers over the years. Readers of this book with learn a lot about teaching, learning, communication, and connection.

Here is a story I share often when teachers report that their students are …

Day 11: The Journal of Best Practices

Posted on April 11, 2014 in Autism

Filled with wit, honesty, and heart, The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch is a glimpse into life on the autism spectrum and into the author’s marriage. Finch’s story is unique because there are several great autobiographies that feature stories about marriage, but not many that let us see into a union where a diagnosis comes a few years after the couple ties the knot.

This book focuses on a romantic relationship, but I liked it because it can help any reader better understand some of the challenges that any social relationship can present for some people. In this way, it may help those who love someone on the spectrum and it may help those on the spectrum as well. Readers may be especially interested in the little adaptations Finch puts into place to become a better friend and partner (e.g., writing short notes to himself) as these could be adopted by anyone seeking a better connection with …

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 …

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