Dr. Heather MacKenzie

Reaching and Teaching Children with Autism and other Special Needs



Recognizing and nurturing strengths and interests in people with autism

Great video on what it’s like to have a brother with autism

Wonderful article on what can happen when you recognize and nurture strengths in people with autism The Autism Advantage

An article  about recognizing strengths in people with special education needs – Appreciating Special Education Students’ Diversity

Great video about one young man’s finding the right job for him – David Mason’s journey


Resource materials

Excellent visual resources to help children understand and participate in Jewish holidays.


10 Ways to Promote Self-Regulation Every Dayfollow this link


Selected Resources

Some resources that can help you honor Learning Preferences and Strengths typically found in people with autism can be found here.

Resources that can help you use shared storybook reading with children can be found here.

Best educational websites of 2013 can be found here


Example Strategies

Example teaching/learning strategies for the typical Learning Preferences and Strengths found in children with autism can be found here.  Please use these strategies with sensitivity to the individual child’s learning interests and needs.


Storybook Planning Database

We are developing a database of potential goals, key vocabulary, phrases and sentences and materials and resources to support the use of each storybook.  You can download planning documents by linking through each storybook title below.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anythingdeveloped by Heather MacKenzie

Goldilocks and the Three Bears- developed by Heather MacKenzie

From Head to Toedeveloped by Heather MacKenzie

The Kissing Handdeveloped by Heather MacKenzie


10 Tips for reading to children – follow this link


Brain Box©

The Brain Box© was named by a boy I used to work with. The concept behind the Brain Box© is to get an idea out of your brain so that you can think about other things.  As we know, children with autism can become ‘stuck’ on an idea or event and have great difficulty moving on.  The Brain Box© is a temporary storage space for the recurring thoughts so that they “won’t bug your brain”.

Follow this link for more information on the Brain Box.


P.O.E.T Notes

I developed P.O.E.T. notes for use by therapists and therapy aides.  The P stands for plan and purpose of a therapy session, the O for observations about how the child responded, E for evaluation about how the child did and T for target goals for ‘homework’ and the next therapy session.

The P.O.E.T. notes allowed consistent communication amongst the various therapists and aides, made sure that everyone had goals clearly in mind and ensured accountability.  When therapy aides observed therapy sessions with an SLP or OT or other therapist, they would complete P.O.E.T. notes during the session.  This ensured that the therapist was communicating the plan and purpose clearly and the aide understood how the child was responding and thought about why the child was or was not achieving the goal.

The P.O.E.T note form is linked at: POET notes

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