Teaching for difference teaching differently
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Teaching for difference, teaching differently?. What happens?. If you think in pictures and your teacher always wants you to write words? Your learning program is reduced to mastering ‘basic’ skills and your mind is not extended in areas you are good at?

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Teaching for difference, teaching differently?

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Teaching for difference, teaching differently?

What happens?

  • If you think in pictures and your teacher always wants you to write words?

  • Your learning program is reduced to mastering ‘basic’ skills and your mind is not extended in areas you are good at?

  • You know a lot about something and are desperate to share that but nobody wants to hear?

  • Doing too much writing and reading makes you really tired and the words move around on the page, but the teacher just thinks you’re lazy?

  • Who do you plan for?

  • When does planning for difference occur?

  • What ‘homework’ do you do?

Autism, ASD, Asperger’s Syndrome

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the name given to describe the wide range of behaviours amongst the Autistic population. Children with autism are less able to interact with the world as other children do. Typically they have deficits in three key areas:
           • Verbal and non-verbal Communication
           • Social awareness and interactions 
           • Imaginative play (variable interests and behaviours).There are  separate labels given to children with autism for different points on the Autism spectrum. At the least affected end, you may find labels such as "Asperger's Syndrome", "High Functioning Autism”. At the other end of the spectrum you may find labels such as "Autism", "Classic Autism" and "Kanner Autism".

To get support for these students

  • Must have a formal diagnosis

  • Paediatrician

  • Often psychologist, occupational therapists, speech pathologists etc may also be involved in diagnosis and therapy

Autism & Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • What are they?

  • How do these students ‘present’ in the classroom?

  • Strategies and considerations

  • Diagnosis issues

  • Working with others

  • Planning considerations

What people know?

  • Social issues

  • Obsessive behaviour and interests

  • Language and communications issues (autism generally delayed or no speech)

  • Repetitive or stereotypical actions – flapping, rocking

Less well known

  • Eating and food issues – limited diet, swallowing problems

  • Handwriting (dysgraphia) – fine motor skills, processing issues, size, spacing etc

  • Spelling – little phonological awareness, sound/letter correspondence issues

  • Vestibular & Proprioceptive (position-movement sense) and sensory processing issues – hyper & hypo-sensitive to auditory, visual tactile & olfactory input


  • What are the issues for this student in this circumstance?

  • What strategies could be considered?

  • Where/how could this be incorporated into planning?

What do you do if student is not diagnosed?

Teachers practices identified in accounts

  • She talked to me like I was human

  • He switched me on to Science

  • He was strict but also made learning fun

  • She didn’t embarrass me in front of the other students

  • She stopped the bullying from happening at lunch time.

Great resources

  • http://www.bookinhand.com.au/

  • http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/specialed/docs/autism.pdf

  • Luke’s way of looking (storybook) Nadia Wheatley & Matt Ottley

  • Movies (not necessarily for children) Temple Grandin, Mozart & the Whale

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