Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts



Don't Want to Miss An Episode?

Sign up to get all new episodes sent straight to your inbox.


Get notified as soon as a new epidsode drops!

We won't send spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

Visual Schedules & Beyond with Lisa Holladay from the Chalkboard Superhero

Do you use visual schedules within your special education classroom?
Are you updating them often?
Are you making sure they are age appropriate?
Are the students ACTUALLY using them? 
All these questions and more are addressed through today's episode with Lisa from the Chalkboard Superhero. READ MORE

The Importance of Play for Children with Autism & Neuroniversities

Ange Anderson (all the way from Wales, UK) joins us on the show today to share her expertise about the importance of play for children who have Autism and other neurodiversities.

Ange specializes in therapeutic and technological interventions and innovations for those who are neurodivergent in schools and  for families in UK.


50 Tips for Special Educators (My 50th Birthday Episode!)

Last week I turned the big 5-0! And you know what? It didn’t bother me near as much as I thought it would. 
In fact...I feel pretty dang good. I love the knowledge I have now and I like being able to say I’m an expert in a field that I love. This past week has given me the opportunity to reflect on life, take inventory of where I’ve been and what I’ve done and I want to use this opportunity to share 50 tips I’ve learned as a special education teacher that you can use to apply to your own life and your own career. READ MORE

How to Differentiate Writing for Students with an IEP

Are your students giving you fits when you ask them to write? Do they shut down and give up? We want our students to be successful in all areas of the curriculum and today we are hitting on writing.

Caitlyn Mitchell  joins the Sped Prep Academy Podcast today to talk about how to differentiate writing for students with IEPs. 

Personalizing Accommodations and Modifications with Shelley Kenow

Are you the teacher who writes the same accommodations on every student's IEP?⁠

🤔⁠ Don't're not alone (I've been there too)⁠
But after listening to today's episode you're going to be a pro at individualizing the accommodations and modifications you put on each student's IEP.⁠ READ MORE

Job Opportunities for Special Educators Beyond the Classroom

Are you burned out to the point of walking out?
Before you do, listen to Episode 106 of the Sped Prep Academy Podcast to learn about the different opportunities special educators have outside the 4 walls of a classroom. READ MORE

4 Tips to Improving Your IEP Meeting Room

Does your meeting room look like the inside of a prison?
You can do better my friend!

So you might be thinking…who cares what my IEP meeting room looks like…it has functioned well for years and it gets the job done. READ MORE

New Special Educator Question & Answer Series- Part 4

Today is the fourth and final part (for now anyway!) of a series where I chat with brand new special education teachers and give them the opportunity to ask a veteran teacher ALL the questions.

Today's questions are asked by Erika who is a student teacher preparing for a career as a special educator. READ MORE

New Special Educator Question & Answer Series- Part 3

Today is the third part of a series where I chat with brand new special education teachers who have had the opportunity to ask a veteran teacher ALL the questions.

Today's questions were submitted by Debbie who was unable to join me in person to record the show but I wanted to get her answers to her. I know if one person has these questions, others are bound to as well. READ MORE

New Special Educator Question & Answer Series- Part 2

Today is the second part of a series where I chat with brand new special education teachers who have had the opportunity to ask a veteran teacher ALL the questions.

Unfortunately, today's guest, Elyse, was unable to join me in person to record the show but I wanted to get her answers to her and what better way than to share them with everyone. READ MORE

New Special Educator Question & Answer Series- Part 1

Today is the first of a 4 part series where I chat with brand new special education teachers who have a million questions about where to even begin in this overwhelming field.

Today's guest is Jenn Burnand.


Episode 100: Top 5 Favorite Episodes 100th Episode Takeover



To celebrate the 100th episode of the Sped Prep Academy Podcast, Paul Hubbard from the Special ODDucation Podcast has taken over the airways and is hosting today's show.

Paul is one of my biggest fans and I knew I could depend on him to be entertaining and to sum up what he found as the most beneficial information from the show. READ MORE

Placeholder Image

Surviving the Back-to-School Scaries

Back to school season is among us and when I asked my daughter what today's episode should focus on, she said to talk about the Back to School scaries because if she was a teacher, that’s what she would be feeling right now, and I thought that would be a great topic because I’m sure the majority of us are feeling somewhat overwhelmed by this upcoming school year.


The Benefits of Criticism

On this episode, I chat about something that is difficult for everyone, including myself, but is something that helps mold us into better teachers and better humans overall and that is criticism. 

A few weeks ago, I had my phone in my hand when a review of my Facebook Page came in. It was 5 stars and that made me smile but as I began to read it, that smile quickly faded. READ MORE

Placeholder Image

Using Task Boxes as Independent Work Stations

Today’s guest is someone I’ve looked up to for a long time, both as an teacherpreneur and as a colleague within the field of special education.

Jennifer DeBrosse of Positively Learning has been in education for over 25 years working in the inclusion setting, resource room, and most recently as a special education instructional coach.

Like myself, she’s all about supporting other teachers. She works diligently to give special educators their time back - from getting organized and streamlining systems to increasing student engagement and independence. READ MORE

How to Implement Student-Led IEP Meetings

From my experience, the majority of special education teachers DON'T implement student-led IEP meetings (present company included.)

I mean, sure, I've had students attend the meeting but I never left it up to them to lead the meeting. But after speaking with this week's guest, I can definitely see the benefits and I will be promoting this to teachers from here on out!

Today’s guest is Maureen Howard from Spoonful of Sped. Maureen is a high school special education department chair in Virginia and is about to start her 8th year in the field. She is passionate about working with older students and enjoys thinking big picture about the skills students need during the transition to adulthood. READ MORE

Placeholder Image

How to Organize IEP Files

Have you ever received one of "those" IEP files?

Sure it’s a file filled with all the pertinent information that a special educator needs to have…the IEP itself, meeting notices, testing information, copies of progress reports, documentation between the teacher and the parent but...there is no rhyme or reason to the items placed within making it a nightmare to get an easy depiction of the child. READ MORE

The Benefits of an IEP Goal Bank

One of the ways special education teachers can be successful in their jobs without running themselves ragged is through the use of goal banks.

In fact, I created a digital goal bank just for you! Get it here!

Jen Murphy from The Sped Collective is joining me today to talk about how she streamlined the IEP writing process and learned not to overcomplicate the job and part of that approach involves using goal banks. READ MORE

What Parents Want Special Education Teachers to Know

Supporting our parents should be high up on your priority list. One way to do this is to provide parents with a Parent Handbook. This handbook is the perfect introduction into the confusing world of Special Education and will show your parents that you want to work together with them to give their child the best possible education. READ MORE

3 Ways to Prep for the School Year Before You Step Foot in a Classroom

Today’s guest is Alyssa Shanahan from Simply Special Ed and we are going to talk about how to prep for the school year before you step foot in the classroom this fall.

I know…I know…You might be thinking but Jennifer…I’m just now finishing a school year…why would you possibly think it was okay to begin the conversation of next year. Well first off…stick with me. I’m absolutely not trying to stress you out. In fact, today’s episode is meant to do the opposite. Its intent is to give you a leg up for next year. READ MORE

Teacher to Teacher Leader: Providing Special Educators with a Middleman

On today’s show, we have our first guest repeat. Heather from Full Sped Ahead is back with us to talk about all things Teacher Leadership. 

Heather is a self contained special education teacher who uses her experience and talents as a business owner, helping other teacher’s grow in this field and has presented at many educational conferences including Educators 2 Educators, The Intentional IEP, Thriving in Sped, Teach It Special, and Master IEP Coach.

In today’s episode, we chat about what those skills and qualities are and the importance of a teacher leader position within a district. READ MORE

Are You a Leader or a Micromanager? Self-Reflect to Find Out 

It was 20 years ago when I first heard the term "micromanaged." Once I figured out what it meant, I began to look for it as an employee. I knew I didn’t want to be micromanaged and luckily for me, I never have been.

But as a leader that was different story.

With the help of time, experience and wisdom…I have realized that I was micromanaging my paraprofessionals. I was doing the exact thing I didn’t want my supervisors to do to me. Talk about a blow to the ol’ ego. READ MORE

The Importance of Being Coachable 

The best teachers are those who are constantly questioning their practice and reflecting on how to improve. But just like individuals in other fields, teachers need personal and professional coaching.

We need someone in our corner who “gets” us… who speaks our language and asks us the questions we need to answer in order to unlock our unique strengths and to give us support to improve our weaknesses. READ MORE

5 Skills All Good Special Educators Have

Open positions in the field of special education are quite plentiful these days and many of those jobs are being filled with individuals who may not have the degrees or credentials YET, but they have what matters the most... the heart.

Everything you need to learn about being a special education teacher is just that…it’s learnable.  The only real thing you need to have to begin this job is the heart. The desire to want to work with these special individuals. READ MORE

3 End-of-the-Year Organizational Tips for Special Educators

There is so much going on at the end of a school year…field days, parties, assemblies, yearbook signings, finishing up reports and paperwork and you get to the point that you are exhausted and ready to pack up and head out.

But think about this instead...


End of School Year Stress: 5 Tips to Calm the Chaos

Are you about to pull your hair out with the end of school year chaos? It's a crazy time of the year for special education teachers. READ MORE

Placeholder Image

Providing Post-Secondary Success for Students with Special Needs

You know…you work in this field long enough and you begin to think you know everything about special education but as the host of this podcast and being 85 episodes in…I have found that there are still a lot of things to learn about the world of special education. Today’s topic is one of those things…. READ MORE

Supporting Parents Outside of the Classroom with Autism Consultant Molly Johnson

When you hear the words special educator does your brain immediately go to a teacher within a classroom setting who is managing a caseload of students, providing individualized instruction and supporting student’s cognitive, behavioral and physical needs? too!  READ MORE

Placeholder Image

The Benefits of Implementing a Therapy Dog at School

Therapy dogs help to calm students who are anxious, scared or upset. They also increase the overall morale of the entire building. 

A therapy dog promotes greater self-esteem and focused interaction with other students and teachers. READ MORE

The Benefits of Sensory Fidgets

Did you know that a very high percentage of all humans fidget.  I challenge you to think of someone...a colleague, a spouse, a friend, or maybe even yourself.. and you will probably see people bouncing their legs up and down, turning pens over and over in their hands, chewing on things, doodling, picking at their lower lips, pulling at their beard, twisting their hair, popping their knuckles – and doing these things completely unconsciously. READ MORE

Placeholder Image

How to Write Better PLAAFP Statements

I'm just going to say it...If you are writing "No concerns" as the only 2 words in a statement for a Present Level of Performance's time to step up your game. READ MORE

3 Things I Wish I'd Had as a New Teacher

 I'm sorry if I've been a disservice to you.

My goal as someone who provides mentorship to other special educators is to SERVE you. To teach you. To help you grow both personally and professionally.

But it looks like I've dropped the ball. READ MORE

Help Your Students & Families Get a Good Night's Sleep

Did you know that 80% of autistic children have difficulty sleeping?

How many times as a special educator have you heard “He just isn’t sleeping” or “He goes to sleep and then wakes up in the middle of the night” “Or it’s going to be a rough day today because she didn’t sleep well.” Often autistic children find it hard to sleep because of sensory sensitivities to their sleeping environment. READ MORE

How to Explain Achievement Test Results to Parents

Have you been in this situation at an IEP table?

It's your turn to explain testing results to parents and you don't know where to begin or how much to include. Your face is red, your neck is splotchy, your pits and palms are sweating and you're positive you're going to be fired on the spot as soon as the meeting is over.

Yep! Been there, done that! READ MORE

How to Plan for a Resource Room

Now I know what you might be thinking..because I'm thinking it too…there are SOOOO many different ways to plan for a resource room and what works for me may not work for you and what works for you might not work for me…and that’s okay.

No resource room runs the same way as another. So I’m going to explain what I do to plan and you can take this information and adjust it, tweak it, expand on it…whatever you need to do to help it apply to your situation. READ MORE

How to Schedule for a Resource Room

This week’s episode is part 2 of a 3 part series on how to run a resource room and today we're talking about the HOW  when it comes to planning for and developing a schedule that works for you.

Scheduling for a resource room, when you have so many different moving pieces, can be one of the most frustrating aspects of being a sped teacher. READ MORE

How to Set Up a Resource Room

So this week will be part 1 of a 3 part series on how to run a resource program. We're going to dive into how to set one up, how to schedule for it and how to plan for the students who have resource services. I’m only going to focus on one aspect each week and this week I want to talk about what setting up a resource room looks like. MORE

Tips to Running a Resource Room

We have a special guest on the show today and she’s so special, I actually recorded her episode not once…but twice! 😂

Amanda Wilp and I talked one evening for over an hour and it was just the best conversation because we have so much in common and chatting about resource rooms with her came easy and natural…but once we were done we realized I had not pressed record. I was so mad at myself but Amanda was gracious and kind and offered to record it again with me the very next evening. What a trooper she is! READ MORE

Placeholder Image

How to Support Students with CVI

Have you ever heard of the acronym CVI? 
I hadn't! Even after over 2 decades of teaching, I got to learn something new from today's guest.

Today’s guest is Melissa Chalme from Special Achievers and she is joining us to chat about a topic I had absolutely no knowledge about before our talk. And for me, when that happens, I’m like a kid in a candy store, because I am such a nerd when it comes to learning new things. MORE

How to Teach Literacy Through Story Based Instruction

Are you (unintentionally) holding your students back by ONLY focusing on decoding skills to help them become better readers?

I get it. Yes our students need learn to decode to become better readers but on today's episode of the podcast, Laura from Miss Lulu and I sit down to have a chat about something that goes beyond teaching a student to decode words.

And it's every bit as important! READ MORE

Placeholder Image

Episode #71: Including ALL Students Through Modified Play & Leisure Skills

Are you playing games with your students? ALL of them?? Playing games with kids of all ages is important for teaching and learning:

  • Communication
  • Turn taking
  • Winning vs losing
  • Socialization  READ MORE

Episode #70: The Steps to Take Before and After an IEP Meeting

As special educators, we all most likely have a good understanding of the importance of the IEP meeting but today we’re going to back up to help teachers understand that there is a lot of work to put in BEFORE the meeting and there are even things to do AFTER the meeting that you may not be aware of. READ MORE

Placeholder Image

Episode #69: How to Welcome a New Student and Their Family to Your Classroom

Today’s episode is dedicated to something I imagine a lot of special educators take for granted because it's something that occurs often but not so often to really think about the procedures you have in place when it does happen..

And that is what to do when you get a new student on your caseload. READ MORE

Episode #68: 4 Ways to Set Your Paraprofessionals Up for Success in the New Year (Or Anytime!)

HaPPy NeW YeAR!!

This is the first episode of 2022 and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling good. I’m feeling like I had a very restful break as far as being a teacher goes and now I’m ready to jump into this new year of teaching with the motivation and the initiative I need to finish out yet another school year strong....and I want the same for YOU! READ MORE

Click here to find even more episodes!
Listen, rate & subscribe on itunes today!
Powered by Kajabi