Welcome to Teacher Space. Scroll down the right margin to discover hundreds of quality, teaching and learning links for mainstream and special education teachers.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Specials - A series exploring young adulthood

I love this british TV Series called 'The Specials'. The series follows the lives of a group of young people with special needs, as they make their own way in the adult world. All of the episodes of Series 1 are available via YouTube.I can't wait to share this series with our teens at my Special School and I am really looking forward to Series 2!

Your Therapy Source News

Click here to read the magazine

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Autism Help - Autism Information

Hi Everyone,
If you have a new diagnosis of Autism and you looking for a website that will provide you with easy to read information, that is simple to navigate through, Autism Help is the site for you.
Autism Help covers all the information , that you will need to understand both the strengths and impacts of an autism diagnosis, from pre-school through to the tertiary years.
I wish you well on your journey.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Science Bob - Science experiments for kids

Hi Everyone,
I had a great time working with the junior classes, at Belvoir Special school today. The highlight was making a home made lava lamp, during the science lesson. Joanne, their amazing classroom teacher, found the lesson plan on the Science Bob website. What a sensational find! It is full of simple and highly engaging science experiments and multimedia presentations, suitable for primary aged kids, in both special education and inclusive classrooms. I will definitely be adding this site to my science links.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What is Communication Shutdown ?

Social communication is one of the biggest challenges for people with autism. Shutdown Facebook or Twitter on Nov 1 to have some idea of what it's like.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Safe 4 Kids - Protective Behaviours Resources

Hi Everyone,
I have been on a web quest all year, trying to get my hands on the 'Sing Yourself Safe' CD. I posted a plea for help to locate the CD, earlier in the year, and it was read by the owner of Safe 4 Kids , Holly -ann Martin, during the week.
Hooray ! Not only is that quest now over but I have also found a terrific range of other resources, to support my protective behaviours program in mainstream and special education settings.
Visit the Safe 4 Kids website to check them out for yourself.
Thanks so much for getting in contact, Holly-ann. : - )

Saturday, October 2, 2010

White noise Improves memory in children with attention disorders

Hi Everyone,
I have just read an interesting article, on the Pediastaff blog, about studies at Stockholm University in Sweden, indicating that white noise can have a significant impact on concentration and on task behaviours, for some people with attentional disorders and difficulties like ADHD.
The studies also showed, that white noise was extremely distracting for people who do not usually have any trouble concentrating. So, the quest for this morning was scour the Internet to find some iProduct applications, that kids could use in class, on their iTouch, iPad or iPhone, via the App shopper website, as white noise adjustment strategies.
There are loads!
These are free and easy to use:

Here is a link to the Stockholm University research paper, if you would like more specific details about the research project.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Hi Everyone,
The Dogo News and BBC Class Clips sites, host some terrific current affairs resources, to help stimulate oral language and comprehension activities in the classroom. I am always on the look out for short length, highly engaging texts, to use with my non and reluctant readers and/children with language disorder, in upper primary and secondary settings. Both of these sites really fit the bill.
Although I have used them during the literacy block, I do find that students sneak off to have a quiet read and think about them on their own - which tells me that I am on to a winner!

Arts Alive Virtual Dance Studio and the Help Kids Learn Train Tracker Game

Hi Everyone,
What do the Arts Alive Virtual Dance Studio and The Help Kids Learn Train Tracker game have in common? For me, it's that they are two online programs that I use regularly, with kids needing some quiet time to self regulate, when the classroom environment becomes too overwhelming. A five minute stint on one of these programs can mean the difference between a 'meltdown' and being able to successfully re-engage in classroom activities, for some of my students.
I use lots of interactive software programs in my work with children on the autism spectrum. These two, are my most often requested recreational or calming activities for mainstream primary students. The key seems to be that they provide children with the opportunity to make simple choices, which helps them gain a sense of control over their environment again.
Both are great fun to play and I must warn you that they are highly addictive. You may want to set yourself a time limit before trying them out. A timer is a definite must when using them with kids in the classroom.

Free Children's Stories.com - Daniel Errico

Hi Everyone,

I received this email from Daniel Errico this morning.

Dear Sue,
My name is Daniel Errico and I'm owner of the site
freechildrenstories.com. I've been reading up on your Teacher Space and Junior Crew Book Shelf sites and enjoyed them.
If you have any interest, my site offers free stories for kids and includes a fully illustrated and narrated online storybook, The Journey of the Noble Gnarble. Hope all is well. Thanks,

Daniel Errico

Daniel's site is terrific for recreational reading, as well as a fabulous resource for teachers wanting to encourage students to write and illustrate their own stories. I know a few art teachers who would definately use the site to teach story telling through art. Go and check it out for yourself.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Free eBooks for Kids

Hi Everyone,
Kathy from Ireland, sent me an email asking if I knew of any good free book sites that kids could access online.
I had to chuckle because I have spent many hours over the past 3 years, building up a collection of sites to use and share in my own teaching practice. My aim was to provide a resource that students in my special education class could access independently. I set up a blog page so that the kids could just click on a picture of a book that appealed to them or access favourite sites by clicking on a link in the margin. The site hosts are wide range of text types that would appeal to Pre-School and Primary aged students.
I'm not on class this year but the site is still available for use if you would like to check it out. There is a permanent link to the Junior Crew Book Shelf in the right margin of this blog or you can find the sites by clicking here or on the picture above.
Thanks for the email, Kathy and good luck with your reading centres project.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What happened to the Priory Woods Website?

Hi Everyone,
The Priory Woods website has a new look. I was a huge fan of the old Special School site's cause and effect programs and was disappointed to see, that due to legal issues, many of my favourites are missing from the new line up. The new site is still in the process of being built but the pre-build teasers look very interesting. Click on the picture to check out their program resources to play online or download.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Into the Book

Hi Everyone,
I spend a lot of time talking to teachers about how to assist students in developing reading comprehension skills. I am also a big fan of providing kids who need extra support, with the opportunity to work independently . This morning I was visiting the Tips Tools and Technology for Today blog and found this sensational reading comprehension program - Into the Book.
The program is a free, highly interactive, multi-media package which focuses on these eight learning strategies:

•Using prior knowledge
•Making connections

I can see this program being put to great use in Grade 3 + classrooms and can't wait to see it in action with the kids I am currently supporting in inclusive classroom settings.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Individual Learning Plans Dr. Seuss Style

ILPs Dr. Seuss Style
(author unknown)

Do you like these ILPs?
I do not like these ILPs
I do not like them, Geez Louise
We test, we check
We plan, we meet
But nothing ever seems complete.

Would you, could you
like the form?

I do not like the form I see
Not page 1, not 2, not 3
Another change
A brand new box
I think we all
Have lost our rocks.

Could you all meet here or there?

We could not all meet here or there.
We cannot all fit anywhere!
Not in a room.
Not in the hall.
There seems to be no space at all.

Would you, could you meet again?

I cannot meet again next week
No lunch, no prep
Please hear me speak.
No not at dusk. No, not at dawn
At 4 p.m. I should be gone.

Could you hear while all speak out?
Would you write the words they spout?

I could not hear, I would not write

This does not need to be a fight.
Sign here, date there,
Mark this, check that
Beware the student's ad-vo-cat(e).

You do not like them
So you say
Try again, try again!
And you may.

If you will let me be,
I will try again
You'll see.


I almost like these ILPs!
I think I'll write 6003.
And I will practice day and night
Until they say
"You've got it right!"

Telling others about Aspergers Syndrome - Kids Health Website

Hi Everyone,
This week I had the opportunity to speak to some parents of a 10 year old student with a brand new diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome. The couple shared that the Kids Health website was helpful in explaining the diagnosis to their child's brothers, sisters, cousins friends and classmates.
Of course, I had a look and discovered that it is also a terrific site to explain all sorts of health and well being issues to kids. Definitely worth checking out for yourself.

Monday, September 20, 2010

90 Ways to help Students with ADHD - Darren Tagliarini

Hi Everyone,
I was just visiting 'The Behaviour Guy' website which is maintained by Darren Tagliarini, a psychologist specialising in challenging behaviour. The site is amazing. It is full of resources which are in line with evidence based research, to read and download.
One of the things that caught my eye today, was this nifty brochure of 90 Ways to Help Students with ADHD. It is definitely going to be part of my travelling resource pack as so many of the children I support in schools have a dual diagnosis of autism and ADHD.
The thought that goes through my mind so often when I am recommending resources for students with special and additional needs, is that if they are implemented as whole class structures and embedded in regular teaching practice, they are common sense strategies that will assist all students. That is what inclusive education is all about!
Here is a direct link to the brochure

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Life with Autism - A Student Perspective

Click on the book to read it in full screen mode.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tots & Tech - Early Years Resource

Hi Everyone,
I have been spending a lot of time this morning checking out resources on Tots and Tech . I am going to spend the next 20 minutes emailing the URL to every Early Years professional I know.
This terrific site contains loads of very practical ideas to help students with disabilities engage in functional and play activities at home and alongside their peers in Early Years settings. The 'Ideas to Share' section is amazing!
I wish I knew about this site when I was teaching in an Early Years Classroom but I am so glad that I am in a position of being able to share the site with others. Check it out. It will be well worth your time and effort.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

ZuiTube - For Calming and Learning

Hi Everyone,
I use video footage a great deal in my teaching as most of the students that I work with are visual learners.
The ZuiTube website is like a gigantic, well organised filing cabinet of student friendly material, covering a massive range of topics.
I go to ZuiTube to find material on every topic that I teach as well as for visuals based on students' special areas of interest. I can use the footage as motivators or rewards for working hard, as a calming activity when anxiety levels are escalating or after a meltdown to help a student regain equilibrium.
Check it out for yourself.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Inclusion is a Whole School Approach - Which character do you identify with?

This video is not about inclusion.

It is about people and their response to change.

A school staff is made up of all of the characters in this short video.

I would like to think, that most of the time, I am the person who serves as a bridge that supports others in their journey across the divide between past and future.

Some days though, I'm not. Some days I am the pessimistic, frustrated one or part of the crowd following an inspirational leader in the field.

It's okay to change roles, as long as I don't get caught up with the defeatist crowd.

Have a look for yourself and decide which character best illustrates your stage of the journey at the moment.

Thanks very much to Damien Keel, for introducing me to the video.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Whiz Kid Games - Swinburne University

Hi Everyone,
It's a week for great tips. My colleague Jessie, sent me the link to this terrific life skill focused website, for Early Years and younger students with an intellectual disability. I have had a lovely time playing ( whoops - learning) on this site this afternoon.
Thanks, Jesse : - )

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cooking for Engineers - Easy Visual Recipes

Hi Everyone,
My friend, Angela put me on to this fantastic website today. It's a cooking site! Move over Master Chef - here comes the 'Cooking Engineers'! I know that I will use this site regularly with older students I work with. The recipes are beautifully, visually represented with photographs and presented in a step by step, easy to read manner. Check out that egg! All of the images on this site are like that!
Click on the printer friendly version for a visually, clutter free look.
Now, what am I going to cook first?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Edutopia Webinar - Dr Judy Willis - Neuroscientist & Educator

H Everyone,

This one of my all time favourite Webinars. I regularly use snippets of it, when speaking to groups of teachers about inclusive educational practices and how to work with students with challenging behaviours, learning difficulties and disabilities.It helps teachers to understand, that many of the behaviours seen in children deemed as 'weak choices' are actually unconscious reactive brain activity.

It saddens me that so many students have been labelled as being 'weak in character' when the problem is neurologically based and the solution is about changing the environments in which they are struggling to learn.

This webinar has the power to change the practices of even the most rigid thinking teachers. Of course, first you have to convince them that it is worth while spending an hour of their time to watch it : - )

If you have enjoyed this video, you may like to check out the Edutopia Channel at Youtube. Visit the Edutopia website for a full range of multimedia resources and the support materials to all of their webinars.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Leadership Lessons from a Dancing Guy

I am a teaching and learning Coach in schools, working alongside teachers with students on the autism spectrum.
Over the past 30 years we have moved from a system that favoured institutionalising people on the spectrum, to including all people with a disability in mainstream life.
I think that is amazing!
Not all of the teachers I work with agree with me.
My 18 year old son, a veteran of dinner table conversations regarding the frustrations of my day, sent me a link to this fantastic video which made me laugh and motivated me to keep forging ahead.
Thanks so much to every first follower in every school I have ever visited.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

ABC News - On Call + Autism

I have spent the afternoon watching videos and scanning the diverse and excellent range of quality resources on the ABC News On call + Autism website. It is a multi media feast, for people hungry for reliable information about autism spectrum disorders. I plan to share some of the short video sequences with parents and colleagues during the week. Check it out for yourself by clicking on the picture above or any of the hyperlinks.

Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome - Newsons Syndrome

I have been getting lots of email requests for information about Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome, otherwise known as Newsons Syndrome.

Here is how the PDA Contact Group explain the condition.

'Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder related to, but significantly different from, autism and Asperger syndrome. First identified as a separate syndrome at the University of Nottingham, research has continued at the Elizabeth Newson Centre. Children with PDA would previously have been diagnosed as having 'non-typical autism/Asperger' or 'pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified'; but it is important to diagnose them separately since they do not respond well to the educational and treatment methods that are helpful with autistic and Asperger children, and since appropriate guidelines for education and handling have been produced by the Elizabeth Newson Centre specifically for children with PDA.'

If you would like more information about PDA, follow the hyperlinks or click on the picture to visit the PDA Contact Group website.

Inclusive Practice in Mainstream Schools

Hi Everyone,
I am building up quite a collection of quality online resources, to support mainstream teachers develop inclusive practices. You will find them in the blue, professional readings section in right margin of the blog.
In my role as an Autism Teaching and learning Coach, I find myself working with teachers at all stages of the 'inclusive education' journey. Some teachers come on board quickly, while others require a lot more encouragement. Many are coping well, while others find it an emotional and physically exhausting journey - the inspiration for yesterday's post.
Thankfully now that we are in Term 3, all of the teachers agree that the effort to modify curriculum and teaching practices is worth it.
This morning I was sorting through some photographs, taken while visiting schools, and this one caught my eye. Neither of the children in this picture have an autism spectrum disorder or any kind of learning disability. Their teacher uses BoardMaker, to support the learning of all of the children in her class, as an inclusive strategy.
In this picture, the BoardMaker cards are acting as role cards. One child is listening and the other is reading, according to the visual prompt they have in front of them. When they have finished they will swap roles.
There is a student with autism in the classroom . He is able to independently read with his typically developing classmates every day because he understands the process. It is the same for everyone.
Love your work, Jenny ; - )

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Teachers and Paraprofessionals - You are Important !

I am important.....
"...I am the decisive element in the classroom. My personal approach creates the climate. My daily mood makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt, or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized."
~~Haim Ginott~~

Friday, July 2, 2010

Visual Supports for Students with Autism - Visual Timer

Hi Everyone,
Here is my first go at making a video using the Microsoft Movie Maker program. It was good to remember what it feels like to be working outside of my comfort zone. As parents and teachers, we ask children to do that all the time without giving it a second thought.

If you would like a copy of any of the templates I used, send me an email and I will be happy to forward them on to you. You will find my email address in the right margin of the blog.

I have been busy adding lots of free visual downloads sites to the links area in the right margin too!Check them out while you are here.
: - )

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Communication Therapy Blog

Hi Everyone,
I have just visited the Communication Therapy blog and read a terrific post about the function of repetitive questions. Why don't you check it out for yourself. The site is a treasure trove of practical information and advice for teachers and parents.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Videojug - Get good at life!

Playground Games:
How To Play Duck Duck Goose
Hi Everyone,
I have spent the morning looking at loads of instructional videos for children on the Videojug website. The site is terrific for visual learners as it demonstrates a task or game in an easy to follow, step by step manner, using simple and clear language. I am particularly taken with the playground games section. This will be a wonderful tool for me to use, to pre-teach commonly played games to students on the autism spectrum, before they hit the playground.
It is a brilliant reource to use when teaching the procedure text type across learning domains in both special education and inclusive settings !
Take a look for yourself.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Let's Cook - Life Skills for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Let's Cook - Life Skills for Kids on the Autism Spectrum, uses multimedia (videos, slides, images and text) to demonstrate how parents and teachers can help kids with autism build functional skills through enjoyable, everyday activities such as cooking. Here, Wyatt learns to make waffles. This activity incorporates skills such as measuring, counting, shapes, simple addition and subtraction. Visit the site, by clicking on the hyperlink, to see related slides, downloadable companion materials and other recipes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pelican Talk - Speech Pathology Site

Hi Everyone,
I have been busily downloading the free autism articles and visuals that are available at the Pelican Talk website.
I have made a communication themed PowerPoint, for Middle Years students, using the turn taking and eye contact visuals that you will find as free downloads in the Autism tab . It really didn't require much effort on my part as the comic strip style visuals speak for themselves!
There are loads of other free, speech and language resources available on the site, hidden behind the other tabs.
This is a terrific site to explore if you are part of a multidisciplinary team, supporting a student with Helping Children with Autism Funding.
Check out the site for yourself by clicking on the pictures above.

Helping Children with Autism from Lia at Autism Victoria on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Aven's Corner - Games for Children with Autism

Hi Everyone,
I have just spent a good hour and a half exploring the Aven's Corner website.
The site was created by the parent of a child with an autism spectrum disorder. In his own words:

'All of the free kids games at Aven’s Corner are developed with young children with autism in mind, but they appeal to all children because of their simplicity. We have also included fun online kids activities for parents and teachers to do with their children. We hope that our site is beneficial to your child and you have a great time at Aven's Corner!'

I love this simple tooth brushing game .
Oh, I wish I was on class this week.
I will just have to find some children to play with !
Click on the picture or the hyperlinks to explore for yourself.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Hidden Curriculum

Hi again,

My last post got me thinking about the book ' The Hidden Curriculum - Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations'. This is one of my favourite books to show teachers when I visit schools because it demonstrates so beautifully how explicit we need to be in teaching social skills to students on the autism spectrum. If you decide to visit the Book Depository website, buy this book too !

Just for the record, the Book Depository do not pay me or give me free books to advertise their website . I was recently introduced to a teacher in a new school. His response was ' I know who you are ! You are that teacher who writes her every waking thought on the internet !'
We both laughed.
My theory is that if you are on to good thing you should share it !

Asperger's and Girls

Hi Everyone,

It was a 'curl up with a good book day' today. I have spent my Saturday reading 'Asperger's and Girls' which features the writings and understandings of 7 well known autism authors including Tony Attwood and Temple Grandin.

As an autism teaching and learning coach, I spend most of my time working with boys. It was great to read a book that was exclusively dedicated to understanding and catering for the needs of girls with Asperger's Syndrome. For me, the take away message was that it is important to teach our girls the hidden curriculum involved in relationships. I wonder what knew knowledge you will take away from the text?

I read a borrowed copy ( thanks Bambi) but you can get yours at a very reasonable price from the Book Depository website. I order most of my books from there. This UK company delivers very well priced books all over the world and as an Australian, I have never had to wait longer than 10 days before my books have arrived . Better still there is no delivery charge!

Click on the cover of the book to read a full description of the text and order yours for $21.40 from the Book Depository website.

Friday, June 4, 2010

SERU - Special Education Expo Adelaide - South Australia

Hi Everyone,
The South Australian Special Education Expo is on again !
Saturday 3 July 2010 and Monday 5 to Wednesday 7 July 2010 at the Education Development Centre - Hindmarsh. Click on the picture above to download forms in PDF format.
Program Summary
Workshop Descriptors
Registration Forms.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page to view some amazing flash recordings of workshops from previous years. Make sure you have plenty of time to look at these resources because you will find it difficult to tear yourself away.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just for Julie in Townsville - My favourite Video Links

Hi Everyone,
I have been a bit neglectful of my blog of late because I have been developing a set of regional Nings, to support professionals working with students on the autism spectrum, in the Hume Region in Victoria.
I have had a special request, from Julie Wallace, to duplicate my video links to my blog so that parents and paraprofessionals can access them too.
So, check out the ever increasing list of video links that will appear in the right margin of the blog below my autism links section.
Thanks for getting in touch Julie :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Association for Children with a Disability

Hi Everyone,
I have spent the morning reading and watching videos on the Association for Children with a Disability website.
The site contains all the information that parents and teachers in Victoria need, to ensure that children with a disability in mainstream schools get a fair go.
Much of my time, in my role as an ASD teaching and learning coach, is spent ensuring that teachers have access to quality, best practice information about how to develop inclusive practices in schools. This site provides links to all of the major documents which inform our provision and planning for students with a disability and contains some fantastic video footage that examines the issues from a range of perspectives.
Click on any of the blue hyperlinks or the picture to take a look for yourself.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

as a teacher,
  • I present the same lessons in the same manner that I have used in the past;
  • I seek no feedback from my students;
  • I do not analyse and evaluate their work in a manner that changes my own emphasis, repertoire, and timing;
  • I do not visit or observe other adults as they teach;
  • I do not share the share the work of my students with colleagues for feedback, suggestions and critiques;
  • I do not visit other schools or attend particular workshops or seminars or read professional literature on aspects of my teaching;
  • I do not welcome visitors with experience and expertise to observe and provide feedback to me on my classroom practice;
  • I have no yearly individualised professional development plan focused on classroom changes to improve student learning;and finally,
  • I have no systemic evaluation of my teaching tied to individual, grade/department and school wide goals,


I have absolutely no way to

become better as a teacher.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Toilet Training Support for Students with ASD & ID

Hi Everyone,
The Act - Now (Autism Consultation & Training Now) website is a great place to go to find evidence based information on how to teach children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) .
I have just been chatting to a colleague about how to toilet train a student with ASD and co-morbid intellectual disability (ID). The ACT- Now site has a terrific fact sheet download on the topic, that I have found to be very useful to refer to when working with children in my own practice.
Another very useful resource is the booklet '1 Step at a Time - A parents guide to toilet skills for children with special needs. This resource has been produced by the Victorian Continence Resource Centre and can be downloaded from their site.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thinking in Pictures - Temple Grandin

Hi Everyone,

Last week I read Temple Grandin's book 'Thinking in Pictures -And Other Reports from My Life with Autism. Today I found a video that sums up the book beautifully if you are a non reader. Just brilliant!
Enjoy :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Freaks, Geeks and Aspergers Syndrome - Luke Jackson

Hi Everyone,

I have spent the past 2 days reading Freaks, Geeks and Aperger Syndrome- A User's Guide to Adolescence by Luke Jackson. It is a sensitive , intelligent and witty first hand account of what it is like to navigate through the world with an Aspergers mind.

It will be on my highly recommended list of books for parents to give to their children with Aspergers Syndrome and it would be a fantastic addition to a Middle Years College reading list.

The Teacher's TV video above follows up on Luke and his family three years after the book was written. I was saddened to see that due to bullying and the lack of understanding of teachers, Luke was not able to remain in the mainstream school system which makes me all the more determined to be part of the solution to that problem !

Click on the book cover to find a world wide link to purchase the book.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hume Region Special Schools' Curriculum - Free Download

Hi Everyone,
The curriculum used in special education settings in the Hume Region, Victoria Australia, is now available to download free from this website. This curriculum is designed for students with an intellectual disability with or without co-morbid physical , communication or social disabilites.
My colleagues, Jill Poole and Jan Hutchings (I'm very proud of them) have been working on this project with other talented teachers, allied medical and regional staff from the Hume Region for 3 years. We have been trialing and modifying the curriculum in our schools for almost all of that time period.
The curriculum caters for the learning needs of our most profoundly challenged students through to those who are successfully included in mainstream settings but require accommodations and modifications in their individual learning plans.
The best thing about the curriculum is that it allows teachers to identify student strengths and plan learning experiences with those strengths in mind, rather than working from a deficit based medical model.
Take a look for yourself.
Click on the picture to start downloading :)

Mrs Pancake - Free Visual Downloads

Hi Everyone,
Have you discovered the Mrs Pancake website yet? I am always on the hunt for sites which provide me with free quality resources to download and use with my Early Years, visual learners and this site certainly fits the bill. Take look for yourself and sign up for the newsletter which lets you know when new materials have been uploaded.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

You Don't Suffer from Aspergers- You Suffer from Other People - Tony Attwood

Teacher Asistants Big Red Book of Ideas - Sue Larkey & Anna Tullemans

Hi everyone,
I am an Autism Spectrum Disorder teaching and learning coach in the Hume Region in Victoria, Australia. I spend part of my week working alongside teachers in mainstream and special education settings, helping staff to implement autism specific, inclusive strategies .
As well as assisting with issues that arise according to individual needs of students and teachers, the teaching and learning coaches in our region also work to a monthly theme.
March is 'Para-professional Month' ! You may call yours teacher assistants, ESS personnel. SSO's or teacher aides. What ever we call them anyone who has worked with one, knows that they are worth their weight in gold.!
This month we are going to look closely at the practices of support staff in classrooms and encourage and celebrate best practices in our region.
A terrific resource to assist in the professional development of support staff is the 'Teacher Assistants Big Red Book of Ideas' by Sue Larkey and Anna Tullemans. You can purchase the book for AUS $45 at Sue Larkey's website, where you will also find a huge range of other resources to support school staff and families living and working with students on the autism spectrum.
For a detailed product description and purchasing details, click on the cover of the book.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sensory Processing Disorder

Hi Everyone,

I have have just finished putting together some readings for a teacher working with a child with sensory issues. Sensory processing disorders are commonly found in students with autism spectrum disorders but can also be present in otherwise typically developing children. These short videos are a great visual introduction to the topic.

Occupational therapists are skilled in the design and implementation of sensory programs based on simple and effective strategies to help students with sensory difficulties become fully engaged in every day living and learning activities.

The best place to start, if you suspect a child has sensory issues, is with a sensory profile. An occupational therapist will be able to analyse the results of that profile and work out an individual action plan.

The best and most effective interventions take place when the activities honour the dignity of the child, the environment supports the needs of the student, activities are playful and child centred and the therapist, home and school work together toward shared goals.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Simple Yoga Poses for Kids - The Incredible 5 Point Scale & More!

Hi Everyone,
I have been in Traralgon for the past few days with the Positive Partnerships team. During one of the sharing sessions a participant offered the site 'The Incredible 5 Point Scale' as one which other participants might like to check out. I'm not sure who it was because I was in a concurrent session but if you let me know I will give you credit :)
The Incredible 5 Point Scale was developed by two American teachers, Kari Dunn Burun and Mitzi Curtios, to share information about cognitive behavioural approaches for stress reduction in students with an autism spectrum disorder.
I am not familiar with their online products for purchase however I was very impressed with some of the free materials on the web site including a simple, free Yoga PowerPoint download for kids.
You will find the download in area 1 ' Other projects and articles' as well as a terrific free, article on how to use a 5 point scale principle with students with an ASD.
Click on the picture to take a look yourself.

While we are on the topic of kids and yoga, I also downloaded these videos from Youtube for a group of very active students in a mainstream class I was working with. The kids loved them. The beauty of these sorts of activities is that they can so easliy scheduled into the school day as quick movement breaks providing opportunities for self regulation for kids with difficulties in that area as as well as emotional and physical health benefits for everyone in the class, including the teacher!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Childcare Land - Free Resources and Videos

Hi Everyone,
Childcare Land is a terrific site for Early Years teachers in mainstream and special education settings. The site contains an enormous range of free and cheap to purchase activities for early learners . Shelly has prepared a range of free teaching videos, demonstrating how to use the resources on her site and provided the opportunity to download beautifully prepared masters for the activities.
New activites are added to the site every month and you can sign up for the newsletter which will alert you to new resources.
If you want to protect your download limit you can also purchase all of her activities and templates in collections on CD for around USD $16.00 each.
I have been downloading resources from the site for my school for hours this morning. Take look for yourself by clicking on the picture.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Aimee Mullins - Redefining Disability

Hi Everyone,
I have returned from visiting Tahirih Bushey at Autism Games. Tahirih is a speech and language pathologist who specialises in working with children with autism spectrum disorders. I visit her blog every time she posts because she is so inspiring. Tahirih's post for today was not about ASD. It included a link to a 22 minute video featuring Aimee Mullins, Olympic athlete and double amputee, speaking about re-defining the word 'disabled'. I will be showing the clip to everyone I know. I wonder if you will feel the same way once you have seen it. Be sure to drop in to visit Tahirih at Autism Games, to let her know what you thought of the video.

Sheppard Software

Hi Everyone,
My thanks go out to to Jill from Wodonga West Primary School, for introducing me to the Sheppard Software website.
Sheppard Software is another one of those fantastic mixed theme and ability sites that will appeal to early years and primary teachers because it offers a range of activities covering all of the key learning domains.
I love it because it will provide me with loads of activities for my students on the autism spectrum with special interests in environmental and health topics.
Children in Jill's classroom were having a marvelous time completing learning activities based on food chains when I dropped into their classroom for a visit on Friday. Click on the picture to check out the site for yourself.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bullying - No Way !

Hi Everyone,

Sadly the theme for the day is bullying.

My Saturday paper was full of horror stories about school and workplace bullying this morning. I have just finished reading an extract about bullying and the impact on students with Asperger's Syndrome, from Tony Attwoods 'The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome' as part of some preparation for a Positive Partnerships Program workshop I will be involved in next week.

The Bullying - No Way ! website contains a range of resources to address bullying issues. Created as a collaborative project between Victorian government, Catholic and independent school authorites ; it is packed with information and resources to support schools and communities in developing best practice policies and procedures to prevent and deal with the impact of bullying in schools. it also contains links to disability specific information which is terrific.

Click on the picture to take a look.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bar None - Community Awareness Kit for Schools

Hi Everyone,
I have three great novels sitting next to my bed, waiting to be read but they didn't get a look in because I spent my weekend reading time, glued to the pages of the Bar None Community Awareness Kit for Schools'
The kit was developed in collaboration between the Victorian Government, the Catholic Education Office and the Association of Independent Schools of Victoria, to support teachers to create welcoming and inclusive school communities for all.
The five part kit contains:
  • A teacher information book which provides general information, key statistics and some very practical suggestions to create welcoming classrooms.
  • A series of 15 curriculum Units providing practical and engaging classroom activities from Prep to Year 8.
  • A CD -ROM containing all of the documents in the folder as PDF files.
  • A DVD which showcases the perspectives and lived experiences of a school principal, a parent and students across a range of age groups.
  • A train the trainer module, that provides teachers and schools with support regarding the practical application of the kit in their teaching and learning programs.

To download the full kit and preview the DVD, visit The office for Disability website. If you are a Victorian school teacher, ask where your kit has been stored and take the time to review it or better still, complete the training modules, which are fully PD accredited.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

TES i - Board - Free Interactive Whiteboard Activities for Early Years

Hi again,
Have you ever visited the TES i-board site? It has a ridiculous number of very high quality resources for Early Years teachers to use on the interactive whiteboard.
Take look for yourself :)

Working With Traumatised Children - Child Safety Commissioner

Hi Everyone,
Sadly, I have been in the position of working with many traumatised children over the course of my teaching career. Unfortunately, those days are by no means over.
Such trauma may have been caused by war, or the more common experience of growing up neglected and abused.
Many young people grow up well in spite of their traumatic experiences while many others end up in our child protection and care, justice and mental health systems.
It is clear that children who have experienced trauma are impacted physically, cognitively, developmentally, socially and emotionally. Many are so consumed by the impact of their traumatic experiences that their ability to learn is severely compromised.
It can be difficult for teaching and support staff to understand why some students behave in ways which undermine their own health and freedom.
The Child Safety Commissioner has released some excellent, free resources to assist school staff in developing best practice strategies to assist children impacted by trauma. These can be ordered as hard copy texts or printed out in PDF format.
I have just finished reading Laura Downey's 'From Isolation to Connection - A guide to understanding and working with traumatised children and young people' . It is a fantastic, free resource.
I would also advise you to look at some of the other excellent resources on the site which can be ordered or downloaded for free. Just click on the name of the document to download.
Otherwise, visit the Office of the Child Safety Commissioner website to access a range of excellent resources on a whole range of health and child safety topics.
Download These Resources:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Elephant Song - Eric Herman

Hi again,

I spent the whole day today singing this song in my head. I shared it with numerous people at work. I am banned from humming or singing it at home !

Eric Herman has his own Youtube music channel with loads of great songs on it.

This is my favourite . I love it !

We will definitely be learning to sing and sign this song in our Junior Unit this term.

It's silly but quite contagious so be careful or you will be singing, humming or whistling it all day too :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Understanding ADHD - Slide Share

What has happened to Sparklebox ? Weigh it up for yourself.

Hi Everyone,
Late last night I received the email below. Thanks Stephen, for getting in contact with me.
At present, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding the Sparkle Box website, due to the actions and history of the owner.
I have been a huge fan of the Sparklebox site for some time. It is bursting with fantastic, ready made teaching and learning resources. Information that has come to light recently has made all of us who use the site, think about whether we should continue to support it.
I strongly suggest that you read Stephen's email and follow the links below to find information to help you make up your own mind.
Dear Susan,
I have been looking at your blog and can see that you are a fan of the website Sparklebox.co.uk.
In case you do not know, the owner of this site is a convicted paedophile and this site has been banned in the UK by many schools.
One of the biggest risks is that the tool bar that is downloaded from this site could have been used to hunt for victims all over the world.
Please check out the links below and do your own search for further information.
I just wanted to let you know so that teachers and parents, who are trying to protect children, are not causing this person to profit.
Best Regards,
School Principal

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Positive Guidance Techniques - World of Teaching

Hi Everyone,
I have been exploring some amazing free PowerPoint sites over the past few weeks. Today I came across a PowerPoint called Positive Guidance Techniques by Cathy Abraham on the World of Teaching site. I love this quote, which I have read many times before, but it seems timely to read it again just before I am about to embark on a journey into a new school year which will see me working as a teacher of children and teachers.

Universal Design for Learning

A is for Autism F is for Friend - Video