I completed my Masters Degree in Education at Simon Fraser University, focusing on Supporting Educators in Understanding the Experience of Students on the Autism Spectrum.
In September 2011 I also became a part of the instructional team for Simon Fraser University’s Graduate Field Studies Program “Supporting Diverse Learners.” This has been an exciting opportunity to work in a mentorship role with educators to support them in building their understanding(s) and capacities within the teacher research paradigm and for their own work to support the diverse needs of students in our schools.
I write 30 Days of Autism from the perspective of a special education teacher, working with other teachers, students and their families, and as a parent of an Autistic son. I share what I notice and what I am learning about neurological diversity, education, mental health issues, interventions, parenting, and child development and I try to do so from a strength-based perspective that encourages understanding and acceptance for those who experience and process the world differently.
I believe in kindness, the potential in each of us, and the power of one small voice… (well perhaps not so small… one insistent and passionate voice) to bring about change…
Workshop and Presentation Topics Include:
• Developing Perspective Taking, and Social & Emotional Understanding with Literacy Activities with Universally Designed Strategies (UDL) for the inclusive classroom setting
• Flipping the Table on IEPs: Building collaborative relationships between home & school
• Autism and Neurodiversity: Thinking about Perspectives
• Transition as Process: Supporting Resiliency, Self-Determination and Advocacy in Development
• Strategies for Inclusion in the Regular Education Classroom
• Strategies for Supporting Challenging Behaviours
• Getting Beyond Frazzled: Adlerian Theory and Classroom Management
Upcoming Speaking Engagements:
April 2015 – CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) Conference, San Diego – Autism Strand Presenter: Preparing Individuals with Autism [sic] for the World of Adulthood Topic: Transition as Process: Foundational Skills for Self-advocacy, Resiliency, and Self-determination in Autistic Youth
December 2014 – TASH International Conference, Washington, DC – Panel Participant/Presentations: Collaborative Advocacy in Autism Communities: An Inclusive Framework for Social Change and Social Model of Disability: Reframing Disability In Teacher Education Programs and Classrooms
October 2014 – Edu Talks: Educational Seminars, Vancouver, BC – Presentation: Vectors of Autism and Dear Teacher: Building Social Understanding and Supporting Self-advocacy for Students on The Autism Spectrum
April 2014 – CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) Conference, Philadelphia – Autism Strand Presenter: Supporting Transition to Adulthood for People on the Autism Spectrum
December 2013 – TASH International Conference, Chicago – Panel Participant/Presenter: Autism and Neurodiversity: UDL Strategies for Inclusion
October 2013 – BCTELA – Richmond, BC: presentation on Autism across the lifespan and supporting educators in understanding the perspectives of Autistic students from a neurodiverse perspective
July 2013 – Presentations for pre-service teachers at Simon Fraser University
July 2013 – IASE (International Association of Special Educators) Biennial Conference , Vancouver, BC: Screening Vectors of Autism and Panel Participant
May 2013 – Inclusion BC Conference (Formerly BCACL – BC Association for Community Living): Developing Perspective Taking, and Social & Emotional Understanding with Literacy Activities with Universally Designed Strategies (UDL) for the inclusive classroom setting
May 2013 – School District #36 (British Columbia) Surrey Teacher’s Association Convention: Perspective-taking and Developing Social Understanding Through Story: Literature Based Activities for Students with Social Cognitive Challenges
February 2013 – Keynote Presentation – School District #33 (British Columbia) Keynote presentation for Student Services and Special Education Training Day.
January 2013 – Phoenix, Arizona, AzTASH Annual Arizona TASH Conference on Inclusive Practices: Perspective-taking and Developing Social Understanding Through Story: Literature Based Activities for Students with Social Cognitive Challenges
October 2012 – BCTELA (BC Teachers of English Language Arts) Provincial Conference: Autism and Literacy Strategies for Perspective Taking
September 2012 – Fraser Valley Autism Society: Flipping the Table on IEPs: Building collaborative relationships between home & school
September 2012 – Panel Discussion – SFU Alone Together Film Festival: Screening and Discussion of Documentary Film: Vectors of Autism
June 2012 – Phoenix Arizona, AzTASH Conference on Inclusion and Advocacy: Strategies for Inclusion in the General Education Classroom
April 2012 – Flagstaff, Arizona at the Northern Arizona Autism Society of America (NAzASA) Conference held at NAU: Autism: Thinking about Perspectives and Developing Perspective Taking & Social Understanding with Literacy Activities
I have presented on Autism and Literacy Strategies for Perspective Taking for the October 2010 BCTELA (BC Teachers of English Language Arts) Provincial Conference, as well as for numerous Simon Fraser University Teacher SDL (Supporting Diverse Learners) Graduate Diploma Programs. I have also presented Autism and Perspective Taking within my own school district, in addition to facilitating other inservice and mentoring opportunities for educators.
On Twitter: @Leah_Kelley
Journal Articles, Published Work:
“Dear Teacher: A letter from H”…Listening to Autism 13-year-old Style, International Bureau of Education of the UNESCO in partnership with the Gulf Arab States Educational Research Center (GASERC) based in Bahrain. This article is included in the guides/resources for the development of inclusive schools and classrooms in seven Arab States of the Gulf.
Treasures I found at the Thrift Shop: Autism and Understanding: English Practice, (BCTELA Journal, Spring 2012) bctela.posterous.com/treasures-i-found-at-the thriftshop-by-leah-kelley
Ladybugs: English Practice, (BCTELA Journal, Spring 2011) bctela.posterous.com/ladybugs-by-leah-kelley
Olden Days of Summer: English Practice, (BCTELA Journal, Spring 2011) bctela.posterous.com/olden-days-of-summer-by-leah-kelley
Vectors of Autism: A Documentary about Laura Nagle (pre-release version premiered April 13, 2012) John Schaffer ~ Director; Susan Marks ~ Producer; Leah Kelley ~ Co-Producer
The Shadow Listener (currently in production) John Shaffer ~Director; Leah Kelley ~ Executive Producer
Autism Positivity Project:
I am a part of the blogging collective Thinking About Perspectives and together we have collaborated to create the Autism Positivity 2012 (to 2014) Flashblog Event and Website. http://autismpositivity.wordpress.com/
AWOP Radio ~ interview on A World of Progress Radio: http://awopradio.com/post/22427282365/leah-kelley-of-30-days-of-autism-and-co-producer (Aired May 4th, 2012) *Please Note – the segment containing my interview begins about 1/3 of the way through the podcast link
Healthy Place TV~ America’s Mental Health Channel: Video Interview My Child has Autism (February 2012)
CBC Radio ~ On the Coast: Interview for The Parent Project with Michelle Eliot http://www.cbc.ca/onthecoast/episodes/2011/07/05/the-parent-project-1/ (Aired July 5, 2011)