How to Find Special Education Resources

How to Find Special Education Resources on TPT.png

So you want to find Special Education resources online. You’ve heard everyone talking about it and you’ve seen ALL the beautiful classrooms and resources on pinterest… but where do you get started?

Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) is the BEST online marketplace for educational resources, and I am proud to say that they are over 100,000 resources created by special educators and tested in REAL classrooms.

The ability to download a resource at a moments notice, and having a library of instant downloads at our fingertips has changed the way every teacher teaches. This is especially true for special education teachers, where before you may have had NO CURRICULUM and were tasked with making everything yourself. Sometimes, life gets in the way of that.

Teachers Pay Teachers has made it possible to simply search for what you need, and download it instantly. There are SO MANY differentiated materials for every topic possible, you just need to know the right way to search for it!

How to Find Special Education Resources on TPT (1).png

You want to make sure you have an active TPT account before you start searching. That way you can wish list things, make purchases with a few clicks, and follow your favorite sellers, without loosing what you were looking at.

step 2.png

Once you have an account you can start searching! Above are some search tips that may help you! In special education, our students could be at a variety of levels and even if they are in a certain grade, the search may not give you what you are looking for. Try searching by category and using the search bar as often as possible. If you are looking for something specific to special ed or autism, add that to your search term to yield better results and avoid sifting through many pages.

step 3.png

Before you buy a resource, it’s good to check out the sellers page. You can always find a FREE resource in the top right corner. This is a great way to check the quality of their work and see if their style fits your student needs. If you really like what the seller has to offer, you can follow their store. This means that you will receive updates when they have a sale or post a new product, which is important because a lot of sellers give limited time discounts when they first post!

You can also search from this page, look at their featured items, sort by best sellers or price, and search through custom categories. If you have a seller that you have bought from before, and want to see what else they have, the custom categories can give you a good idea of that.

step 4.png

Wish listing an item is a great way to save it for later. When you are ready to purchase you can narrow it down by going to “My Wish List” Located in the drop down menu under your name on the top right. I personally love to wish list the night before a site wide sale to get everything I need in one place before I analyze the list! It’s a great way to save for later!step 5.png

The My Purchases page is a LIFESAVER. You always have access to your purchases from whatever computer you are on. I love this because I can go down to the computer lab, log into TPT and print what I need right from there. No emails or USBs needed. You can also provide feedback by clicking the thumbs up symbol on this page. It lets you know if you have already provided feedback or not. step 6.png

Did you know that providing feedback on your TPT purchases gets you FREE MONEY to spend on more resources? ( I swear this is one of TPT’s most hidden gems!) Each time you leave feedback you earn credits… and they add up quick. I love to leave feedback and watch it pile up, and use my credits during a site wide sale. Make sure you take advantage of earning your credits!

You can also buy additional licenses on this page. It is against TPT and most sellers terms of use to use a product in multiple classrooms or share with your teacher friends without buying additional licenses. They are almost always available at 50% off the original price, and sellers greatly appreciate your honesty!




Looking for some special education sellers to follow! Here is a list of some awesome sellers, look through their stores and use all the tips in this post to make this year the best ever!

You can find my TPT store here:

Special Education Teachers Pay Teachers Stores:



Fine Motor Christmas Tree

One of my personal goals this year is to find more ways to integrate sensory and fine motor activities into my students days. Every academic activity we give our students can be modified to include fine motor or sensory.


Some activities, we can create with fine motor needs in mind. My kids DON’T enjoy gluing, and their OT wants to expose them to more liquid glue, and less glue sticks. So this project was developed with that in mind.

All of my kids are working on counting, some 1:1 correspondence, some making a set, and others making arrays for early multiplication. This activity hit all of those needs.

First we set up the trees by cutting large construction paper using a paper cutter. Then using a ruler, we made 12 equal sections.


Next we readied 12 materials that could be used for each section. I wanted my students to have 12 rows of each material.


Some of my students need a bit more visual support for counting and gluing using 1:1 correspondence skills. It can be tough to count, glue, and check that you have enough in the row. I added in some visual support for them.


Next we set up the glue, We used pom poms and clothespins, one of my favorite ways to get kids using the pinch grasp. The pom poms lined up perfectly with the circles, so helped to let them know how much glue they needed, one dip was good for a whole row! I like using these paint containers for glue, because it gives the pom pom somewhere to rest when they aren’t using it, much better than laying the glue pom pom on the table making a big mess!


Next, we started making choices. All the bins of materials were out on the table. Students had to request what bin they wanted and counted out the number of items needed.


They did a great job of choosing a different material for each row!


You can see even more ideas for materials in this photo. I bought nothing new for this, just used what we had in our closet, and cut things into smaller pieces. The smaller the pieces the better for kids to practice fine motor skills and counting the exact amount they need.


The finished product was so beautiful, and every students was different! We have already gotten so many compliments on our new door decorations.

finished tree.png

The best part about this project, is that it actually extended the amount of time my students usually can sit for a project. Art activities aren’t a favorite, we don’t like to get our hands dirty and touch glue. The clothespins we used this time were FUN, our fingers didn’t get sticky and it took us longer to do each step because we had to FOCUS and COUNT. I call that a win!

pinterest fine motor.png




Sensory Stocking Stuffers


I get a lot of questions from parents about what to get their kids for christmas! There are lots of little things that they will LOVE that will help them regulate their body and emotions too.

Here is my top list of sensory stocking stuffers! Everything on the list can easily be purchased from amazon, or used for ideas to shop local (I’m all about shopping small and local this year!). I include a list just like this one in my month newsletter for parents, and I also purchase similar small toys like this for each of my students for the holidays. I really enjoy giving my students something they can USE!

Feel free to print this post or share the link with parents of your students who are asking for ideas!

((The links are affiliate links, You don’t pay any more, but I get a small portion if you purchase after clicking the link, thanks for supporting my little store! ))

1.Fidget Bracelet

This is one of my favorites! I got these for my students one year and they LOVED THEM. They can wear them on their write to keep their hands busy and love carrying them to specials or assemblies!


2. Body Sock 

This is amazing!! It folds up nice and small and can fit in a stocking. I have a couple for my classroom. The deep pressure they give naturally is very soothing, even for us adults!

body sock.jpg

3.  Sensory Brush

You may want to consult your OT about how to effectively use a sensory brush, but I have many students that are able to self soothe in our calm down corner using one! This would be great to have at home too!


4. Pull and Stretch Bouncy Balls

These are so much fun! They bounce AND stretch, what more can you ask for. They are also small and can be kept in pockets!


5. Sensory Shapes

I LOVE these, they had them in the target dollar section one year, and I have a student who loves to chew. These are AWESOME, they hold up and LAST FOREVER. Easy to wash clean!


6. Mesh Ball 

How much fun is this?! Anything we can SQUEEZE tight is an A+ in my book.


7. Liquid Timer

I literally had these from when I was kid. We used them to brush our teeth. When my parents sold their house, I found them and they quickly became FAVORITES of my students. I can’t believe you can still buy them on amazon!

liquid timer.jpg

8. Magic Wiggle Worm

This thing moves around on it’s own. It’s SO FUNNY, and kids LOVE IT.

magic worm.jpg

9. Knobby Super Chew

Another great stocking stuffer for big chewers!

superchew-red-knobby.jpg10.Fidget Marble Toy

This is one of my new favorites! It’s small enough to keep in the desk or a pocket, moving the marble around is so relaxing!


11. Calming Putty

I’m all for putty, but when it smells nice and is calming it’s a DOUBLE WIN.

calm putty.jpg

12. Wind Up Toys

These are one of my students biggest motivators. We love to use them for food! They are so cute and they help kids work on find motor!


13. Light Up Bath Toys

These led floating light toys are so much fun! Especially for kids who need bath motivation!


14. Play Foam

Talk about messy fun 🙂


15.  Puffer Balls

These are forever a favorite. They may get dirty quickly, but they are always a student favorite!


All of these toys have educational, sensory, and calming benefits for all children! I have used each of them in my classroom and have first hand testimony to their success with students with autism and other disabilities!


** ((The links above are affiliate links, You don’t pay any more, but I get a small portion if you purchase after clicking the link, thank you again for supporting my little store! ))


Prep Your Students for Thanksgiving Dinner

One of my absolute FAVORITE holiday activities is our thanksgiving cooking lesson. While we don’t focus on cooking the WHOLE meal. We each help with the little pieces & EVERYONE HAS TO TRY EVERYTHING! It’s a fun way to get everyone involved and also help us meet our goals to try novel foods, and let families know what foods they may like for the holiday.

Thanksgiving (1).png

First we make cards to invite support staff to thanksgiving. They can be a super simple coloring page with a note attached, made on the computer for kids working on devices, or just a handwritten note. The cards make others feel special, and the kids love delivering them to staff. We invite our principals, OT, PT, and speech.


Next we send home a note asking for donations from parents. This year I just had parents check off what they wanted to send it. It is NO PRESSURE. We supply whatever is left over. We especially ask for any special tradition type foods to be sent in. One of my students said his favorite part of thanksgiving is his Mom’s special fudge. She sent it in! If you put a note in the teachers room, others may want to donate to your feast too. Our school loves getting involved!

On the day of the feast we start prepping before lunchtime. OT and Speech push in all of their services on this day and help with setting the table & warming up food.


MOST of our food is ALREADY COOKED. My amazing para brought in a huge cooked turkey and parents sent in sides. All the kids help with warming up the food putting things in bowls, mixing, and adding things like butter and toppings.

Once the table is set and everything is heated it is time to eat!



We have our menu both in front of us and on our board. We try each food one by one, rate it with a happy or sad face, and move on to the next food. Staff takes data on if the student touches to lips, licks, swallows, or just tolerates on plate. This data sheet was made by amazing behaviorist (thanks Amy!)! The visuals also help the kids though the process. We call this “tasty tasty!” Our kids are used to the visuals and know they have to taste or tolerate everything in front of them.


As we go through, we display the votes on our board to see how many like and don’t like the food before moving on to the next menu item. It’s great having a visual! After the meal we will count the votes and make a bar graph together on the board. It’s also fun for staff who donated to come in and see how the kids liked everything!


We have the kids keep EVERYTHING on their plate the whole time. They don’t have to eat it all. This is a huge tolerance task because my kids like to dump everything they don’t like in the trash. We use lots of reinforcers and even break out the iPads if needed!


While this activity is SO MUCH fun for kids and staff it can be a lot of work! The more hands you have on deck the better, especially for picky kids! I love sending home the data sheets and seeing how impressed the parents are with their kids trying new things. The practice also helps family thanksgiving go a lot smoother!

Thanksgiving (2).png

What do you do to prep your kids for thanksgiving?


Thankful in 2016


It has been such an amazing year, and I wanted to highlight some things that I am SO THANKFUL FOR.


My Mom is my saving grace! With so much on my plate this year at school, our new house, and planning a wedding, my Mom has been there to help every step of the way! She is constantly laminating and cutting for me, and even does my laundry when she checks on my dog. Talk about amazing!


My classroom has been running like perfection this year! While every day has it’s own mess and disaster, we are a true team and we are able to laugh through it all, what more could you ask for!

mike and brody.png

We have been making HUGE leaps this year, and I am so excited to marry this amazing man in April. Also, anyone else love their dog more than anything? Brody is almost two, and this year I’m just thankful that he hasn’t chewed through the cable and ate my external hard drive like last year. Thanks Brode!


Finally, I am thankful for all of you! I am so happy to have such an amazing community to connect with every day. Your messages and feedback on my resources every day keeps me going all year long.

14976891_10101197212164320_1065240223161351041_o (1).jpg

Some of my special education blogger friends and I are placing one resource at 50% this weekend, just for you! Click the frog below to find out what’s on sale!