Help me cure the one thing I hate about having Tourette’s


I pray my son has this kind of understanding when he is older. He’s going through a very rough time now.


Having Tourette’s has definitely made my life different. It’s hard to be “normal” when I’m always drawing people’s attention for the weird sounds I make or the odd behaviors that I just can’t stop doing. I avoid a lot of situations especially crowded places where people stare and sometimes openly laugh. I deal with aches and injuries when my tics get bad. On bad days it can make it impossible to work with my hands, a big problem for someone who works with tiny pieces of wire. I wait for movies to come out on DVD rather than risk upsetting other movie goers with my often loud vocal tics. When I was in school my outbursts were disruptive to classes, teachers were often frustrated with me and other students weren’t exactly accepting of my weirdness.

As many negatives as Tourette’s has brought to my life I’m not sure I’d ever…

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Who is Supporting My SPED Child?


Support is always good, but I would always check out any staff member that interacts with your child. It’s very important to the success of your child. In the state of Delaware, credentials can be seen for teachers and paraprofessionals at


This is a very important question for all parents to ask. Ask this question at the yearly IEP meeting, but also ask throughout the year because teachers are constantly changing groupings as students’ needs change. Often high needs students are supported by a teaching assistant, not the teacher. There are strict state and national standards for teacher preparation programs and for teaching licensing, however most teaching assistants are not licensed and many do not have a degree in education. They are typically not the most qualified person in the classroom, which is why they should not be instructing students, especially our most vulnerable. NCLB, a federal education bill, has set forth guidelines for the use of teaching assistants. They are available for you to read at the US Department of Education link provided. Many IEPs are written so that either a teacher or paraprofessional can provide services to your child…

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Our Students Need More Time to Reflect and Prepare


I’ve always believed students need more time to prepare for the next class or lesson. Breaks are designed not only to get ready for the next thing, but to refresh your mind and clear the air for what comes next. Countries like Finland give many breaks during the day, and guess what, they are considered #1 in education by many in the world. Something to think about.

Special Education Tools

It’s been a spell, and for that I apologize. I’ve been busy trying to get back into the grind of being IN BED at 10 p.m., up at 5:30 a.m. (because I am slow in the morning and need time to get my wits about me).

This year I have the best schedule EVER. I have a first period class three days a week teaching the Exploring Computer Science curriculum, which is fun. Five days per week, I have second period OFF to PLAN. Then five days per week, I co-teach two classes. Then lunch. Then advisory two days per week. Then co-teaching two more classes, then done! Or, well, done TEACHING. Still have to grade, eat, meditate, etc.

graphic showing all the different things to consider in managing time There are so many aspects to time management. Perhaps we just need to allow ourselves more time.

Having breaks throughout the day does wonders for my state of mind. Frequent breaks…

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* Social skills rubric for recess


I think recess is one of toughest classes of the day for any child that needs to work on social skills. You are expected to release all this pent-up energy, but you have to do it within an expected norm. For this type of child, the lines can get very blurry. This is why supervision is extremely important. Events can change rapidly, and something deemed innocent can quickly go south.

Teachezwell Blog

I’ve been asked to create some sample rubrics for social skills.  The following rubric is for a high functioning autistic kid who struggled at recess.  He did not use recess effectively to “chill out” (which can be vital to an ASD kid’s daily survival), nor did he feel satisfied with how he occupied himself during recess.  Wandering around was sometimes a good method of relaxing, but he was conflicted between isolating himself a little and also wanting to make friends.  He had “buttons” that a few kids delighted in pushing, so he needed an advocate (adult or classmate) to support him at times.

Remember that each rubric should be individualized to reflect the needs of the student.  Rubrics should also represent actual rehearsal of skills through role-playing and videotaping, or they’re largely a waste of time.  If a student has “getting help”on a rubric, make sure some adult is actually going to help…

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* Social skills: rubric for cafeteria


Lunch. One of the areas where the most problems can occur. Teachezwell gets it. If you aren’t following her blog, I would start now. This is special education at it’s very best!

Teachezwell Blog

Again, in response to a request, here is a rubric for eating in the cafeteria.  Cafeterias tend to be large and noisy.  The following rubric would be useful for kids on the autism spectrum as well as kids with ADHD and social skills weaknesses.

You’ll notice that that the rubric can be used to determine whether kids are getting foods they like to eat.  Kids need adequate nutrition if they are to make it through a long school day.  I have found that some kids need support in asking for food they want, rather than simply accepting the tray handed to them.  Cafeteria workers are under time pressure; if a kid cannot easily be heard or make a quick decision, that child may not get what they want.  Parents and teachers can help with this, whether it is practice in speaking clearly, holding up an index card, or checking the menu…

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