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Friday, January 28, 2011

Coffee Klatch Podcasts on Blog Talk Radio

Hi Everyone,

If you have been following me on Twitter, you will have noticed that I have spent a great deal of time listening to Podcasts on The Coffee Klatch Blog Talk Radio Show this week.
Here is how they describe themselves:

'The Coffee Klatch is an interactive forum on Blog Talk Radio and Twitter bringing you expert guests including award winning authors, doctors, psychologists, advocates and representatives from the world's most respected children's organisations. We feature topics for all disabilities both physical and emotional'

You can also visit The Coffee Klatch at the iTunes store and download shows, which is what I do, because they are so full of great information and ideas ; I will want to listen to them over and over again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

American Speech Language Hearing Association Podcasts(ASHA)

HI Everyone,

I have spent some time this morning, listening to Podcasts produced by ASHA. Each podcast features interviews with people that are making news in the professions of speech -language pathology and audiology.

There are currently 20 free podcasts in the series which cover a wide range of topics. Written transcripts for each podcast and links to key research papers are provided on the ASHA website.

The podcasts can be downloaded from the ASHA website or from the ITunes store.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Let me tell you about Asperegers Syndrome

Hi Everyone,
I use this video when I am working in Middle Years and Secondary settings, when I am invited to speak to groups of students and staff about Aspergers Syndrome.
It is a great tool to loosen tongues and open minds.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What is Twitter - How can I use it?

What is Twitter? - Explania

Hi Everyone,
Jennifer ( my Twitter mentor) has taken me on a crash course in Twitter this week.
I am definitely hooked but need to find a way to keep it manageable.
I have a busy online life as it is!
I have decided to use Twitter to post links, to all the professional reading that I do online, during the week.
If you would like to see what I've been reading all you need to do is join Twitter and look for me under the user ID : Teachersspace
Jennifer has also introduced me to a sensational site called Bitly, which shortens website links. This is a very handy site to have access to, when you have a lot to say and need to say it in 140 characters or less.
I'm already plotting how I might use this tool to encourage reluctant writers with language disorders...?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Innovation In Education - Special and Inclusive too!

Hi Everyone,

I belong to the Educators Guide to Innovation Ning. It is another important part of my professional learning network.

I haunt the discussion posts, I have participated in online, seminars, webcasts, Elluminate sessions and discussion topics for months. I've clicked on 100's of links that have lead me to amazing resources . I have learned so much!

The one thing that is missing from this site, is the strong presence of special and inclusive educators. This means that there is a gap in the innovation process. I think it is time for that to change so I am on a bit of a campaign, to sign up teachers in inclusive and special education settings.

I have created a group on the site called, the 'Special and Inclusive Education Teachers Support Network.

Would you like to join us ?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New to teaching a student with additional Needs? -Misunderstood Minds

Hi Everyone,
One of the most difficult aspects of my role as a coach and mentor to other teachers, in both the special education and mainstream settings, is finding ways to help teachers understand the that a specific learning disability or difference in 'cognitive wiring, ' can have a huge impact how a student learns and how successful they will be as learners.

Until I can demonstrate that, and get the teacher to look at the class setting or curriculum from the student's perspective, I have little no chance of convincing teachers to make accommodations for students or adjusting their teaching and learning practices, to create an accessible and inclusive environment for all students.

The Misunderstood Minds website is a great tool for changing the mind set of teachers and or parents who may be struggling to accept that, or empathise with a student who needs support.
This is what the creators say about their own site:

'This site is a companion to the PBS special Misunderstood Minds, and profiles a variety of learning problems and expert opinions. It is designed to give parents and teachers a better understanding of learning processes, insights into difficulties, and strategies for responding.'

The feature that I use the most is the 'Try it for yourself' activities that are included in each of the learning difference topics. These are simple simulations that allow the user to experience completing a task as if they had the learning disability, difference or sensory distortion themselves.

I would encourage all teachers to visit the site and try the activities. They have been the catalyst for many 'Aha moments' for the teachers that I work with.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Understanding the Parent Perspective : AUTISM IS NOT THE BOSS

Hi Everyone,
If you a teacher who visits this blog, I can't emphasise enough how important it is to understand that parents of students with special or additional needs, need you to understand how the education system looks, from their perspective.

I read loads of parent blogs, every week. They help me to keep my teaching real, relevant and transparent. You will find lots of links to parent blogs, in blogroll section below. You will need to scroll a long way down to find it : - )

Today, while getting a grip on Twitter ( see yesterday's post) I found a blog called 'Autism is Not the Boss' . Please go and read it. The writer is so open and honest about her experiences of raising a child with an autism spectrum disorder, and how she deals with an education system that is evolving, but not always ready to provide what her child needs.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Free language Stuff

Hi again,
My friend Lauren, a speech pathologist in training, has just sent me this link to the 'Free language Stuff ' website. Paul Morris is a speech pathologist with a special interest in teaching language. His site has over 200 free learning activities in worksheet form.
While I am not a big fan of worksheets, especially when a teacher goes to the copier and hits 25 so that s/he has enough of the same worksheet for every student in the class ; I am not opposed to providing resources in a variety of ways, to meet the individual needs of students during each lesson.
Check it out. You might just save yourself a lot of time and find exactly what you have been looking for.

Connecting, sharing and being what tomorrow needs

Hi Everyone,
I would like to introduce you to a few of the latest members of my professional learning network (PLN).

First, go over to the 'Eliminating the Box' blog and find out what Monica has to say on the topics of special education and inclusion. I have been sharing resources from her blog, with other members of my network, all week. Watch the Aimee Mullins - Ted Talk on the Opportunity of Adversity. Also check out the Youtube series called ' Children full of life'. Click on the comment section and discover why I watched it with a box of tissues near by. Perhaps you could leave a comment yourself while you are there, to encourage this amazing blogger to keep writing.

I have also been watching loads of podcasts from the K12 Online Conference 2010, via the iTunes U store. I'm all fired up to ensure that my teaching is providing my students with the tools that they will need to be successful communicators and consumers of information and resources, in the technology driven world they will inherit.
I particularly enjoyed the key note presentation by Dean Shareski, which encourages all teachers to share ideas and practices with others, using Web 2.0 technology.

To expand your PLN, join the K12 Online conference Ning.

I would also like to thank Jennifer, an Australian early years educator, for encouraging me to take a leap into the world of Twitter, which is a minor miracle, because I swore I would never do it!

However, if I really believe teaching is all about being what tomorrow needs, I could hardly refuse Jennifer's generous mentoring.

Click on the twitter button above, to keep me company on my Twitter journey : - )

You will find a link to Jennifer's professional learning network there, because at this stage, she is my first and only follower. Thanks, Jen.

Lastly, on sharing, if anyone can tell me how to attach a hyperlink to a photo in blogger using a Mac, I will be most grateful. I have clicked, fiddled and Googled but still haven't been able to figure it out !

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Multiple Sclerosis Online Information - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Hi Everyone,

You learn something new every day. At risk of doing serious damage to my credibility as a special education teacher, I must admit that I was unaware that children and teens could have multiple sclerosis (MS). It is an autoimmune disease that I have aways associated with people over 20 and I have never had to deal with the issues around the impact of MS in my teaching practice.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has produced an excellent handbook to support the knowledge of school personnel. You can download a copy for your self by clicking here.
I would also encourage you to have a good look around their website which has some terrific online training materials in both written and video format.

I get excited about a discovery like the one I made today. Although my professional and personal life is as overcrowded and busy as any other teachers' , I am a great believer in being prepared. Lighthouse educational practice involves being ready to meet a need before it presents as an issue in the school or in your classroom.

Take some time to read through this 36 page document and browse through the website today.

It never ceases to amaze me, how often I have done that and then needed that information, to support a student, colleague or family, shortly afterward.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Special Education Apps

Hi Everyone,
The Autism Speaks website, has a great list of iProduct Apps that you might like to explore.
I have just put a big dent in my iTunes account so be warned. There are some amazing resources for parents and teachers on this site. Take some time to look around by following this link.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Proprioceptive Sense in children with Hearing and Vision Impairment

Hi Everyone,

You might have guessed that I am taking some time this week, to up skill myself in the area of vision and hearing impairments and the impacts that they have on learners.

As an autism consultant, I am finding that I am frequently in the position of supporting teachers with students with a co-morbid hearing and/ or vision impairment.

This article by David Brown, is a very informative and easy read. It describes what the proprioceptive sense is, how it impacts our ability to learn and strategies teachers can use when this sensory system is challenged.

If you want to join me in some quick professional learning, follow this link to the article.

Auslan Tutor App - Free from the iTunes Store

Hi Everyone,

I am in the process of becoming 'Mac literate'. I bought a Mac book just before Christmas. It is taking me twice as long to write posts and anything else, that I would normally do with a computer. Perhaps it is a foolish thing to do, when I have just committed to being more prolific on my blog this year.

Got to love the journey though - right?

Today though, I want to draw your attention to the Auslan Tutor App for Apple iProducts such as the iPad and iPhone. You don't have to have a hearing impaired student or family member, to benefit from using this application. I use key word signing daily in my work; primarily to provide visual cues to support the receptive language skills of my students. I encourage teachers that I support and mentor to do the same.

Some of these teachers have taken the use of this application one step further and are using it as their text and resource to teach their students Auslan too. The students love it and it is creating an inclusive culture in schools in preparation for a child with a hearing impairment, choosing to sign, who may be enrolled in that school down the track.

Using the video reference library, you could learn a word a day, or add signs to class songs. As they say, 'From little things big things grow'.

The best bit is that it is free! So, follow the link to the iTunes store for more information and to download it today.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Auditory System and Hearing Impairment - Free E-learning Course

Hi Everyone,

Today I completed a free E-Learning course, offered by the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children - Renwick Centre, which is part of the University of Newcastle.

The Course ' Auditory System Hearing and impairment' is aimed at people looking for an introduction to hearing impairment and the auditory system. I found it interesting as a teacher and as the middle aged daughter of elderly parents, adjusting to hearing loss that is the result of the normal ageing process.

The topics covered are:
  • The anatomy of the ear
  • Causes of hearing loss
  • Types and degree of hearing loss
  • Audiograms
  • Hearing aids
  • Cochlear implants
  • Tactics to help when communicating with people who have a hearing loss.
Check it out for yourself by clicking on the hyperlinks.

Happy New Year

Hi Everyone,
It is hard to believe that another year has passed and I am sitting here making plans for the new school year.

I am feeling a bit embarrassed, that I have neglected this blog during the past 12 months. I plan to make amends for this, over the next few weeks before the Australian school year starts again.

2010 was a very busy year. Too busy in fact!
I had three jobs and spent lots of time working on Nings and websites to support those roles. I loved working for the Positive Partnerships Team, travelling all over Victoria, teaching teachers about inclusive practices for working with students on the autism spectrum.

It was also my first year working for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, as an autism coach. That involved visiting teachers in mainstream and special education settings 3 days a week; providing support and guidance to meet the needs of specific students in their natural environments. I have a two year contract now, to continue that work, so I must be doing something right!

I did miss having a class of my own last year. I will be in the same position this year. However, in my 2 day a week role at Belvoir Special School, this year, I will be able to get back into the classroom again and work with some sensational kids, with a wide range of learning strengths and challenges. I am so much looking forward to that!

I am trying hard to get my work life balance in order. It has been an ongoing issue with me. Every year it tops my New Year's resolution list and I am making some headway. It is a small steps process for me though.

Thanks to all of those people who visited my blog in 2010. There were over 96 000 of you. I really appreciate you sticking with me . Many thanks to all of the parents, therapists and teachers, who have kept me informed and 'real' in the way that I view 'differbility' and inclusive practice. I love reading your blogs, so please keep writing them.

Have safe a sensational New Year : - D

Universal Design for Learning

A is for Autism F is for Friend - Video