START RCN Coaches Newsletter


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Apps for Autism

Technology is an amazing tool to use for ourselves, our teaching practices and our students. We've been exploring ways to use iPads for our students with ASD. Have you explored the accessibility features on your iPad? Here are two of our top features that you can use on any iPad!

1. Guided Access - Want your student to stay on task on a certain app but they keep closing it out to play something different? This feature allows you to "lock" a student into an app so they cannot access other apps! To use Guided Access, go to Settings, then General>Accessibility>Guided Access. Turn it on and set a passcode. Once in any app, triple click your home button, enter the passcode and it will turn on Guided Access. You can even block out screen buttons using the Hardware Buttons option. The only way to exit Guided Access then is to triple click the home button again, enter the passcode and then "end" it when the screen comes up.

2. Speak Selection - Do you have a student that struggles with reading or has better comprehension when content is read to him/her? Use speak selection to highlight any content in an email, a document or found online and it will read it aloud to him/her. To turn this feature on, go to Settings, then General>Speech>Speak Selection. Turn it on and adjust the speaking rate. Then, highlight content and choose "speak" on the pop-up menu and it will read it aloud.

Want to learn about more ways to use iPads for students with Autism? Register for our Apps for Autism training on January 14, 2016. It is a half day training that will share apps for a variety of curriculum areas. Register at You will find the Apps training and other START trainings under the Special Education tab.

A Guide for Parents

Shared from

Puberty can be a time of mixed feelings for parents and pre-teens. It may be a time of pride and celebration, as well as a time of worry and confusion. It is hard for pre-teens to understand the many changes that come along with puberty. Also, parents may feel unsure of how to explain these changes to their child.

All parents eventually face the challenge of teaching their children about the natural changes of puberty. However, parents of pre-teens with ASD may need the help of additional strategies to ease the transition. Our aim in developing this tool is to provide guidance on the subject of puberty that can be directly applied to pre-teens with ASD. In doing so, we hope to increase families' understanding of puberty and their ability to adapt to these changes with confidence.

Download ATN/AIR-P Puberty and Adolescence Resource: A Guide for Parents of Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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See Amazing In All Children

Sesame Street, has an awesome, new program: “See Amazing in All Children!” It focuses on autism and helping young viewers understand ASD so that they can learn to be more accepting of their classmates or siblings. It stars Julia, an adorable little girl, who is a friend of Elmo’s and who has autism. The storybook “We’re Amazing, 1, 2, 3!” is in digital form and features Elmo and his friends Abby Cadabby and Julia.

This initiative is sponsored by a variety of organizations including Autism Speaks, the Autism Society, The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) and the ARC. There is the storybook, several videos, and more information for adults to talk to children about ASD. As a bonus, there is also a section of clickable activity cards that walks the child through the steps of an activity such as brushing one’s teeth or going to the store.

This is a great resource for our early childhood and elementary classrooms! Check it out at

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Paula Kluth is the queen of inclusion! She recently began a quartlerly newsletter that you can sign up for on her website but she also has many great resources online, too! Here are 10 ideas for adapting textbooks to differentiate instruction:

1. Rewrite History: Adapt content

2. Review, Rewrite

3. Show instead of Tell

4. Let them Listen

5. Highlight Key Concepts

6. Move Beyond the Book

7. Fracture the Chapter

8. Peer Support

9. Learning in Color

10. Classroom Created Textbook.

Read about all of these ideas here:

Upcoming START Trainings

January 14 - Apps for Autism

January 21 - Introduction to Peer to Peer

February 22 - START RCN Coaches meeting

March 10 - Peer to Peer Curriculum Supports

March 22 - Asperger Syndrome

May 2 - START conference

Acceptance is the best gift!

There have been many feel good stories about individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the news recently - some right in our own state! If you haven't already read these stories, be sure to check them out to put you in the mood for the holidays!

Santa's Powerful Message for Boy with Autism: "It's OK to be you"

Santa lies down on the floor for boy with Autism

Heartwarming story about Meijer-bought birthday cake melts internet

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START New Year's Resolutions

As we approach the new year, we wish to offer you some START New Year's Resolutions:

Stick With It - Even when the mountain seems impossible, you will be amazed how high you can climb if you just keep going!

Teamwork - Teamwork makes the team work!

Act Instead of React - Prevention limits the chaos that reaction brings.

Run - Don't run away, but rather run: Exercise is an excellent way to decompress and stay healthy to keep you resourceful in the classroom!

Take Time to Laugh - Laughter has been shown to be one of the most effective stress reducers of all. Find humor in yourself and your situation!

May you be efficient, productive, and full of good humor as you START the new year. Happy 2016!


Please contact your ASD TC if you have any questions or need additional support:

Amy Chorley -

Angie Chinevere -

Barb Olszewski -

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