Joint base Lewis-Mcchord Autism Walk for Autism Support!!

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The Video on their autism walk–>

Curriculum ideas for the inclusive classroom and parents too by Mari Nosal!!!

I am a huge fan of Mari Nosal and her writing. Here stories are very informative and inspirational and I really enjoy them.



Have you ever wondered how to encourage empathy, increase fine and gross motor skills, social awareness, independent thinking, teamwork, independent play, or anything in-between within a classroom or at home? I have compiled quite an array of activities throughout my years. The majority of my activities were used and intended for a multi-age classroom. The children I’ve taught range in age between five and twelve years and include those with emotional, physical, behavioral, gifted, neurotypical, and learning disabled circumstances. The activities are therefore acceptable for a mixed range of abilities and ages. I have pondered what I have learned through many years of trial and error. My goal is to share these activities with parents and educators to enhance the lives of other children who could benefit from my ideas.

1) Musical Paper Plates: This game is an adaptation of musical chairs. Musical paper plates is especially suitable for children who present gross motor skill issues. The chance of injury is diminished as children cannot fall on a chair when children are vying for the last coveted spot. Plates are strategically spread out in a circle. When the music stops, a plate is removed. For children who present with socialization issues and struggle with the concept of being “out”, leave all paper plates in the game. Thus, no one wins or loses. An adaptation I made for letter and number recognition is to write numbers or letters on the plates and keep everyone in the game. i.e. If a child lands on the letter A etc., I differentiate my question according to each child’s ability and ask questions such as, What is the name of your letter? What sound does your letter make? Can you name a word that begins with your letter? Can you spell the word ? My goal is to provide a game here that includes all children, no matter what their ability is, at their level, and without singling children out. I make the same adaptations with numbers. If the child steps on number five, I may ask them to stomp their feet five times, give them a math problem to solve, ask what number they are standing on, and more. The options within this game are limitless. The game then continues with no one left out of the game. This game has proved to be extremely popular with the children.

2) Enhance Thinking Skills: One child sits in the middle of a circle and mimes emotions. The child who guesses the emotion goes in the middle and the game continues. This game is an awesome springboard for discussing feelings and reinforcing social awareness. An adaptation is to pick moral oriented situations out of a bowl, and having children act them out.

3) Share a Book: This is a voluntary activity that proved popular with the children. Rather than reading for the children, ask for volunteers who would like to read during circle time. This enhances reading skills, positive self efficacy, and teamwork. I adapt this activity so all children can participate no matter what their abilities or age. If a child volunteers to read to the class, but is an early or none reader, they are allowed to choose another child to assist them. I wish to emphasize that no child should ever be forced to read if they do not wish to. Forcing a child with a developmental challenge, reading issues, speech problems, etc. to participate can backfire. The child will lose self esteem, become embarrassed in front of peers, and withdraw. I still recall being an advanced reader in elementary school. I also suffered from “watery S’s.” My second grade teacher would force me to display my reading skills in-front of the class. It was humiliating and still resides in my memory today. After the fact, I recall pretending I struggled in reading so the teacher would stop choosing me.  Some children will participate in the future if they are not forced and are allowed time to feel safe within the group.

4) Don’t Squish the Bug: This game can be played in a group, modified for two individuals, played one on one, or done just plain solo according to the child’s skills and social development. This game is great for increasing hand-eye coordination. The children fill balloons with jello and enjoy a game of catch, or adapted catch as mentioned above. It is suggested that this game be played outdoors. It is fun. However, when the balloon inevitably breaks – jello, jello everywhere. :-0)

I hope you enjoy my ideas. I would love feedback. If there is enough interest I will continue with weekly or bi – weekly curriculum ideas. Happy teaching and parenting.

Mari Nosal M.Ed.


A Parent is Their Child’s First Teacher by Mari Nosal with permission of Enabled Kids Canada

Mari Nosal
Mari Nosal
Article from Enabled Kids by Mari Nosal

Here is another nice article with regards to special needs education by Mari Nosal, a fellow parent of Autistic kids and she is also an educator as well. I can relate in many respects, I am asperger’s and have 3 kids on the spectrum.

Parenting our children is a full time, and occasionally scary job. When our children are born, we are the first people that they interact with. We provide stimulating environments, experiences, and safe challenges that encourage a child’s continuous development. Parents are cheerleaders, coaches, academic tutors, and provide a safe and nonjudgmental haven where children can feel free to make mistakes. Children realize that, in the safety of a home with supportive parents, they will not be judged and can therefore take on safe challenges. This is most important for children with learning disabilities as their home front and loving parental support provide a haven away from school, where they may struggle to fit in with peers daily. Education is defined as any experience which provides learning and growth to be achieved. Parents can view themselves as important co-teachers. They can provide schools with the difficulties or learning growth that is taking place on the home front. Parents can provide complementary support to the child’s teacher as well by continuing what a child learns at home. The message I am attempting to convey is that teachers, parents, educators, and more are all instrumental educators within their child’s life. Remember parents, you are an important component in your child’s development, so never underestimate your effectiveness. Most of all, keep dreaming, hoping, smiling, and lastly never ever give up. Always believe in yourself and your children.


As I sit and ponder what it means to be an educator, a powerful vision comes to mind: A flock of geese following one another in a perfect V formation. There is a correlation between the perfect educational system, and the teamwork geese employ as they soar through the blue skies.
One bird flaps its wings and creates an updraft for the bird behind it. The geese place themselves strategically. The strongest bird is in front. The weakest bird is in the back. One can surmise the reasoning for this. The strongest bird can lift the weakest bird with an updraft. As the stronger bird tires, the formation changes, the weaker bird now has a reserve of energy. Thus, the energized bird takes the place of the exhausted bird.
Like geese, people cannot fly solo. Education encompasses a large network of people. In order to educate the whole child, one must think of the process as more than academics. Social, emotional, familial, and environmental issues are part of the education process. Expecting a teacher to perform these duties alone is sure to breed chaos. Teachers need support when teaching becomes difficult.
Like the geese, the tired teacher needs someone to support them. The teacher needs time to go to the back of the flock and re-energize. Upon re-energizing, the educator can than successfully lead the flock once more. They are not co-dependent, but inter-dependent with parents and their peers. It is a vital instrument that ensures a positive classroom climate.
As geese form a perfect V formation, educators, administrators, and the community must work cohesively as a unit. The mutual goal should be the successful assimilation of the children into a society. If the children are not empowered with the skills to be productive members of society, successful assimilation has not occurred. If a bird tires, and another geese does not support their weak moment in flight, the formation is disrupted.
The weaker bird will tire and plummet. When assisting a child in developing to their fullest capacity, one does not get a second chance to repair the mistakes made. The inevitable result of no cohesive unit is a teacher who will plummet like the geese. The child will be left with negative self efficacy. Lack of support for the teacher breeds feelings of futility. Futility soon breeds apathy. There is a domino effect. The child becomes the recipient of the teacher’s apathetic demeanor. If the teacher loses their zest for teaching, the child loses their zest for learning.
My personal goal is continuously equip myself with the knowledge and skills to help communities become socially and academically well rounded. My utopian world is one where all individuals gain self empowerment skills, positive self efficacy, and learn skills for success. These are the building blocks for success. May everyone fly in the V formation. May No Child Be Left Behind.

This is a poem I wrote a while back. I believe it displays my ideology on what a teacher’s and parent’s role is.

Here is a wonderful poem by Mari Nosal as well quite nice–>

My Guide

Oh teachers listen closely

For this you need to know

My future rests right in your palm

I need you as I grow

My destiny is yours to shape

By words you choose to use

Encourage me, tell me I’m great

Your power do not abuse

Believe in me and I will shine

I will not let you down

Give up on me and let me fail

My choice will be to drown

Please teach me all you know my friend

Do not give up and leave

And I will thrive because I knew

In me you did believe

I have the talent to succeed

But sometimes feel lost

Please help me so I find my way

No matter what the cost

Don’t leave me on the tough days

I need to know you’ll stay

For you help me to grow and learn

And assure me i’m o.k.

Support me, guide me, and teach me

My fate is up to you

For with your words I’ll fail or win

It is up to you you’ll see

Please don’t leave nor write me off

I am worthy of your time

I promise I’ll not fail you

To give up would be a crime

My future is up to you you’ll see

In you I do believe

I will succeed and fulfill my dreams

If you walk with me

In order for me to succeed

I can not walk alone

Don’t give up on me and walk away

My emotions will turn to stone

Teachers listen closely

I need your help today

Help now and I promise

I will make you proud one day


Previously Published on Enabled Kids Canada, See link–>link