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Easy Special Education Professional Development

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special education professional development

Summer is finally here for some of us, and almost here for the rest of us. I think we can all agree on one thing: we need a break. If you’re anything like me, after some time, you start thinking about school again. It’s hard to turn my brain off from teaching when you love what you do, so I wanted to share easy things I do for special education professional development.

I’d like to start off with saying that if you just want to stick around here on my blog and look at some blog posts I’ve written that can help spark some ideas here are a few:

8 Questions about Work Task Systems

How I Setup My Autism Classroom Schedule

Tips for Running Morning Meeting

Para-professional Instructional Areas

Setting Up a Fluency Station in an Autism Classroom

Fortunately, if you are looking for some great books and podcasts to listen to enhance your teaching practice, you’re in the right place. Here we go:

Education Professional Development Podcasts Worth a Listen:

Truth for Teachers Podcast

Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers podcast is worth listening to. The tagline of this podcast is “I’m here to speak life, encouragement, and truth into the minds and hearts of educators. And get you energized for the week ahead.” Angela was a lower elementary teacher turned instructional coach. Each podcast episode is between 10 and 30 minutes long. I love this length because, sometimes it’s hard to listen to lengthy podcasts, no matter how excellent the content may be. She often speaks about the challenges and rewards in teaching. Some of her podcasts include “How to cope when a parent just doesn’t like you” and “How to support kids who don’t take ownership of their learning”.

The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast

Cult of Pedagogy is another great podcast for teachers. Jennifer Gonzales is the host of the podcast and a former middle school teacher. More importantly, each episode is about thirty minutes long, which is perfect for listening to as I get ready in the morning. She focuses on teaching strategies, classroom management, education reform, and educational technology. However, she offers a fresh perspective on all things teaching and emphasizes the importance of communication. On the podcast, she will interview various people, including parents, students, teachers, and administrators which allows us to get the perspective of different individuals. If you are interested, you can check out her podcast here: https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/pod/

Special Education Professional Development Podcasts Worth a Listen:

The Autism Helper Podcast: Sasha Long

Needing something to listen to for a boost of special education professional development, check out The Autism Helper podcast. Sasha Long is the host of this podcast. She is a former middle school autistic support teacher, BCBA, blogger, and now she does a podcast for teachers. In addition, the episodes are between 30 minutes and an hour long. She explores different strategies for improving the lives of people with autism. Simultaneously, Sasha has conversations with various people and offers good perspective. In other words, she has podcasts for everything from school readiness, to organization, to literacy programs. Here is her podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-autism-helper-podcast/id1443908794?mt=2

Mary Barbera Podcast

And last, but not least in terms of podcasts, on my list of suggestions is the Turn Autism Around podcast with Dr. Mary Barbera. Her website states the following: “Autism is explored through different angles, with insights into how to turn things around through interviews with top autism experts and stories from those touched personally by autism. Most impressively, this podcast ties all of this together by shifting the way we as professionals and parents look at and treat autism.” However, this podcast is well known and well-respected. Dr. Mary Barbera is a BCBA and she has great perspective on all things autism. You can find her podcast here: https://www.marybarbera.com/podcast/

Special Education Professional Development Books I Couldn’t Put Down

Accordingly, if you’re looking for outline content about autism in the form of a book, Temple Grandin’s The Autistic Brain is an amazing book to add to your summer reading list. Even more as you begin to read, you will understand the history of autism. She includes chapters on visual thinking, pattern thinking, word thinking and math thinking. Really any book by Temple Grandin is amazing, but I would recommend starting with The Autistic Brain. You can get this book on Amazon here:

Video Presentations to Watch

Another great resources to check out is the National Autism Conference website. This is a free archive of conference sessions help at Penn State University each year. There are hours of videos to choose from, about a variety of topics including social contingencies, successful inclusion, and teaching advanced verbal behavior. There are also PDF notes and resources to accompany many of the video sessions. Here is the link to get to the archived presentations: https://autism.outreach.psu.edu/archive/

special education professional development

Lastly, there is this website that allows you to watch modules about the lastest researched-based practices in working with students with autism. To clarify, this provides an excellent quick and easy source of summer professional development for teachers in the special education field. This website is called the Autism Internet Modules or AIM. Some of the modules are based off of case studies and also can potentially provide you with continuing education credits depending on what your school allows. You can find this website here: https://autisminternetmodules.org/

In a nutshell, I’m always on the lookout for resources that will help me enhance my teaching practice. This blog post contains just a few resources that I’ve stumbled across lately. Do you have any recommendations for me? If you do, let me know in the comments!