ASD – Autistic Spectrum Disorder:

‘Autism spectrum disorder’ is the term frequently used to refer to the group of disorders included under the general heading of the pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) in the International Classification of Diseases (World Health Organisation, 1992)1. This group of disorders are ‘characterised by qualitative abnormalities in reciprocal social interactions and in patterns of communication, and by a restricted, stereotyped, repetitive repertoire of interests and activities.’  (National Autistic Society)


Pathological Demand Avoidance

People with pathological demand avoidance syndrome (PDA) will avoid demands made by others, due to their high anxiety levels when they feel that they are not in control.

PDA, first described by Elizabeth Newson during the 1980s as a pervasive developmental disorder distinct from autism, is increasingly becoming recognised as part of the autism spectrum. It is a lifelong disability and, as with autism and Asperger syndrome, people with PDA will require different amounts of support depending on how their condition affects them. 

The central difficulty for people with PDA is their avoidance of the everyday demands made by other people, due to their high anxiety levels when they feel that they are not in control. Hence the name of the syndrome: pathological demand avoidance.  (National Autistic Society)

Another key problem for people with PDA (and their carers!) is that behaviour in different settings can be dramatically different.  This can be hugely frustrating for parents who are trying to get school to accept that ‘everything is not OK’ because al seems well at school.

As Luke Beardon says, in his ‘Perspectives on Autism’

“It is very clearly documented…that many children with autism (though not all!) will diesplay considerably different behaviours in different settings.  This can be a result of a wide range of reasons, from central coherence abilities, to environmental factors, to differing levels of stress in different situations.  A reasonably common pattern in terms of school/home behaviour is that the child may appear to present with no problems at school, but at home there can be major issues in terms of behaviour.  Often, the result is that either school simply do not believe that the child they see at school can be displaying the reported behaviours at home, or that the school erroneously believe that because the behaviours are only seen at home then the causing factors for the behaviour must also be situated there.  This is nit always the case, and it is of imperative importance that all parties involved recognise the serious nature of high levels of distress, and recognise that all aspects of the individual’s life may be a contributory factor towards high arousal – which, in turn, may manifest in behavioural issues………….Just because a child has the ability to ‘mask’ their autism at school does not mean that they are not greatly impacted by their autism on a daily basis.  In fact, it is often this ‘masking’ behaviour that lead school to believe that there is no problem at school; however, it may be that the child is behaving in this way precisely because they are stressed  and have discovered that by copying others they can ‘hide’ their very real problems.  When at home, all of the emotional distress may then be released in what is seen as a safe environment.  The irony is that in some cases, it is the stress and anxiety experienced at school that subsequently lead to the copying behaviour and subsequent meltdowns at home.”


Freemium is a business model by which a product or service (typically a digital offering such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but a premium is charged for advanced features, functionality, or virtual goods.  (

 Many apps let you make in-app purchases to buy extra content (like bonus game levels or map experience points) and subscriptions. You can make in-app purchases on your Mac or iOS device using your Apple ID

Interactive Story App

An interactive story app is a story  that can be read on a digital device such as an iPad.  Digital storybooks for children can be in the form of an ebook, enhanced ebook or story app.  Each is slightly different.

Ebooks are simplest to produce, an example being  stories made for the Kids’ Kindle but their capabilities are the most limited. Ebooks can be created by someone who is inexperienced in software production.  Apps require an experienced computer programmer or developer. Enhanced ebooks are not as complicated to produce as apps, but some training is necessary.  Enhanced ebooks and apps also require additional media, such as artwork or audio narration and sound effects or animation.  Surprisingly, ebooks are often more expensive to buy than story apps or enhanced ebooks, in spite of the more complex format.


Bloom’s Taxonomy

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From Wikipedia:
“Bloom’s wheel, according to the Bloom’s verbs and matching assessment types. The verbs are intended to be feasible and measurable.

Bloom’s taxonomy is a way of distinguishing the fundamental questions within the education system. It is named after Benjamin Bloom, who chaired the committee of educators that devised the taxonomy. He also edited the first volume of the standard text, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals.[1]

Bloom’s taxonomy refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). It divides educational objectives into three “domains”: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as “knowing/head”, “feeling/heart” and “doing/hands” respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels.[2] A goal of Bloom’s taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.[1]

Bloom’s taxonomy is considered to be a foundational and essential element within the education community.”

QR Codes

A QR code  or Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached.

These codes can be used to give additional information in several different ways.  This might simply be a link to a text or video or perhaps an audio file.  They are being used increasingly by teachers within the classroom to provide another way of presenting or accessing information.

Kids’ Kindle

The Fire HD Kids Edition is a standard Kindle Fire HD tablet (either 6 or 7 inch size) with extra features designed for kids.  There is also a large case that protects the tablet and makes it easier for small children to hold and use.  There is also a 2-year, no-questions-asked warranty.  For an extra charge you can get a year’s subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which includes games, videos and books.  Added to this, Amazon have put a lot of effort into Parental Controls and building up a vast library of educational content.


Common Core State Standards

“The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in Mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live. Forty-three states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) have voluntarily adopted and are moving forward with the Common Core.”


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