Bio Notes, Presentations, and more…

I am an Neurodivergent Educator, Writer, Activist, Speaker, and Parent. 

I completed my Doctorate in Education at Simon Fraser University with a focus on connecting disability studies to educational practice. I am currently working with pre-service teachers at the university level, after 30+ years of experience as a public-school teacher, including as a primary teacher, an inclusion resource teacher (K-12), and an SEL (Social Emotional Learning) Helping Teacher. 

I continue to pursue research, focused upon connecting the ideas and concepts of Disability Studies to Educational Practice, and seeking out spaces and opportunities to bring the concepts of critical disability studies to teacher education.

I have additionally worked as a part of the instructional team for Simon Fraser University’s Graduate Field Studies Program “Supporting Diverse Learners,”  which was 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 an Neurodivergent and otherwise disabled educator, and consultant, working with educators, future educators, families, as a parent of an Autistic son (now and adult), and as an disability rights activist.

I find I am writing less often now.  I was working on completing my dissertation, and now I am finishing the final bits on a soon to be released book. That being said, my goal remains to share what I notice and what I am learning about disability, education, pedagogy, parenting, and child development, from a strength-based perspective that encourages and promotes understanding, acceptance, and pride 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: (soon to be updated)

• 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: (soon to be updated)

February 2018 – AzTASH Annual Arizona TASH Conference on Inclusive Practices, Phoenix, Arizona – Presentation: Inclusive Practices for Facilitating Positive Social Relationships

Recent Presentations:

June 2017 – DSE 17 – Disability Studies in Education Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota – Paper: Disclosing Disability: The Ugly Chair, Neurodiversity, and Poetry as Praxis

May 2017 – Chilliwack Teachers Association TLC Conference, School District 33 (Chilliwack) Presentation: Mythbusting Autism: Supporting the Neurodiversity Paradigm

July 2016 – SFU Summer Institute, Simon Fraser University, Surrey, BC – Presentation: Arts Based Research: Responding to Silence

June 2016 – DSE (Disability Studies in Education) 16th Annual Second City International Conference on Disability Studies in Education in collaboration with the Midwest Summer Institute, Des Moines, Iowa – Presentation: Self-understanding, Self-advocacy, and Self-determination: Cultivating Foundational Skills for Autistic Youth

December 2015 – TASH International Conference , Portland, Oregon – Presentation: Self-understanding, Self- advocacy, and Self-determination: Cultivating Foundational Skills in Autistic Youth

October 2015 – SFU Med Alumni Conference, Burnaby, BC – Presenter/Panel Participant: Diversity in the classroom and beyond: Creating new possibilities

August 2015 COL Commonwealth Open School Association, Canada/Caribbean Conference –, Belize – Presentation: Open School as Opportunity: Supporting Diversity & Positive Development

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 2014TASH 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 2014Edu 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 2014CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) Conference, Philadelphia – Autism Strand Presenter: Supporting Transition to Adulthood for People on the Autism Spectrum

December 2013TASH International Conference, Chicago – Panel Participant/Presenter: Autism and Neurodiversity: UDL Strategies for Inclusion

October 2013BCTELA – 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 2013IASE (International Association of Special Educators) Biennial Conference , Vancouver, BC: Screening Vectors of Autism and Panel Participant

May 2013Inclusion 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  2012BCTELA (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

Previous Presentations:

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.


Contact Information:


On Facebook:

On Twitter: @Leah_Kelley


Journal Articles, Published Work:

Kelley, L. (2018). The Teacher’s Kid: It’s not what you think…  BCTF Teacher. November -December 2018, 31(2), 5. Retrieved from:

Kelley, L. (2019). Let’s talk about Language: Is disability a bad word? BCTF Teacher. January-February 2019, 31(3), 16-17. Retrieved from:

Kelley, L. (2019). Talking Language: Ableism and Opportunity? BCTF Teacher. November-December 2019, 32(2), 22-23. Retrieved from:

“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) thriftshop-by-leah-kelley

Ladybugs: English Practice, (BCTELA Journal, Spring 2011)     

Olden Days of Summer: English Practice, (BCTELA Journal, Spring 2011)

Other Projects:


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 2015) Flashblog Event and Website.


Teaching Tolerance Issue 53, Summer 2016 (A Publication of the Sothern Poverty Law Society) ~ interview for article: A New Frame of Mind: What autistic students wish you knew about who they are and how they learn

AWOP Radio ~ interview on  A World of Progress Radio: (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 (Aired July 5, 2011)

14 Responses to Bio Notes, Presentations, and more…

  1. Hi Leah,
    What a wonderful project. I admire you that you are doing such a worth while course of study. I plan to go to Uni in the next few years to study Psychology and then hopefully do a PHD in Education to go and help students with learning difficulties at school. Looking forward to reading more.
    I found you via Twitter. Please stop by and say hi.


  2. I’d love for us to connect. I used to be a school teacher. I hold a Masters in Education (curriculum and development). I have Aspergers and so does one of my sons. We have a small support group on line as well. My blog is Everyday Aspergers. 🙂 “Sam”


  3. Hi Leah,
    I wanted to let you know that I just nominated you for a “One Lovely Blog” Award… because, well, you have one very lovely blog…


  4. Pingback: Gratitude List as 2011 Flies Toward the Sunset « Delightfully Different Life

  5. Poke N Grits says:

    Hi there! Just stumbled upon your blog and I really am enjoying it! I have one son with Severe ADHD and Tourrettes and the other is currently being diagnosed with some form of autism. Your stories are inspiring and I look forward to reading more. Cherie’


    • Leah Kelley says:

      Thank you so much for your encouraging comment! I am so pleased that these stories of our journey speak to you. Your comment was also wonderful because it gave me a lttle nudge to update this info page. You might find the fb page (listed above) helpful as well.


  6. Renee Salas says:

    AWESOME! That about covers it 😉 x


  7. suzanne phizacklea says:

    I am presently studying autistic spectrum,as part of a qualification in learning disability. I work as a support worker of people with various disabilities in England, and I stumbled across your wonderful blog. I have to tell you, I am learning such a lot about the lack of understanding, discrimination, and stereotyping, and the impact that has on people, and their families. Also ,the steely determination to fight for acceptance and change. This blog is awe inspiring. I have mentioned your web address in the module I’m working on, as I think my tutors would be very interested in it, and could perhaps spread the word about it, as I will.


    • Leah Kelley says:

      Suzanne, thank you for your wonderful comment.

      To be described as someone with ‘steely determination to fight for acceptance and change’ is a complete win in my books and it made my day!

      And yes… please – share away. Please also note the blog roll over to the right. There are fabulous perspectives of Autistic people – which need to be included if we really want to build understanding, acceptance, and effective support.


  8. PK says:

    Hi Leah – I just found you through the wordpress recommended sites and am looking forward to reading more. My first “taste” was “Two Little Girls”. I have a 6 year son on the spectrum, and also have several nephews of different ages on the spectrum as well. I’m currently looking at the UNT Masters Program – Special Ed with Concentration in Autism Intervention. I don’t have an education background, but I am very drawn to this for obvious reasons, especially to the transition areas of school-to college-to work. If you have time to email on this, I would SO appreciate your thougts, input, etc. on getting started on this. Thanks!


  9. Pingback: Perspectives: Blogging About Autism — Blog —

  10. remrov says:

    I rally love your blog. I have autism myself. When I was little I didn’t understand anything of the world around me nor did I understand language. But throughout the years I have grown into a confident person who knows what she needs to manage her life. I’m an autism consultant and a lecturer myself now. I want to pass on everything I have learned and everything that helped me to other people with autism and their families. I have nominated you for the ‘Liebster Award’. You can learn more about this award on my post:
    I wish you a wonderful weekend and keep on blogging


  11. Pingback: Vectors of Autism – Laura Nagel | Mados

  12. Pingback: Vectors of Autism – Laura Nagel | History of Bad Parties

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