Hi, I'm Anna and I am the founder of Learning Visually. I work as a Special Education and Autism Consultant and a Sessional Lecturer with La Trobe University. As a Consultant and "Pracademic", I provide professional learning and in-situ training with teachers and parents about evidence-based strategies and approaches for students and young children with developmental delays, ADHD and Autism. My passions are in the areas of Structured Teaching, Executive Skills for Learning, Behaviour, Curriculum and ILPs, which has led to several publications in research journals, book chapters and Conference presentations both locally and overseas. Having received training through Division TEACCH® at the University of North Carolina, I am TEACCH® Certified Advanced Consultant. I am committed to the professional growth of practitioners in the fields of special and inclusive education.
“In my years as a special education teacher, I learnt from my students with ASD, ADHD or Intellectual Disability(ID), that their preference to receiving instruction is in some form of a visual cue or support. This simply means that visual supports are a way of making verbal instruction more visual and concrete for them. Interestingly, we all refer to a visual at some point in our day, which means, visuals are a necessary tool for everyone.
Visual supports are evidence-base and they assist the student in more than one way. A visual helps the student to organise and sequence information, to understand the meaning behind the verbal message, they are able to anticipate what will happen next in an event and with visual supports the student is more likely to experience a positive outcome during the communication exchange with a partner (Hodgdon, 2000; Quill, 1995, 1997). Think of an occassion where you found yourself searching for that point of interest or trying to navigate yourself in an environment quite foreign to you, the presence of visuals helped you achieve your goal in a timely and stress-free fashion. And so, Learning Visually has become my trademark when I work with teachers and parents. I stress the importance of visual supports for the student who is challenged by their executive skills, information processing, attention and social interaction”.
Having established a broad network of partnerships, my work in the wider community has involved conducting full/half- day Workshops, Program Evaluation, Curriculum Development and Instructional Coaching. I am more than happy to discuss with you the areas which are raising questions amongst your school community. I can then personalise a Professional Learning session(s) to address your questions. Below are some of the schools and services that I am connected to:
“Our staff are still "buzzing" and reflecting on your presentation, lots of professional discussion which is terrific". (Annie Baker, Assistant Principal Holroyd School)
"Anna is the ultimate professional. She is generous with her colleagues when it comes to sharing and collaboration, a great team player and an inspirational team leader. She is always focused on capacity building, preferring to coach rather than lecture. She never wavers from the core belief in the importance of making every minute matter during a child's education" (Janet Taylor, Principal Yarra Ranges SDS)
"In her role at Yarra Me, Dr Bortoli works with teachers who have students with ASD in the mainstream, demonstrating the use of visual schedules and work systems and advising teachers on the physical structure of their classroom. Her service is in high demand, and is valued by school leadership teams and DET Regional officers." (Nancy Sidoti, Principal Yarra Me School)
Some Participant Feedback from Independence in the Classroom: Strategies for Students with ASD workshop, October 2019
"The day was very productive. Anna is a great presenter who has great knowledge. Thankyou!"
"I love the what work, how to monitor progress, what next aspect - especially when breaking down activities"
"Thankyou for an inspiring PD day"
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