The Tough Kid: Bully Blocker Shorts

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May, 2015
DVD Author: 
Pacific Northwest Publishing

The Tough Kid: Bully Blocker Shorts include six short videos (ranging from 6 to 10 minutes) that teach students how to prevent bullying. The titles include Learning about Bullying, Bully Blocker Tools, Friendship Builders, Problem Solvers, Respecting Differences, and Confidence Boosters.

The videos show an adult drawing simple but engaging animations to illustrate the concepts along with the narration. After every short, the students are encouraged to discuss the concepts and brainstorm ways to prevent bullying. The shorts were created by a team of educational psychologists with vast experiences in the field of education and social-emotional wellbeing.

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The Black Balloon

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March, 2015
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Producer: Tristram Miall and Toni Collette

The Black Balloon features 15-year-old Thomas and his family. Thomas feels that his parents focus their attention primarily on his younger brother, Charlie. Charlie has autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

After their mother is put on bed rest during her pregnancy, Thomas becomes responsible for Charlie’s safety and wellbeing. Through caring for Charlie, Thomas becomes more acquainted with Charlie’s world – spending time with others with disabilities, being hypersensitive to aspects of the environment, and using sign language for communication.

The film follows the brothers as they build their relationship with patience and understanding. The Black Balloon was received well by critics on Rotten Tomatoes and Roger Ebert. It was originally screened at the Berlin International Film Festival.

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A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism

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February, 2015
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Producer, Margret Dagmar Ericsdottir; Narrator, Kate Winslet

A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism is a documentary film that features Margret and her son, Keli. Keli is 10 years old and has autism. Margret is determined to learn more about autism; she sets out across Europe and the United States to interview professionals who work with individuals with autism and parents who have a child with autism. The interviews highlight the great amounts of effort and commitment involved in caring for individuals with autism.

A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism has received positive feedback from critics and has been screened at several international film festivals.

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Dad’s in Heaven with Nixon

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January, 2015
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Producer: Jefferson Miller; James Witker Director: Tom Murray

Dad’s in Heaven with Nixon is a documentary film that follows the Murray family. Chris Murray, the brother of director Tom Murray, has brain damage from oxygen deprivation at birth and later develops autism spectrum disorder. Chris, now in his 50s, has held various jobs and is especially praised for his talent for painting cityscapes. The film demonstrates Chris’ notable development from a nonverbal child to an independent adult. The film has received positive ratings on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

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The Story of Luke

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December, 2014
DVD Author: 
Producer, DViant Film; Director, Alonso Msyo

The Story of Luke stars Luke, a 25-year old male with autism.

Luke was abandoned by his mother and then raised by his grandparents. After the death of his grandmother, he begins living with his aunt, uncle, and cousins. One of his family members advises Luke to look for a job and find a girlfriend. The film follows Luke through his journey into adult life and independence.

The Story of Luke won the Best Film award at the Irvine International Film Festival and the San Diego Film Festival. It also won the Audience Award at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival and the Bahamas International Film Festival.

Produced in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

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Best Kept Secret

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November, 2014
DVD Author: 
Danielle Di Giacomo, Samantha Buck

Best Kept Secret is a documentary film that follows Janet Mino, a special education teacher. Ms. Mino works at JFK High School in Newark, New Jersey. Her class consists of several young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are nearing graduation. The film details Ms. Mino’s immense efforts to best prepare her students for their transition into the adult world. Because her past students with severe, multiple disabilities have faced challenges finding meaningful placements or employment after high school, Ms. Mino is determined to support the best possible outcomes for her current students with ASD.

Best Kept Secret has received numerous acclamations, such as those from New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Variety. The film won the Peabody Award and was nominated for the Audience Award at the Gotham Independent Film Awards. It also boasts an impressive rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Social Behavior Mapping

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August, 2014
DVD Author: 
Michelle Garcia Winner

In this 50 minute video, Michelle Winner presents her strategy of Social Behavior Mapping (SBM). As Michelle explains, SBM is based on the principle of addressing behaviour by improving an individual’s self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-control, and by drawing their attention to the chain of effects that unexpected behaviors have on other people. In this informative DVD, she provides an explanation of why the strategy works, and how to use it with individuals with social difficulties. This DVD would be excellent for parents, resource teachers, and classroom teachers alike.

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High School Life: Unspoken Expectations

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March, 2014

High School Life: Unspoken Expectations is the fourth volume in the Fitting In and Having Fun Social Skills Training Video Series. The video is made up of two main features: Social Situations Reviewed and Peer Mentors and is accompanied by guidelines for facilitating student discussion regarding the content of the video.

In the Social Situations Reviewed, High School Life unpacks the expected and unexpected behaviours in a variety of social situations. They include “Insight Windows” to highlight what each individual in the situation may have been thinking and provide tips to students on how to set themselves up for success. Featured situations include: showing empathy, having manners, managing stress, behaving in the classroom, problem solving, dealing with embarrassment, and being organized.
The video also features Peer Mentors who address a variety of topics that students might be thinking about prior to starting high school. Mentors draw from their own experiences to give advice about being a good friend, having a conversation, working in a group, and managing peer pressure and bullying.

This video is targeted to students who are about to enter or have just started high school. It can be used with individual students or as a teaching tool in a group format. It is recommended that initial viewing be accompanied by an adult to facilitate reflection and discussion; once familiar with the DVD, however, it is a wonderful tool for independent student learning.

Available at: http://www.tdsocialskills.com/video4_hs.htm

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The Able Individual Video Learning Series: Dressing Volume 2

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February, 2014
DVD Author: 
Child First LLC

This DVD consists of readymade video models for teaching dressing behaviours, including putting on a shirt, fastening zippers and buttons, and tying shoes. The models in the videos are young boys and girls and their actions are narrated as they are performed. This resource would be a great tool for educators or parents who are working on dressing independently with their student or child and either do not have time to or are unsure how to make their own video models.

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Using Visual and Behavioural Cues in the Home: Teaching Life Skills to Young Children with Autism and other Significant Disorders

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January, 2014
DVD Author: 
Robin D. Allen, Ph.D.

This two hour video provides parents, professionals, and other caregivers with practical visual and behavioural strategies to enhance communication, prevent disruptive behaviours, and increase their child’s independence in performing daily life skills.

Topics addressed include: basic assumptions, schedules and routines, choice boards, self-help skills, chores and responsibilities, setting expectations, community visual cues, developing materials, environmental modifications, and additional resources.

In her presentation on these topics, Dr. Allen introduces strategies that can be used easily in educational settings or at home with a broad range of children to foster independence through visual supports.

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