10 episodes

Sharing knowledge, information and practical advice related to autism through having conversations with autistic individuals, parents, carers, teachers, educational professionals and service providers. Hosted by Steph Reed, an Autism Specialist Teacher in London, UK.

Autism Spectrum Teacher Steph Reed

    • Education
    • 5.0, 26 Ratings

Sharing knowledge, information and practical advice related to autism through having conversations with autistic individuals, parents, carers, teachers, educational professionals and service providers. Hosted by Steph Reed, an Autism Specialist Teacher in London, UK.

    #11 Ideas to help children at home during the COVID-19 crisis

    #11 Ideas to help children at home during the COVID-19 crisis

    This is a live recording from a Facebook Live I hosted this week. It took place in a group aimed at general support through the Covid-19 Crisis, in the island of Jersey, where I am from.I took this opportunity to talk to parents and carers about potential strategies that could be helpful for families with children with special needs, when spending all day at home. I also answered questions that came up during the Facebook Live.

    We are living in difficult and unpredictable times. This is very challenging for all of us, most especially those with additional needs.Every family has very different needs, as well as access to different sized space and resources.We all have very different circumstances and therefore we need to think about what is manageable for our unique circumstances.We want to try to avoid becoming stressed.Stressed parents and carers equals stressed children.Recognise how we are modelling being calm and if there is anything we can do further to support the children to be calm. If we show that we are anxious, our children will inevitably also be anxious.

    Do what is manageable in our own, unique circumstancesGo back over previous advice from professionals, this will be specific to your child’s needs and there may be helpful strategies that you can implement at home. Everyone’s needs are so different.

    Creating calm times throughout the dayDo some calming activities together.Examples of calming activities could be: listening to soothing music, massage on hands or feet with cream, sensory play or looking at a book. What are some activities that have a calming effect on your child? Is this something you can do together? Is this something the child prefers to do alone? Can you structure this into the daily routine at specific times, to create a familiar and predictable pattern?

    Movement activities throughout the dayAlerting and energising movement activities are great to get the body moving, get children exercising and also using any hyperactive energy!It can be helpful to structure in times throughout the day where movement activities take place. At school, I would often structure movement activities before we took part in learning, to get the children’s bodies all warmed up and regulated. This would often get them ready to focus on the learning task. For some children, I would have very regular movement breaks, such as every half an hour. It depends on the needs of the child, but for some very active children, this can be very helpful for them to keep their bodies moving.Ideas for movement breaks include: a circuit or a visual structure of different exercises (such as star jumps and stretches), rolling the ball to each other, a dancing, yoga or exercise video on YouYube.5 minutes movement break examples:a href="https://www.youtube.

    • 44 min
    #10 Learning through technology with Zafer Elcik Co-Founder of Otsimo

    #10 Learning through technology with Zafer Elcik Co-Founder of Otsimo

    Zafer Elcik is the Co Founder of the Otsimo app, which has over 100 educational games created specifically with the needs of autistic learners in mind. 

    It was great to speak to Zafer as my special guest in this episode of the podcast, and hear about the story of Otsimo!Zafer works alongside educators, speech and language therapists and families to develop educational games aimed at learning different concepts, as well as a free open source AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) tool for nonverbal children, in Turkish and English.

    Zafer is from Ankara, Turkey, where it is estimated that 90% of autistic children do not get an education. The Turkish government offers children with special needs only 12 hours of education per month.When Zafer got his first smartphone, his autistic brother Alper took a special interest and quickly learnt to navigate the phone. Zafer realised that this was an excellent opportunity to use the smartphone to teach his brother.At the time, Alper was 6 years old, non verbal and could not read or write, however he could find pictures on the smart phone to communicate. There wasn’t many apps which focused on the learning priorities of children with special needs in mind. For example, they had too much information, animation or colours on the screen, which can be visually overwhelming and cause distraction.Alongside his university friend and Alper’s teacher, Zafer created simple educational games. The first game he made was aimed at teaching colours and he was so impressed with how Alper learnt through the app, where other methods had not seemed successful.

    More educational games followed with concepts such as money, reading, mark making, shapes and Social Stories. Otsimo also now has a free AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) app to help non verbal individuals to communicate.A lot of children are really motivated by the cause and effect elements of using tablet and smartphone apps and this can be really engaging for them.Otsimo wants to give families an opportunity to be part of teaching concepts through the use of the app. Supporting families to be part and sharing the educational journey with giving a framework of teaching concepts, social skills and communication.The app also aim to tech vocabulary can then be further taught and extended in practical  contexts, which will help children to understand and generalise vocabulary.Zafer is working with the Ministry of Education in Turkey, trying to close the gap by giving a tool to support teaching using the app.

    Watch Zafer and Alper in the BBC world hacks video BBC World Hacks ‘How brotherly love led to an app to help thousands of autistic children’

    I hope you enjoyed this episode of the podcast!For more information about Otsimo, visit:

    • 30 min
    #9 The need to chew! Supporting sensory needs with Jenny McLaughlan, founder of Chewigem

    #9 The need to chew! Supporting sensory needs with Jenny McLaughlan, founder of Chewigem

    In this episode of the podcast, it was a pleasure to speak with Jenny McLaughlan, the founder of Chewigem.As well as being a support community for different sensory needs, Chewigem have designed and created a range of chewing, fidget and sensory aids for children and adults.

    Sensory needsOur brain processes the sensory information around us; what we see, hear, smell, taste and touch, as well as how it makes us feel; temperature, balance and pain. Some people, including many autistic individuals, may experience extremely heightened senses where sensory input is exceptionally amplified, or on the other hand, barely registered. This differs from person to person and presents differently in each individual.

    Sensory seekingFor individuals with under sensitive senses, they may seek out different sensations in order to get the sensory feedback.Examples of sensory seeking behaviours include chewing or repeatedly seeking out sensations such as smells or touch through hugs, tight clothing or feeling specific textures.

    ChewigemIn the podcast episode, Jenny tells us the story behind Chewigem. How it started as a baby chew and expanded to support people of all ages.‘Chewies’, ‘chew toys’ or sensory supports can help those to receive sensory input, in a safe way. For example, I have taught children who will chew on their clothes, toys or anything around them.Jenny explains how Chewigem is supporting the community by providing supports that have been purposely made for the function of giving sensory feedback, such as wearable chewing resources such as these:



    Chewigem also provides support to help those needing advice on how to find the right supports for individual sensory needs on their website and a href="https://www.facebook.

    • 20 min
    #8 Enhancing communication opportunities: Autism and learning disabilities

    #8 Enhancing communication opportunities: Autism and learning disabilities

    Total Communication is using all the different types of communication, speech, body language, tone of voice, Makaton sign, symbols, pictures, objects all to enhance communication. This is really important for those with learning difficulties, to support communication. In this episode, I discuss and pose questions about enhancing the environment both at school and home through adapting our environment, our teaching approach and resources.

    • 28 min
    #7 Supporting reading with Angela Charalambous from the Workshop Reading Centre

    #7 Supporting reading with Angela Charalambous from the Workshop Reading Centre

    This episode of the podcast is all about supporting children with reading and my special guest is Angela Charalambous, a reading specilaist from the Workshop Reading Centre in Johannesburg.


    A child’s reading ability will have a huge impact on all areas of learning. 

    Angela discusses different strategies to support a child to enjoy reading and feel more confident!

    Classroom strategies to support children who have reading difficulties

    Making learning multisensory

    Using visual supports such as pictures and objects

    Enabling children to present their work in different formats

    Using the child's interests

    Accommodating sensory needs and ensuring child is comfortable

    Breaking down work into manageable chunks

    Revisiting learning

    Giving an outline of lesson and tasks

    Giving explicit instructions

    Maintain a love of reading

    Read with the child in 3 different areas: 

    Easy material for the child such as a simple book below age level, in order to boost confidence 

    Reading age appropriate material 

    Reading at a challenging or above age level, perhaps in the child’s area of interest to ensure their motivation

    Parents and carers, continue reading with your child as long as you can, especially themes that are of interest to the child. Spending time reading with parents supports to manifest a love of reading.

    Ensuring children’s confidence in their reading is key


    Thank you Angela!

    Visit the Workshop Reading Centre website to find out more information about the assessments, dyslexia screening, Cellfield intervention and workshops for parents and teachers that Angela mentioned in the podcast episode.

    • 17 min
    #6 Anxiety in autism with Jane Crawford and Helen Cottell

    #6 Anxiety in autism with Jane Crawford and Helen Cottell

    Jane Crawford and Helen Cottell from the West Sussex County Council Autism and Social Communication Team discuss the information in the 'Evidence Based Guide to Anxiety in Autism' put together with Sebastian Gaigg from the Autism Research Group at City University of London. Themes covered include how anxiety presents differently in autism, the potential causes of anxiety and practical strategies to help and support.

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

njs100 ,

Really insightful and interesting

Listening during COVID19 quarantine whilst unable to work as a Teaching Assistant in a mainstream school. Steph is clearly extremely knowledgeable and it’s is really interesting to listen to her experience of and ideas about autism.

Jean Piel ,

Fantastic resource

As an inexperienced TA, this is a fantastic resource. Gus

inclusion for all ,


Only a couple of episodes in, but already helping me to recognise some areas to reflection on practice- v helpful.

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