Circular tables surrounded by seated people, listening to the keynote speaker at the Send Help conference.

I was thrilled to be invited to the SEND Help conference in Chester Le Street this year. The team celebrated their first in person event since the pandemic, and what a day it was!

The keynote by Emma Parker was insightful and inspiring. She has such a amazing breadth of knowledge of the SEND system. When she finished speaking, I don’t think anyone made a sound. We were all in awe of her engaging and passionate speech!

I presented a workshop on Sensory Processing. This is one of my favourite workshops to run! It’s engaging, interactive and I learn something new every time.

Karen is presenting a workshop to a room of seated participants. The screen behind her says Sensory Processing.

Sensory Processing is something that we all need to be aware of in our classrooms. We all have different sensory preferences, and there can be different levels of tolerance within those preferences.

As part of the workshop, I give out post it notes and ask participants to make a note for themselves of any sensory likes or dislikes they may notice. It’s so interesting to hear participants who may come in thinking ‘this applies to my learners and not me’ realise that they too have sensory likes and dislikes, and have probably also got their own subconscious management strategies.

Another key part of this workshop is mimicking sensory overload. Now this isn’t for everyone and always comes with a disclaimer and an open invitation to stop/leave and re-join when we are finished. I also don’t claim that this is what every young person experiences. But it is useful to get a bit of an idea of how some of our learners feel every single day. Overwhelmed. Overloaded. Not in a place where learning can take place. I try to engage as many senses as possible, and create an uncomfortable environment for participants to experience that sense of overwhelm. And realise how incompatible this state is with learning.

It’s not all horrible, I promise!

A closer view of Karen presenting to a room of participants.

A huge thank you to everyone who came to my presentation, and thanks once again to the team at SEND Help for the invitation.

Podcast Ep 13 Leading A Team

*New Pod Alert* Episode 13 is now available for listening wherever you get your podcasts.

This weeks episode is all about Leading A Team.

Especially within ASN, it can be hard to work out the people management aspect of the job. I mean, nobody told us about this at uni!

Let’s take some time to think about being a leader, making changes, tricky conversations and feedback.

Podcast Ep 12 Writing Quality Targets

Time for another pod! This time the topic is Writing Quality Targets.

My top tips for target writing are to ask yourself;

Is it positive?

Is it useful?

Is it achievable?

Is it measurable?

Is it beneficial?

Is it positive?

If the answer to any of these is no, then it’s back to the drawing board.

Listen in wherever you get your podcasts, and please let me know your thoughts!

New Podcast Episode Alert

A photo of Karen smiling with the text “Scottish ASN Teacher Podcast with Karen Watson” in red. There is a pink background, a black microphone graphic and a pink image of a sound wave.

My podcast is officially back for season two (it’s only taken a year… or two…)

I thought I would ease us back in with an episode on Setting up an Accessible Classroom. I go through different aspects of classroom set up, such as Environment, Resources, Displays, Targets, Assessments, Transitions and Relationships, all the while thinking about the varied needs of our learners, and considering sensory processing requirements.

So take a listen, and let me know what you think! Were any of these tips useful for you? Did you listen and think, I’m already doing loads of these! If so, then great job. I think we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be ‘Pinterest perfect’ in the classroom when really, we just need permission to trust our instincts. So I am hereby giving you that permission. You know your class best, so you go ahead and do exactly what they need you to do.

Let me know what works for your class. Do you have any top tips that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments, or pop me a wee email at [email protected]

One sleep to go…

By this time tomorrow, my first book will be out there in the world, and I couldn’t be more excited (or nervous). This book has been a real labour of love, and I really hope that it can help create a more accessible educational experience for our learners. Our education system is changing, it’s recognising that a traditional approach just doesn’t work for our pupils. We need inclusion, true individualisation and deeper understanding of the range of needs within our school community.

Visual of the cover of Good Autism Practice for Teachers, with a link to the Critical Publishing website.

So join me on this journey, as we work together to make change for our wonderful young people. My book covers everything from Emotional Literacy to Communication and Visuals, and a lot in between as well. It provides researched and evidence based strategies, written in a way which is easy to read and digest. I don’t want this book to be one which gathers dust on a shelf! It is designed to be scribbled one, filled with colourful post its, and to be stuffed in your desk drawer so it’s accessible during your day.

Visual of Good Autism Practice for Teachers, Karen has matched her manicure to the cover, which is pink with rainbows.

And if you need any more convincing, how many teaching CPD books can you match your manicure to? #BuyThePinkBook


Photo of a white, blonde woman (Karen) wearing yellow glasses and a black shirt.

Welcome to my blog! If you’re reading this, it means I have successfully pressed the correct buttons, and my website is now live.

Let me briefly introduce myself. I’m Karen, otherwise known as Scottish ASN Teacher. I am exactly what it says on the tin, I am a teacher in Scotland who specialises in Additional Support Needs. I have particular experience in Autism and communication needs. Over the course of my career so far, I have worked in specialist provisions and mainstream schools with resource centres, with a wide range of children and needs.

I love my job because it’s challenging, no two days are the same, and it’s given me the chance to meet and work with some truly wonderful young people.

Alongside teaching, I run an Instagram page for teachers, I have my own podcast, and I present fortnightly with Teacher Hug Radio (info below). I am in the process of setting up my own Youtube channel, so watch this space… I have also written for TES (articles linked below), and have been involved with training and speaking events for a variety of organisations.

I will keep this first post short and sweet, but if you would like to find out a bit more about who I am and what I do, you can find me in the following places.

Pink circular shape containing red writing (Instagram @Scottish_ASN_Teacher, Twitter @Karen_N_Watson, Podcast Scottish ASN Teacher, Teacher Hug Radio Build A Ramp)

TES Scotland articles;

April 2021- 5 Post lockdown tips from an ASN Teacher


May 2021- 9 ways that visuals help pupils and teachers


January 2022- 6 tips for stepping into your first ASN leader job