Newsela Bolsters Literacy in Science

Looking for a way to provide non-fiction articles on the same topic with reading levels from elementary to high school? Newsela is the answer. Newsela is a Chrome app that provides articles relevant to what is happening in the world today. A new addition to this great resource is the introduction of Newsela Science, leveled articles from Scientific American and other leading publications that are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). They have enlisted science teachers to help students make real-world connections and think critically about the content being presented to them. Using the binder feature it is easy to create a class to track assignments and progress on quizzes. When articles are assigned to the class, Newsela automatically delivers a version of the article appropriate for the grade level.

Find Newsela in the Chrome store

All-in -One-Visual-Support-Tool


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Creating and organizing the many visual supports used with students can at times be a daunting task. Tabi Jones-Wohleber however has created an All-in-one-Visual-Support Tool that helps to organize a variety of visuals compactly into a small 5”x8.5” binder. This nifty tool includes a First/Then board, a Personal Picture Schedule, and a Task Analysis Checklist, with a Finished Pocket on the front cover.  Each of these is easily available by flipping or opening the folded board, which is adhered to the Finished Pocket.  A Token Reward board is on the back cover. The picture symbols and tokens for all these tools are housed inside the binder on plastic tabbed dividers. The directions, complete with visual step by step directions for the All-in-One-Visual-Support-Tool can be found on the PrAACtical AAC website under the PrAACtical Thinking tab.

5th Annual Virtual TechKnowledgy Conference

5th annual Virtual TechKnowledgy Conference offers three consecutive days of inspiring webinars beginning with a keynote on November 10 by Therese Willcomm, Director of New Hampshire’s State Assistive Technology Program with the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire.  Dr. Willcomm, often referred to as the “MacGyver of AT,” will offer a fast-paced session demonstrating many creative, low-cost AT solutions. On November 11, you will not want to miss Dr. Joy Zabala’s webinar reminding us of the value of using the SETT Framework to make AT decisions. To close out the week on November 12, Chris Bugaj will entertain us and teach us about the many AT resources available through Twitter.  Join us for this full week of inspiring AT information!

Registration is available at the TechKnowledgy Conference website.

Sesame Street introduces Julia, a muppet with Autism


Who doesn’t recognize “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?” the familiar words to the theme song for Sesame Street?  Since it’s beginning Sesame Street has been known for helping to teach ABCs, 123s, and other academic skills, such as vocabulary, math, and science. However they have also strived to help educate youngsters and their families about diversity, acceptance and inclusion of those with disabilities. In keeping with their promotion of disability awareness they are introducing a new character, Julia, that has Autism. At this time Julia is only featured in their online resources but will hopefully be making an appearance in their television show as well. Julia is part of an online initiative called “Sesame Street and Autism: See the Amazing in all Children”, that provides resources for viewers on the spectrum, as well as educates the general public about autism. Resources available on the Sesame Street and Autism website,, feature Muppet Abby, who in a series of short videos, introduces viewers to parents, siblings, friends, teachers and kids impacted by autism and celebrates their uniqueness.

Minecraft, Autcraft and Autism

Some teachers have implemented Minecraft, a game of discovery, construction, and learning, to teach mathematics, physics, history, and reading comprehension. The game is also popular among individuals with autism as it helps to develop creativity, flexibility, and other important thinking skills. Stuart Duncan, who is autistic and also has a son with autism, has shared that the sandbox game Minecraft has proven incredibly beneficial for those on the spectrum. Duncan was however concerned with the games embeded social skills  and how they impacted the players who were were unable to understand some of the social nuances presented. To help make Minecraft a more user-friendly game for individuals with autism, he created Autcraft, an invitation only Minecraft server for people on the spectrum and their families. It is a safe place that works to create a bully free environment while improving social skills, communication and teamwork. For more information on Autcraft and how to join visit the website

Minecraft breaks down classroom barriers


Who would of thought that a video game that gives kids the tools to build with 3D blocks and dig holes in a virtual reality would lead to improving skills in the classroom. Minecraft is a game of discovery, construction, and learning, and it’s being used in a variety of school settings for mathematics, physics, history, and reading comprehension. Scott McKenzie, a teacher, uses Minecraft in his classroom to help remove barriers and provide students who struggle a means to show what they know.

10 Tips on communicating with someone with a disability

Mary is a full of life young lady with some advice on communicating with someone who has a disability. Mary, who has a disability herself, provides tips on proper disability etiquette. Check out Mary as she shares Mary’s Top 10 Communication Tips when communicating with an individual who has a disability.

DIY weighted lap pad

Sandwich bags, rice and duct tape are inexpensive materials that are available in many stores. These three items are all is needed to create this easy do it your self project. With duct tape today available in such a wide range of colors and patterns it is possible to create individual lap pads featuring a students favorite color, pattern or character.  For those students who need a softer coverving slip the finished lap pad into a pillowcase. Step by step directions with pictures can be found  at

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True self-determination

What do you think of when you picture a self-determined individual? Do you see someone who is self assured, someone able to advocate for themselves, making choices and decisions that allow them to gain life experiences perhaps? Bailey Matthews is an eight year old who fits that profile. Using all of those attributes of self-determination he competed in a triathlon. He swam, rode his bike and ran to reach the finish line. He used bubbles for support when swimming, added bike wheels for balance when riding and finishing the last steps of the running without his walker.