May 19, 2023
Neurodivergence and Emotional Response

What any educator will confirm is that every child is unique, whether on the spectrum or not. How they react to stimuli will vary among them, with some increased irregularity among our neurodiverse kids. Recognizing exactly how we’re feeling from their perspective, or how they’re feeling inside, can be difficult to interpret. Here are some common emotional responses to dispel some of the mystery. 

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April 24, 2023
Demonstrating Autistic Acceptance

If the aim is an inclusive classroom for neurodivergent kids, we aren’t going to achieve much without leadership showing them how it’s done. Modeling this sort of behavior might feel cumbersome, for fear of overcompensating with forced or unnatural interactions. But a few subtle techniques fly right under the radar and create a culture of […]

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April 3, 2023
5 Classroom Activities That Foster Inclusion

As educators, we value the importance of inclusion and recognize that each and every student comes with their own gifts, quirks, and challenges. Our kids, who are still discovering who they are, and each other, benefit from classroom activities that foster inclusion, educate and celebrate their unique characteristics, and create better connections between peers. What […]

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March 7, 2023
Understanding and Celebrating Neurodiversity

Autism Acceptance Month is just around the corner. Before we take the opportunity to hyperfocus on autism as a neurotype, let’s take a minute during this Neurodiversity Celebration Week (March 13-19) to better understand what neurodiversity is and why it should be celebrated! Different models of neurodiversity will include a variety of neurotypes. The neuro […]

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August 26, 2022
How Will Students Know They Belong in Their Classroom?

Since the average enrollment of an American public school exceeds 500 students (EducationWeek, 2019), by the numbers associated with autism prevalence (CDC, 2021), an administrator can be statistically assured that the school’s count of students on the spectrum will be in the double digits. It is likely that the least restrictive environment for those autistic […]

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July 26, 2022
Especially for Healthy Development, Friendships Matter!

Long-range studies show not only the immediate benefits of positive peer relationships, but also how healthy childhood relationships contribute to quality of life in adulthood. An Issue Brief by PennState, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, pointed out that “social-emotional programming can boost the social-emotional skills of all children, support individual children who […]

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July 26, 2022
Having Mixed Feelings about Autistic Neurology and Disability?

If neurodivergent humans were included in discussions about shopping centers, social customs, and curriculum design a generation ago, what might be different today? We could likely expect more universal design, which is to say something that would work for any neurology - not just the neuromajority. Maybe malls would have more spaces for quiet decompression. […]

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April 30, 2022
Good Friend, Inc. Announces New Executive Director

May 2, 2022 Brookfield, WI— Good Friend, Inc. announces the hiring of Allison Katula (Brookfield) as Executive Director of the organization starting May 9. Earlier this year, the organization announced that the current Executive Director, Chelsea Budde, would be stepping down to fill the position of Program Director, allowing her to focus more on Good […]

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May 18, 2020
Going Virtual

In early March, before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, I arrived in an art room overflowing with giggles and bustling with activity, juggling our Good Friend toolbox, technology, and program materials. There were 25 Girl Scout Daisies waiting to learn more about autism and good friendship. Leaders helped the girls shift their focus from coloring […]

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