Get to Know Me
and My Philosophy
A B O U T M E
Karina Barley - M.Ed.
Hi! My name is Karina and I am an internationally recognized educational consultant specializing in the needs of children with autism. I have over 30 years of experience as an educator, a behavioural therapist, an educational tutor, a course developer and educational technology specialist.
I currently spend most of my time as an Associate Teacher at Monash University Australia while I complete my PhD.
I work in the Education department, with my main passion being inclusive education. I also run the Professional Certificate of Education Support at the Peninsula Campus.
In conjunction with my work at Monash, I have a number of client's on the autism spectrum who I have the pleasure of spending time with in between classes.
I am a mother of four and "Grandy" to two granddaughters.
M Y A P P R O A C H
Empowering children through educational opportunities
My philosophy for managing behaviour is to empower children of all abilities through educational opportunities and opportunities to succeed. This empowerment influences their behaviour, boosts their confidence and allows children to find effective ways to communicate.
My role as a Positive Behaviour Specialist is to assess and understand the unique needs of the child, to include the child's family and school environment. I assess the client's needs via observation and making a connection with the child. I develop a personal relationship with my clients by gaining their trust, discerning what sensory programs need to be implemented, assessing their communication skills, as well as the child's individual educational skill set.
I have pioneered the development of differentiated specific programs for children with autism using iPad technology tailored to their specific behavioural and educational needs.
I have a personable style, combined with extensive research, knowledge and firsthand experience of the needs of children with autism, all of which make me an effective and innovative in tailoring individual solutions for children. I pride myself on making a connection with each client and forming relationships based on trust and mutual respect and goals.
Project Autism's First Logo
I started this company around 10 years ago after leaving my job as a Special Education Teacher. I was frustrated with the restrictions my job had on me as an educator, and the changes I wanted to make were larger structural changes with the way we teach children of all abilities. As much as I tried, these were not changes I could make from the classroom.
I was teaching a class of children of all abilities and needs, including a number of children on the autism spectrum. I found myself quietly investigating each child's specialties, and each child's triggers. I was fascinated by the general need for structure, routine, sensory stimulation and sensitivities. I was no longer a teacher, I was an autism detective! Once I found a way to connect with my student and learn their needs, I was then met with bureaucracy and the school's inability (or desire) to be flexible in the way we could meet that child's needs.
One exercise in particular involved a music lesson which was very loud and caused my students with autism deep distress and pain. I faced a number of hurdles getting the school to allow these students to skip that class and instead have a sensory time out session where they could relax their senses and regenerate before they took on another few hours of structured classroom learning.
I eventually had to leave that job and set off on my own. I found myself on a mission to change the way we look at autism, at education, at inclusive education, how we could use technology for educating children with autism but also integrating technology into the curriculum with neurotypical children as well.
Ten years on and I have become extremely successful connecting with children who have autism. I create behavioral, sensory and educational strategies to help children on the spectrum reach their full potential. And I truly to believe each child has so much potential, we just need to find a way to unlock it!
I also teach my fellow educators the skills I have learned along the way, having authored over 30 various professional development courses on a variety of subjects. I have been a keynote speaker at a number of conferences both here in Australia and the USA, and I continue to share my knowledge through YouTube instructional videos, as well as working as an Associate Teacher at Monash University guiding the next generation of teachers.