Karen Tytler - Team Leader, Victoria & Tasmania

Why Positive Partnerships?

I have had the enormous privilege of being part of the Delivery Team for PP for 18 months.  It is without doubt the most inspiring and informative workshop I have seen in many years of practice.  To take up the opportunity of leading the amazing group of professionals who deliver the program across Victoria and Tasmania is an honour.

What has inspired you in the past?

I am constantly inspired by the families and children I work with.  The power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and to find joy in the meaningful things in life – even if they seem insignificant brings me enormous satisfaction.

Tell us about your previous roles

My original training is as a physiotherapist.  I worked in Early Intervention for many years – as a therapist and then manager.  I then took on the role of Principal at an independent primary school for students with severe behaviour and social/emotional difficulties. Most recently,  I was an Autism Information Advisor with Amaze.

What are some tips for teachers and parents on how to help children settle in when they start school or transition to high school?

I’m sure it’s been said many times before, but my top tips are:

  • Do the preparation with plenty of time.  Begin early (term 3).  Use the team around the child; parents, extended family/community, therapists, previous teachers and support staff.  Understand what works for that child – don’t try and reinvent the wheel.  The Planning Matrix is an ideal tool to bring together all of the information in a simple format that can be shared easily.
  • Understand the young person’s sensory profile and make adjustments accordingly (quiet spaces, break times, movement breaks etc).
  • Practice – set up times for the young person to visit when it is quiet.  If it’s appropriate, take photos of the real environment and create a “social story”.
  • Be predictable – use the strategies that work for the student to assist them to predict what is coming.  It may be visual cues, but it may be something else.  This will help all students.
  • Set up a communication strategy that works for both parents and the school – make it simple.
  • FOCUS ON STRENGTHS AND INTERESTS.  No one likes to be reminded of what they can’t do!