Monthly Archives: March 2017

Behavior Plan For Parents of Newly Diagnosed Autistic Children

Not sure about ever following a behaviour plan myself, but this looks a useful set of guidelines for parents and carers of children with new diagnoses… what do you think? What would you add? 🙂

Thirty Days of Autism

Behavior Plan For Parents of Newly Diagnosed Autistic Children:
  by Lei Wiley-Mydske

Your feelings about autism are constructed by living in a world that fears and stigmatizes disabled lives.  Your distress about an autism diagnosis are most certainly because of these unhealthy messages.  Please remember that your behavior in regards to your child’s diagnosis is a choice.  Signing this behavior plan means that you will always put the dignity, autonomy, and love for your child above buying into the dominant narrative of tragedy or the belief that autism is something that the Autistic person is doing to you.

  • I promise to never use my child’s most vulnerable moments for sympathy or to “raise awareness”.   I recognize that I am my child’s safety net against an often hostile world.  When I feel like sharing, I will ask myself if this is something that I would want others to share about…

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This Year


Pernille Ripp

“Has this year made it harder or easier to write, Mrs. Ripp?”

We are sitting in circle today (a restorative justice process we use to communicate), and the question now hangs between us, fourteen kids staring at me, waiting for an answer.

I know what she is asking me; has this year, with this group of kids, made me write less or more?  Has this year been too tough to handle or have I found inspiration?  What will I tell others about the kids I teach?

I don’t hesitate, I tell her the truth, after all; these kids tell me their truth all of the time.

So I tell her it has been hard.  That I have had to weigh my words more carefully.  To really craft the sentences that have been published on this blog.  To think deeper before hitting publish.  To take a moment to breathe before I…

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It’s On Us

Pernille Ripp


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

Pernille Ripp

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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