My Resource HAndbook

This handbook contains some tips & tricks for teachers to Special Education, IEP's, adaptations and more!

Michelle Pagliaro

Who am I?

My name is Michelle and I am currently a grade 5/6 teacher in Burnaby. I have designed this website to act as a resource handbook for myself and anyone else who comes across it. Within this website are main ideas we discussed throughout the course, as well as ideas and websites I came across that have helped me!

My website is more than a final project! It is going to be a spot where I keep adding ideas so I can go back and gather any information I need, whenever I need.


Getting to know your students

Getting to know your students is possibly the most important thing you could do at the start of every year! Students learn best when they have a positive connection with their teachers. Teachers teach best when they know their students!

Here are some strategies that can be implemented to build relationships with students:

  1. Spend 1-1 time with students: I build in community time (free time) every morning from 9:00-9:15. This allows me to spend time with students, play games with them, and get to know them!
  2. Show interest: ask them about their interests and show them you want to get to know them. If you know they had a hockey game over the weekend, ask them how it went when they come back to school on Monday!
  3. Participate in games and in gym
  4. Don't be afraid to be silly!
  5. Communicate with families: this can help you understand your students more
  6. share your stories! Give the students an opportunity to get to know you. Not just opportunities for you to know them.
  7. Provide them with a safe and welcoming classroom environment. Show them that you value acceptance: They will be more likely to open up!
  8. Visit their teacher from last year
  9. Read their IEP's, and review documents from their student files. Student File Questionnaire example:
  10. Interview them! Set up a verbal interview or have them complete a 'get to know me' survey. You can also do this in the format of a student profile.

For more strategies visit this website:

Student Profiles: strength-based SP

Why is a student profile important?

An SP is important because it provides a snapshot of a student. This can be helpful to substitute teachers and EA's who need to get to know the student in a limited time frame. This document can also provide supplemental information to IEP's and any other plans being created such as a Positive Behaviour Support Plan.

What is a student profile (SP)?

A student profile provides valuable information about a specific student. It provides a snapshot summary of a child's strengths, stretches, preferences, interests and goals. An SP can be done with the student as an interview or without the student. It is highly important that the SP provides accurate information from the viewpoint of the student. It is meant to be their voice!

Hands on Top of Each Other
Speech Bubbles Phone Communication Organic Drawn   Style

What does it look like?


When you are getting to know your students you will want to pay attention to specific behaviours. If any behaviours concern you then you should do the following...

  1. Discuss behaviour with Learn Support Teacher
  2. Observe and document observations!
  3. Call a School-based team meeting
  4. Create plans or edit IEP

Some ways you can monitor behaviours are...

  1. Frequency counts: Count how many times you see the behaviour in a set amount of time
  2. Summary report: When you see the behaviour you write a summary of what happened (before, during and after)

Pair of Eyes

Using the ABC observation form is a great way to track behaviours! This can also provide enough information that can then help create behavioural plans and IEP goals!

Creating behavioural Plans

Once you have done observations and called a school-based team meeting. The next step to target specific behaviours is to compete a Function Behavioual Assessment and a Positive Behavioural Support Plan.

Functional Behavioural Assessment (FBA):

An FBA describes a observes a describes a specific behaviour. It looks at what happened before, during and after. It follows the same format as the ABC observation form but tends to focus more on a specific event in much more detail.

Positive Behavioural Support Plan (PBS):

Once observations are done and an FBA has been completed. It is time to create a PBS to target unwanted behaviours and replace them with more positive behaviours. Within this plan it is important to focus on a specific behaviour and outline strategies that can be taught in order to replace the unwanted behaviour.

When creating a PBS it is important that you take into consideration the following:

  1. Observations
  2. Student Profile
  3. FBA

Below is a link to an example of a PBS. It also includes an example of a student profile and an FBA. You can see how the two documents provide information for the PBS and can provide a much more individualized plan.

Lined Corporate Planning Business Scene

Common Stretches seen in Students with ASD

Every student is different and Autism looks completely different in everyone. However, Autism does have some typical challenges that accompany it. The degree to which the individual finds it challenging differs and so it is VERY important you get to know your student rather than teach based on assumptions and general knowledge.

Some typical stretches/challenges seen are (but not limited to)...

1.Anxiety: Areview conducted by White et al (2009) revealed that up to 84% of individuals with autism meet the criteria for clinically diagnosed anxiety disorders.

-OCD, Social Phobia, Avoidance Behaviours, Shut downs, Melt downs, Stimming, Resistance to change, and so on.

2. Dealing with change: People with Autism find unexpected change anxiety-provoking.

3.Transitions: Especially from a preferred activity to a non-preferred activity

4. Sensory Issues: Noise, touch, smell

5. Communication: Facial expressions, eye contact, social routines, conflict skills, friendship skills, language, expression

6. Motor Skills: Handwriting, running, fine-motor movements

Hand Drawn Sad Girl

Resource Brochure on Frequently Asked Questions regarding ASD:

Enviornmental Adaptations:

  1. Quiet/calm down corner: When emotions are high, having a calm down corner can help!
  2. Predictable Schedule: This can help reduce anxiety and create a sense of control and predictability. Be sure to frontload any change,
  3. First/then chart
  4. Prepare for transitions: Provide a verbal warning and set up a visual timer so they can prepare for transitions.
  5. Visuals: Incorporate visuals as much as you can such as a, visual schedule.
  6. Provide fidgets
  7. Body Breaks
  8. Noise cancelling headphones
  9. Try to design a classroom that avoids sensory overload: Keep colours and posters to a minimum, try not to create a cramped space, use lighting to create a relaxing atmosphere

Read more here!

Curricular Adaptations:

  1. Adapt and modify as needed: Read their IEP and review their specific IEP goals. Design materials around those goals.
  2. Chunking/reducing workload
  3. Extra time on assignments or assessments
  4. Give choice: Allow the student to choose how they represent their learning
  5. Provide multiple means of engagement: Teach using videos, images, PowerPoint, hands-on activities
  6. Assistive technology: Speech to-text, text-to-speech
  7. Alternative assignments
  8. Use concrete language and examples
  9. Use graphic organizers
  10. Keep expectations simple and clear

Read more here!

Visual Schedule

Visual Timer

Graphic Organizer


First/Then Chart

Teaching Social Skills and Self-regulation

1.Social Stories- Explicitly teaches a student

2. Role-play- Practice with you in a controlled setting. provide feedback

3. Video Modelling

4. Modelling

5. Reward/incentives/positive reinforcement

6. Explicit instruction

7. Instant feedback

*you can use multiple teaching methods and pair them together*

Additional Resources:

Father and Son Talking

Communicating with Families

Parents and teachers are a team! We both want what is best for the student and so consistent communication that is open and honest is important and extremely beneficial!

You can build parent relationships by...

1.Send home a start of the year questionnaire

2.Host a start of the year open house

This is a document I created in preparation of my open house:

3. Send home monthly newsletters that summarized what the students have been doing

4. Don't be afraid to contact parents if something happens

5. Use parents to help problem-solve! They have so much valuable information about their child.

6. Welcome questions!

7. Respond to emails in a timely manner

8. Send home portfolio's each term

For more tips check out this link:

Stylized Transparent Colleagues Discussing Work

Some quick tips:

explain gradient icon

Forming parent relationships can be tricky at times, but they are extremely beneficial and worth the handwork! Some quick tips to accomplish this are...

  • Be warm and welcoming
  • Make parents feel valued and apart of the team
  • Communicate often so they get to know you
  • Include positive moments so conversations with your are not always seen as negative
  • Show that you care for and value their child
  • Ask questions!
  • Listen!
  • Do not use professional jargon
  • Use a variety of communication styles: sometimes what is easiest for one parent isnt easy for another. Some parent's have English as a second language and so phone calls may be difficult for them. Use a communication style that best fits each parent.

More tips:

Core Competencies:

"The Core Competencies are sets of intellectual, personal, and social and emotional proficiencies that all students need in order to engage in deep, lifelong learning" (British Columbia).

Anime and Manga Thought Speech Bubble

Core Competencies are considered different than curricular content but an integral part. Core competencies play into life-long learning and are needed in order to engage with and learn the curriculum. Teachers should incorporate Core Competencies into their classrooms and lessons and focus on teaching these skills.

Core Competencies are related to Competency-based IEP's and have goals that are centered around Core Competency skills. This allows children with IEP's to focus on specific Core Competency skills and work towards it as their IEP goals.

Read more here!

Assessing Core Competencies:

In BC we must assess core Competencies and conduct a year-end self-assessment with students. This self-assessment can look very different in each classroom and even each student!

Core Competency year-end self-assessment examples:

*I teach all Core Competencies through the book The Six Cedar Tree's. I also focus on one Core Competency per term. Term1: Communication. Term 2: Thinking. Term 3: Personal and Social Responsibility and Awareness.

Grade 3/4:

Grade 5/6:

Each Term my students do a small reflection on the CC they currently worked on. This involves drawing a picture of a time they performed that skill in school. This activity could also replace the year-end self-reflection for students who need a more simplified assessment.

IEP's: How do we get there?

An IEP is an individuals plan that is specific to a child. This plan focuses on skills//curriculum to further the child's growth. An IEP creates goals for a school year in which the teacher, LST, EA, Parents and student should all work towards. Along with this, it is highly important that progress is being tracked and that IEP review meetings are being called if necessary.

Workplace Solving Problem Illustration

It is very important to understand the IEP Process. At times it can seem complex and confusing! Click the link for an easy to follow flowchart:

If you would like to learn more about IEP's check out these websites:,includes%20measures%20for%20tracking%20achievement.%E2%80%9D

competency-based IEP's

Competency-based IEP's focus on Core Competencies as goals and is seen as ore involved and connected with the BC curriculum.

Common Core Competency IEP Goals:

  1. I can make choices that benefit my well-being and keep me safe at school
  2. I am able to recognize my emotions and choose an appropriate coping strategy
  3. I am able to advocate for my needs and ask for help when needed
  4. I am able to advocate for myself and my ideas
  5. I can respond meaningfully to conversations with adults and peers
  6. I can solve problems and ask for help when needed

And many more!


Steps to Creating a Core Competency IEP Goal:

1.Observe behavior

2. Pick a Core Competency area. For example, Personal awareness and responsibility

3. Pick a goal based on observations and streteches. turn it into an "I can" statement. For example, I can advocate for my needs. Try to be more vague.

4. Choose an objective. This is more specific than the goal! For example, Asking for help on assignments.

5. Make sure you goal and objective fit together! For example, I can advocate for my needs by asking for help on assignments.

6. Now choose strategies. How will you help your student reach this goal?

For more detailed information check this website:

Assessment of Core Competency IEP goals look different to each teacher. I keep an observation log where I take notes about what I see throughout a term and then discuss with my LST each term in regard to progress. I also collect evidence in the form of student work so I can bring it to the next IEP meeting.

Competency-based IEP Example and FAQ:

Before reading the FAQ, please read this example IEP!

Where is student voice located in an IEP?

Student voice is mainly located in the "My personal profile". This information comes from an interview or through observations/help of parents if necessary. Although the IEP goals should be framed as "I can" statements which have the viewpoint of the student.

How do you assess IEP goals?

  • Observe the student behaviour
  • Track/monitor behaviour/skills/knowledge
  • Through specific assignments such as, a math quiz, reading assessment, project, essay, and so on.

What is considered 'evidence'?

Evidence is examples of work or notes collected in regard to IEP goals. This evidence should be gathered throughout the year and brought to each IEP meeting. This evidence will help justify current and future goals and will help decide if the goal is being kept or added upon.

What is meant by feedback?

Teacher feedback is important for every student! It is the explicit feedback given by teachers to students which informs them what they are doing well on and what they need to practice further. This feedback can help students track their progress andhelp them focus on specific skills they need to improve on.

Check out this website to help give meaningful feedback to students!


Autism Tasmania. (n.d.). Common Challenges. Autism Tasmania.

Autism in the Classroom: Overcoming Challenges. (2014, May 2). Butterfly Effects.

Autism Speaks. (2018). Autism and Social Skills Development. Autism Speaks.

Creating a Student Profile. (n.d.). ACT - Autism Community Training.

Elemy, T. T. A. (2021, December 14). Expert-Recommended Strategies for Teaching Autistic Students. The Elemy Learning Studio.

Houston, S. B. P. B., Articles, T. M. of F. A. U. of M. A. S. also has C. in S. A. S. has written numerous, Posts, B., Articles, Descriptions, P., Reviews, P., Ghost, Fiction, & Kenya, S. S. has led a team of experts in establishing the impacts of subsidized sewerage connections in rural slums in. (n.d.). Difference Between Accommodations and Modifications | Difference Between.

Kluth, P. (2010). Supporting Students with Autism: 10 Ideas for Inclusive Classrooms. Reading Rockets.

Kaufman, T. (2022). Building Relationships With Students: What Brain Science Says.

Lee, A. (2022). What Is Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA)?

Malone, K. (2021, January 29). The challenges students with autism face. Graduate Programs for Educators.

Manolis, L. (2019, January 6). 6 Tips for Teaching Students With Autism. Teach for America.

‌ Section 4 -Appendix Individual Education Plans PARTNERS IN PLANNING Preparing for Your Child’s IEP Meeting Student Profile. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2022, from