Ayrshire teacher puts his passion for learning support into print with his first book

An Ayrshire teacher has published her very first book, inspired by her passion for supporting learning.

Kilmarnock-based Karen Watson’s first print book, “Good Autism Practice for Teachers: Embracing Neurodiversity and Supporting Inclusion” was published earlier this month.

It offers an accessible guide for all trainees and teachers in need of additional support (ASN), providing practical, evidence-based ways to support neurodivergent learners that will benefit all students equally.

Karen – ASN educator and inclusion champion – has worked in North and East Ayrshire for 10 years.

Her goal is to share the book with professionals to increase their confidence, knowledge, and opportunities for inclusion.

She said: ‘During my teacher training I realized that, as ASN teaching practices were constantly changing, there really was a gap in the market for a concise book giving accessible advice. and easy to read for added assurance that I was doing the right thing by my learners.

“I have always dreamed of writing my own book since I was very young, so after spending the last decade working with children, young people and other ASN professionals in different local communities, I have realized that I could combine my experience and practical know-how alongside academic research into a supportive learning resource.

“Each chapter covers a range of topics, including a look at autism theory – including procedural/semantic memory, executive functioning, expressive/receptive language, sensory integration, behavior as communication and the importance of emotional literacy, co-regulation and resilience.”

Karen’s new book

Karen, an alumnus of Greenwood Academy in Irvine, said it was important to make sure the book was easy to read.

She added: “I didn’t want to create a textbook to sit on a shelf and gather dust, but rather a textbook that can sit on a teacher’s desk, covered in sticky notes and with folded pages. A true companion, to help other teachers on their journey and to provide research-backed advice and strategies.

“Working at ASN can be hard work, but it’s so rewarding. I hope this will help teachers recognize the incredible work they do.

“I try to focus on the key elements of education, which will promote independence, inclusion and generally support happy and fulfilled children and families.

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“Our education system is constantly adapting and evolving to meet the individual needs of our students, and I hope my little book will help push us along the path to truly accessible education for all.”

Referring to her own ASN teaching experiences, Karen added: ‘The teaching and education facilities and standard of practice for ASN pupils in North Ayrshire are of such high quality and my experiences on the Board have been very positive.

“The children and young people I have worked with are of course also a wonderful group.

“I think once you’ve lived and worked in Ayrshire it’s hard to settle anywhere else – unless it’s somewhere where it hasn’t rained much, mind you!”

More details about the book, published by Critical Publishing, can be found here.

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