abcteach blog

abcteach is proud to offer a new category to our member site, dedicated to enhancing the lives of special needs individuals. The following is a personal note from specialist Jane Quinn, introducing herself, an exercise example, and welcoming you to take part in the future development of her section.

Jane writes:
I’d like to introduce myself and invite you to explore our new “Special Needs” category. I’ve been teaching moderate cognitively impaired and autistic spectrum students for over 30 years, to every age group, and found the greatest area of need to be secondary students and adults. Therefore this is where I have started (adding material to the site), but I have also included a few things for your primary students. Over the next few months, I will be adding lots of transition material and ideas, along with creating exercises from your requests.

To get you started, here is a “real class” home management teaching strategy:

  • • After choosing a Home Management Skills Checklist (included on the abcteach member site), assemble the students in front of a chalk or white board.
  • • Introduce the topic (i.e. “Setting the Table”) and ask “Does anyone do this job at home?”
  • • Then request the student to tell/show everything they can about “Setting the Table.” Write these on the board, placing them in the order they hold on the checklist.
  • • When the students have exhausted their ideas, fill in any missing steps. Next, read the list to the class and ask if anyone can think of things we missed.
  • • The students copy the steps (either in writing or on the computer) and place in a Home Management binder or folder.
  • • Each student is given the opportunity to practice the steps a couple of times in the classroom kitchen.
  • • Homework for the week is to practice these skills at home.
  • • Work on these skills 2 – 3 times, and add additional exercises each week.
  • • At the end of the year, each student now has a personal binder with a complete series of “Home Management Skills.”

I look forward to supporting your teaching roles, as well as enhancing your student’s learning network! If you have any suggestions, requests or comments, please let me know (I love a challenge!). My goal is to provide the ideas and materials necessary to assist young adults in leading the most independent and productive lives possible.

Posted by Jane Quinn, abcteach team

Below find a great sampling of free abcteach materials. For unlimited access to our full supply, abctools, and more, learn about an abcteach membership!

Holiday materials
Seasonal materials
Teaching Extras

24 Responses to “New Section Spotlight: Special Needs”

  1. grace

    Yea Jane!!! I teach middle school self contained and we constantly work on management skills,functional skills-how to survive-keep adding ideas-greatly appreciated.

  2. velia esqueda

    hi!!! this is a good idea..but could you please tellme if you had any experience with people with down syndrome?? couse I have a son with ds..and i woul like to have some material to work with him..thanks !!!!

  3. Joanne Davis

    I have high school students with special needs and some are on the spectrum, I am thrilled about the new category!

  4. Jane Quinn

    Velia – I have lots of experience with children with Downs Syndrome. There are currently checklists for housekeeping skills in both the primary and secondary sections of the special needs category. Also you may find the Monthly Activity Calendars helpful. They are a collection of activities for Pre-K/Early El, Upper El/Middle School and High School/Adults. They are designed to be used at home to help students of all ages learn independent living skills. I am currently developing most of my materials for High Schoolers and Adults. I am open to specific requests, so if you let me know what materials you would like to see available and for what age group, I am happy to help. Good Luck – I hope to hear from you soon.

    Jane Quinn

  5. Barry

    I teach 5-8 grade in a TMD, self-contain classroom. It is a challenge to meet the needs of my children (17) but enjoy every minute of teaching. I just joined ABCteach about a month ago. I will use your ideas and pick your brain. My biggest challenge is that I am to focus on teaching the test over their daily living and social skills. It is hard to balance. I believe I am doing ok but any ideas would be appreciated.
    Thanks for the site.

  6. Jane Quinn


    It is a challenge to teach what the district requires and also address the needs of the students. There are a lot of language arts and math worksheets that are very easy to modify under the regular categories. Also I taught an awesome social studies course on the United States using abcteach information on all the states. I allowed the students to pick the state we would study the next week. We colored in a map of all the states we covered. At the end of the year, the students went home with a great book (they created) with comprehensive information on most of the states. I can pull a sample together for you if needed. Good luck – let me know if I can help in any way.


  7. Pam

    I have been teaching TK-6 multicatagorical special education for 14 years, and have been a member of abcteach for most of that time! It is a wonderful resource for special education. I urge any special ed teacher to check the site-you will be amazed at what’s available!

  8. Donna W

    Dear Jane,

    I am a member and a frequent user of this website, and I just found this category today. I am thrilled to know this info is accessible to me. I have an 8 year old son with APD (Auditory Processing Delay). We are currently homeschooling him for the first time this year. School has been a struggle for him even in the Special Ed class. Because of his processing disability, he has difficulty with speech, language and memory. He often sees and hears letters, words, phrases and sentences in pieces and sometimes backwards or switched in order. For example, he will say, “This is your jacket?” instead of, “Is this your jacket?” If sentences of words have similar sounds they will often times get switched around. For example, he will say, “police ocifer” instead of “police officer. Do you have any material or exercises they may help in this area? Also, I am not sure how I found this section today. I was just searching around the site. I don’t see a category that is labeled “special needs”.

    Thank you,

  9. Barry

    Thanks but they want me to focus on Math and Reading. I will take the idea of the states and use it the first of the year. I have talked to different teacher about an idea to focus on Language Arts on Monday, Math on Tuesday, Science and Social Studies on Wednesday, then Thursday Language Art and Reading. Friday is Daily Living and Social skills (make bed, cook, etc.) Do you think this would work?

  10. Jane Quinn


    Have you tried making a game of arranging sentences with pictures and words (possibly on index cards) to help you son learn the correct order of what he wants to say. Then have him practice saying the sentence and copy it in the correct word order. I would also use visual schedules to help him get in the routine of correctly ordering of things. He should have some say in his schedule – especially if it doesn’t matter if he works on math first or last. I have found giving kids/students some control over their environment really helps them predict what is coming and what to expect. It also helps them remain engaged. If you would like some help with the word cards, let me know.


  11. Jane Quinn


    Working to embed daily living into academics skills takes some time, but is truly worth the effort. Math can revolve around lots of independent living skills. Money concepts and shopping involve lots of estimating, adding and subtacting. You also have to be sure you received the correct amount of change. Measurment skills are also great for embedding academics. Cooking is an easy match – but you can also try something like measuring a package to see how much wrapping paper will be required to cover the box. I like to use the abcteach’s” language arts themes”. The studends could dictate, then copy statements or stories about their experiences. On Friday we would try to make a community based instructuion trip that somehow involved the theme. An example – one week we investigated “chocolate milkshakes”. We did research on the internet, wrote about what was in them and why we liked them, took surveys and graphed the results, discussed measurements necessary for making them and on Friday, we walked up the the local Wendy’s to purchase a chocolate milkshake(frosty!) This was certainly one of the student’s favorite weeks! It was also full of reading, writing, arithmatic and daily living experiences.
    There are lots of other “weekly” themes that also lend themselves to academic concepts and daily living skills – you just have to be creative!

    Hope this helps – let me know if I can continue to help!


  12. Gerri

    Found this blog today, but do not see an icon to access Special Needs on abcteach’s Home Page.

  13. admin

    Hi Gerri,

    Since you are a member, you’ll want to go to Once there, look in the center of the page. You’ll see a blue bar labeled “Categories” and a list of subjects beneath it. Our main subjects, including Special Needs, are listed there in alphabetical order. If you still don’t see the Special Needs section, try refreshing your browser.

    For public site users:
    You’ll find the Special Needs link on the left side of the homepage, under the “Explore Our Free Materials” heading.

    Thanks for your question, Gerri. For further support, please contact

    Happy Holidays!

    The abcteach Team

  14. Nancy Johnson

    So glad this section opened up! I’m certified in both special ed and gen ed…have always taught the mainstreamed class but this year am teaching self-contained IVE grade 3. I really need the extra support and am so happy to have this option.
    Happy Holidays!

  15. Sandee Hough

    Hi Jane,

    Eighteen months ago I opened a private K-12 year-round school to educate children that are challenged by traditional classrooms and learn better in a small, safe, nurturing environment. All of our core curriculum is computerized and afternoons are spent doing project based learning activities including life skills. I use many of your activities for “morning work” prior to the beginning of the official day and after our reading time to transition into a new topic. I have children with ADD/ADHD, mood disorders, Asperger’s Syndrome, dyslexia, FASD/FAS and a variety of other learning challenges. The children enjoy the activities and are never overwhelmed by the material. They build social skills working together and helping each other further instills the skills and abilities being taught. But, best of all adding fun to learning makes the process far more enjoyable for everyone involved and the chances of the material staying with them longer is increased exponentially. Keep up the good work. I am glad I found this new section.

  16. Kathy Dykstra

    Hi Jane,
    I “stumbled” on your site today! How exciting. I will continue to offer your former students many of your wonderful idea. Thanks so much!

  17. Bertina

    I am so glad that someone is thinking about the secondary special education needs. I teach students with Autism. I am constantly looking on the internet and vaious website looking for age appropriate educational material for teen. The reading materials for low cognitive teens not vwery appealling. I use alot of my time taking educational resources and making them more age appropriate for my students. I need more educational materials on developing social skills that will help them feel more comfortable with their peers and adults.
    Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to incorporating your ideas into my resource bank.

  18. Jessica

    So happy about this addition to the website! It is so helpful!

  19. Tammy Rohrbaugh

    I am a Earl Ed teacher and own a daycare and was looking for ideas for my small group -then I stumbled on this area . This is so werid because I have a son of my own who has ASD along with other issues (ADHD , anxiety ,etc) . He is 14 and I have been struggling with his jr high to work on his IEP correctly. It has been a real struggle this year . I appreciate your information for all ages. I want to make sure if school isn’t going to do their job that I prepare my son for life skills along with education.
    Thank you from a lost Mom :-)

  20. Tamara

    I am so delighted to see that there is now a section for our much needed students in the general education classroom. I teach the life skills classroom grades K-5th ranges are MIMR to Austism. I hope to see the further compilation of resources as time go on….thank you!

  21. Nichole Torzewski


    I have been looking for your material since we talked last and i am so excited to see your information up and running! I cannot wait to implement your ideas into my classroom instruction. This is so helpful, especially being a first year teacher. I will continue to look for more ideas daily :~)

  22. mickie

    I work in the Speech department and trying to find material to meet the IEP can take up so much of my time. This is awsome!!!!!
    Thanks Mickie

  23. Gloria

    In Texas we administer the TAKS ALT. This test does not focus on daily living skills but on essence statements taken from a TAKS objective or TEXAS ASSESSMENT KNOWLEDGE SKILLS which is aligned with the TAKS ALTERNTIVE TEST. I work at a middle school and need to come up with ideas and teaching material to get the objectives across to my students which is time consuming and difficult. Could you add academic material to the special needs section?

  24. pat Donald

    Hi I work with special needs children who need to learn how to read but the only material I can find is baby books do you have any ideas I can use that are high intrest but low readibility say kindergarden or first grade level. Its h ard to find that material. thanks Pat

Copyright © abcteach blog. All rights reserved.