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Greetings from a Vegas-Bound Plane and a Special Education Blog Hop
Instagram! I'll be sure to let you know if I win anything! In the meantime I have a couple of things to share and a blog hop to give you some other blogs to peruse in my absence.
I wanted to link up with Tales of a Carolina Girl who has a fantastic linky of special education blogs. This is a great opportunity to find some new blogs, some of which just got started this summer, with all different types of special educators. You know my favorite saying is that more ideas are always better so I am very happy to find some new folks to get ideas from! So this is a get acquainted linky with the information on the graphic below. You can click on the graphic itself to get to the link-up and check out the other blogs.
So, here's the skinny. I'm not technically a teacher in that I don't have a classroom in a k-12 school, although I have worked in plenty and run a program for students with ASD. Currently I have many many hats that I wear. My primary hat is that of an educational autism consultant. I spent a good bit of time traveling around the country providing professional development and consultation / support to school districts working with students with autism, behavioral issues and a variety of disabilities. I've been doing this in various forms for more years than I care to admit-I have realized I have reached that age I thought would never come--when I didn't really want to calculate how long I had been working in this field! Let's just say that I started working in this field when I was very, very young and leave it at that. I love this job as I get to take amazing ideas from one teacher and share them with other teachers who might never meet them. I also get the chance to work on a variety of challenging situations that keep my problem solving skills sharp and I get to support teachers who I think are some of the most amazing people on earth.
In addition to working with amazing teachers and administrators, not to mention the students who I consider my kids because most of them I get to know over long periods of time, I also am adjunct faculty teaching ABA and autism graduate courses and supervising dissertations at Nova Southeastern University, where I used to work full time. I developed the ABA graduate programs there and worked with Sue Kabot to develop the autism courses as well. Now I just teach them so I have more time to do the things I love.
And my advice to new teachers starting out is this. Take the time at the beginning of the year, before the students come to do three main things. Learn everything you can about your students by reviewing their IEPs and educational files. I know that at the beginning of the year there are always more meetings to go to than is useful (I know, I used to schedule them and hated that I had to use that time that way) and there is so much to do. But how you set up your classroom depends on who your students are. The more you know, the more you can prepare. From that information, take the time to set up your furniture and visual supports in the classroom and develop a schedule. Don't try to play it by ear. If you work with students with autism, or really any kids, you need a plan. It probably won't be the schedule you end up with once you get settled in, but it will give you a plan to work with that first day and will let you figure out what worked and what didn't so you can make changes as needed. And finally, set up an initial staff zoning plan to schedule out the responsibilities of any staff you are working with. If you check out this post, it has a list of posts about setting up classrooms that give more ideas about setting up classrooms. Good luck and keep your sense of flexibility and humor!
I'll be back later this week with the first post about behavioral support plans to continue the series on 5 Steps to Meaningful Behavioral Support.
Until next time,