It’s On Us


We know we set the mood of our classrooms.

We know that the power we have to make a day better or worse is immense.

We know that what we think about a kid, or a class, sometimes matters more than what we actually do.  After all, kids can read us in ways we have yet to fathom.

So when I had gotten stuck on a class being negative.  When I had formed a narrative in my mind that a class was never excited to come to English.  When I had decided that this was my least engaged class, I was right.  Because the moment I decided it, it became true.

Kids will gladly live up to what we believe they are.

And every day I would think of ways I could get the kids to change.

Every day I would think of ways to re-engage them.  To discuss with them…

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Introducing Passionate Readers – My New Book

When I moved to 7th grade English, I didn’t know how much this change would affect me.  How I would spend more hours than I had ever spent trying to help all of my students like reading more.  How their reading truths would shape me as a teacher.  How there would be lost sleep, but also triumphant moments of knowing that what we did together made a difference to a kid.  That what we did together meant that a child might actually keep reading or even start back up.

I have shared our experiences here.  I have spoken about it wherever I have been invited.  I have taken the words of my students and held them up for others to learn from because they have taught me so much.  Through their insight, I was able to become a better teacher, even if I still don’t have all of the answers.


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It took me 32 years to get a diagnosis. Why is autism in girls still overlooked?

On International Women’s Day 2017! 🙂

Scope's Blog

Carly is an Autism advocate, filmmaker and speaker. She wasn’t diagnosed with autism until she was 32, after two of her daughters were diagnosed. She found it a battle to get a diagnosis and started to notice a lack of understanding and resources when it came to autism and girls.

For International Women’s Day, she shares her journey and talks about why we need to start recognising and supporting autistic women and girls. 

Growing up feeling different

My earliest memory is being the kid that couldn’t go to preschool without my mum staying. My mum actually got a job at the preschool so I would go! I remember it seeming very noisy and busy. All the kids were playing but I wasn’t. Then when I started school that didn’t change. I remember feeling very different then and things got even harder in secondary school. I was really anxious. I started realising that I never got invited to birthday parties…

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The DSM 5 Autism criteria – rewritten with neurodiversity in mind


For Emma, Jane and my new book about Autism and mental illness, I had to dig out the diagnostic criteria for Autism in the DSM- 5. It made me sad, so I decided to whip out my advocate brush and give it a neurodiversity-based touch-up. I hope you like it. I’m not sure how a doctor would use it but I prefer it to the original version. The way it works is that I have listed each category of the DSM -5 diagnostic criteria for Autism in italics and underneath have redrafted it. Enjoy.

A. Persistent deficits in social communication and interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by all of the following (currently or by history):

1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity

2. Deficits in nonverbal communication behaviours used for social interaction

3. Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships

Specify current severity based on social communication impairments and restricted, repetitive patterns…

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444: 10 Reasons to Embrace Aspergers

Everyday Asperger's

10 Reasons to Embrace Your Asperger’s

1. You’re gifted and most-likely highly-intelligent, if not borderline-genius in some areas.

2. You experience life in completion, all the range and spectrum of emotions. You are truly living. You are truly having a human experience. You aren’t stuffing and avoiding.

3. You have soul-filled deep eyes. No matter where you go, people will notice your depth of character, strength, and aptitude. You are brilliantly bright in your beauty and introspection; this light shines through.

4. You are complex to the extreme, never boring, never out of ideas, never dull. Your company is needed and longed for. You may not know it yet, but someone wants someone just like you. With all your quirks and zaniness. Your uniqueness inspires!

5. You have the brain to figure yourself out (and other people, to boot). It may not feel like it, but you know yourself to…

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ALT 2017-2020 Strategy Launch

What could this mean for SpLD learners? The principle of openness talks to me immediately… 🙂


Greater than the sum of our parts

Never mind the UK Government’s UK government digital strategy,  the most important strategy launch this week is the ALT  2017 – 2020 Strategy.

As Vice Chair of ALT I have been quite heavily involved in the development of the strategy. We have made a concerted effort to get input from our members through an extensive consultation process on their priorities . This has to form the basis of the work of the association.  Our Chair, Professor Martin Weller summarised this approach perfectly:

“As Chair, I’ve found the manner in which the strategy has been developed as significant as the strategy itself. ALT champions open practice, and the development of the strategy was an opportunity to ‘walk the talk’. The webinars, face to face session, and online form were all examples of how we seek to gather input from all members. The strategy itself provides a clear direction for the…

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The Reading Identity Challenge


At the beginning of the year, I asked my students to tell me how they felt about reading.  I do this every year as it offers me a baseline, a glimpse into their reading truths.  I was not surprised at the results, 25% told me they loved it, 50% told me they didn’t mind it, and the final 25%?  They told me they hated it.  Perhaps slightly higher than normal, but nevertheless, teaching 7th graders, I was not worried.  After all, every year it seems this happens and every year, children change their minds.

This year, though, some have proven to be stubborn.  Those kids that hate reading, they still were fighting me every step of the way.  Abandoning books, which we do embrace, every single day.  Refusing to book shop even.  Flipping pages aimlessly day in and day out.  Not having any desire to change their hatred, content with…

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The Absence of Critical Thinking

What is your experience?

It Must Be Mum

The best education I received was led by exceptional Nurse Teachers and Leaders.  They had PhDs and they taught us to think, question and evaluate carefully the informtaion that was presented to us.

Yesterday a bizarre collection of statements was compiled in a document and published, then seemingly inadequate reporting of this followed making me aware again, of just how fortunate I have been with this element of my education.

It struck me that both the document and the reporting of its findings by the media lack the most basic levels of critical thinking.  

Take this for example:

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Everyday Aspie

Reposted from the blog Everyday Aspergers, by Samantha Craft

I have to say that twelve was rather easy. I was still very much a child, almost fairy-like, or elven, always into innocent mischief and adventure.

The turmoil hit at the age of thirteen. That is when my hormones shifted and life suddenly became bleak, overwhelming and unmanageable. I discovered a new form of escapism then, a more ‘difficult’ escapism than before; I became more observant of myself and actions, understanding complexities in a new degree that felt unfamiliar and frightening. Before, I would leap into my imagination quite naturally and without pretense. Now, it seemed as if I escaped to get away from some pending danger.

Wherein my world once felt light and airy, full of possibility, and all things magical and hopeful, it now felt dark, dingy and doom-filled.

I didn’t have an active social life for most of…

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I’m not avoiding you, I have face blindness! – End the Awkward

Scope's Blog

Carly is an Autism advocate, filmmaker and speaker. She wasn’t diagnosed with autism until she was 32, and now works to raise awareness of autism and girls.

For End the Awkward, Carly shares some of her own awkward experiences, especially those related to a lesser known aspect of autism – face blindness.

I was diagnosed with autism at 32. It’s typically seen as a male condition, but I have three daughters and two of them are autistic. Everyone I knew with autistic children had sons. There was nothing for girls. So I went on the internet and looked up everything I could about autism and girls. That’s when I first thought “I’m autistic too!”

Misconceptions about autism

When I was 14 my parents took me to see a psychiatrist because I was having difficulties. I couldn’t go to school, I was constantly anxious, I spent a lot of time in…

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