My journey as an educator began in 2000 when I was a respite provider for children with autism. This work inspired me to become a a special education teacher in New York City. In 2004 I started teaching 4th-6th graders with emotional behavioral disorders (EBD). That first year I was assigned to run the Games Club, a special activity that happened every Friday afternoon. This is when my obsession with using games in teaching started. I was amazed by the difference in the behavior, confidence, and willingness to try new things in these students who were frequently violent, unmotivated, and nervous about anything novel.
In the past eleven years, I have worked with students with Emotional Behavior Disorder, Autism, Aspergers, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and Learning Disabilities. The students I have worked with range in age from 3-16. And I use games with every single one of them as a way to introduce new concepts, reinforce concepts and skills they have already learned, help with generalization of skills, and provide tools for parents who want activities to supplement their student’s education at home.
Now I travel throughout New York City and work with a variety of students. I spend a lot of time teaching through games, but also helping train parents and siblings on how to connect with their child/sibling through games and activities. The games (and apps and books and more) that I describe here are ones that I have used with a variety of students and have had success with. I have explicitly chosen to avoid reviewing games (so you won’t see rating systems or negative reviews,) but instead to focus on what I have found that not only works, but works with a broad range of students and skill levels. Everything you find on this blog is stuff that I own and use.
Beyond my interest in games, I am currently pursuing my PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis at Endicott College. I continue to provide 1:1 ABA therapy throughout New York City, write a Tip of the Week column at Different Roads to Learning, and speak at ABA conferences. I am the author of the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core, and have consulted with the Theatre Development Fund’s Autism Theatre Initiative as well as with the director of the upcoming Sesame Street video “Amazing.”