The Learning Difficulties Specialist
Alice Armstrong is the owner and operator of The Learning Difficulties Specialist.
She is passionate about working with children with Autism and their families. In her private practice, Alice specialises in changing challenging behaviour into positive behaviour, and provides parents and carers with coaching and practical strategies and plans individualised to their child's needs.
Alice has 25 years experience in teaching students with learning difficulties and disabilities in mainstream schools and designing effective intervention programs for classroom teachers to support these children. She has worked as a Head of Special Education, Classroom Teacher, Special Education Teacher and Behavioural Specialist, and uses her training in Functional Behavioural Analysis and Individual Support Planning to provide strategies and programs that ensure support and success in classrooms and at home.
Alice has developed extensive networks with medical specialists (Paediatricians, Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists) and uses her comprehensive educational experience to interpret these various specialists' reports into easy to understand layman's terms that can be implemented both in the school and home environments.
Alice's qualifications include:
- Master of Special Education (ASD, Intellectual Disability)
- Postgraduate Diploma of Education (Prep - 10)
- Bachelor Arts (Languages)
I met Alice Armstrong when she became the Acting Head of Special Education Services (HOSES) at my son's school. My son, Tom, is on the Autistic Spectrum and also has diagnosed learning difficulties.
When Alice took over as HOSES, our experience of the school system changed significantly. Our son was having an extremely difficult time at school and we were struggling to know how to help and support him. It was obvious, right from the start of her tenure in this position, that Alice has a high level of practical knowledge, expertise and professionalism in the area of children with Special Needs. Alice immediately, and almost completely, rewrote Tom's generic IEP and made it specific and relevant to his current needs. She made pragmatic and measureable recommendations that the teachers were able to implement on a daily basis in the classroom.
Alice fostered a trusting but firm relationship with Tom. This relationship with Alice had a profound effect on our son and on our family. Tom made steady progress towards his academic and behavioural goals with Alice in charge of the Special Education Unit. More importantly, Tom no longer felt alone and misunderstood at his school; rather, he finally found school to be a positive experience. With Alice's help, Tom is now functioning at a level we did not think would be possible. In his last semester at primary school, for the first time ever, he passed every subject (and received B's for 3 subjects!). He also received straight A's for his behaviour, every day.
This improvement would not have been possible without Alice's input.
The school experience has not only been stressful for Tom, but it has been extremely difficult for my husband and me. Alice helped me survive this emotional journey. She always made herself available to discuss any difficulties we were having. I have vented, cried, worried (and laughed!) countless times with Alice. I do not know how I would have survived those two years without her. Alice gave us hope for Tom's future.
Alice openly encouraged all the parents in the Special Education Unit to be an active part of the management of their children. She facilitated a collaborative approach, where the teacher, student and parents worked together as a team to create the best outcome for the child.
Alice is a truly special educator, the kind of teacher who changes the lives of children, and their families, for the better.
Dr Gillian Bishop