9 keys to success

Student Climbing Books Shows Education

‘Success does not just happen.’

We need to work hard to attain it, with focus and persistence, when others may give up. Some habits support this; others can stand in the way. Below are 9 habits to help you attain success.

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1. Work hard, organise and prioritise Hard work will get the results with the formula: ‘your input will equal your output.’ . There are no short cuts. Write a daily ‘To Do’ list that you mark off as you complete each task. As additional responsibilities develop, include it in your list. Prioritise your tasks according to time deadlines and importance. Ask yourself: ‘what is the best use of my time now?’ This will focus your actions to become strategic, rather than haphazard, and bring you closer to achieving your goal.

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2. Don’t procrastinate When we put things off, the task list grows as additional responsibilities require attention. As Nike claims: ‘Just do it’ to free yourself to new situations and to tasks that come up. This will avoid a bottleneck that will see you struggle to cope.

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3. Overcome obstacles, flexible approach The path to work often includes difficulties and unexpected obstacles. Rather than focus on these, take a solution approach to overcome or minimise problems. It will encourage creative thinking, a lateral approach, and positive behaviour. As the situation changes, a flexible approach enables us to modify the original plan with thinking and behaviour that accommodates new circumstances.

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4. Maintain stress and manage conflict During the course of work, we face stress and conflict that we need to manage. Place stress and conflict in perspective, view the issues objectively and recognise our responsibility in the part. We do not complain, blame others, or make excuses. Rather, we view conflict as a challenge to address, learn from and ‘move on’ with added learning to apply to a new situation.

arrow 95. Apply a positive approach Our approach to completing the task can assist us to do the best we can, or bring out frustration and a negative attitude. A positive approach to work, people and life will help focus on the good aspects of any situation. It will motivate us, help to establish good relationships, a positive work environment, and values that support our job, learning, and an innovative approach.

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6. Respect relationships at work and home We drop our ego, and are sensitive to the rights and needs of others. Successful relationships are based on understanding and how we communicate. Often, the same message can be said in a tactful and positive way that shows empathy and kindness.

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7. Be resilient With difficult times, many people struggle and give up. Rather than walk away, look at the challenge to accomplish. Zig Ziggler’s approach: ‘When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there.’ Keep going and persevere, even when you want to give up. These are the stepping stones to success.

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8. Encourage healthy life habits Engage in healthy behaviours for living a healthy lifestyle. Healthy habits include: eating healthy food, exercising, having sufficient sleep, and modifying consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. Create a work/life balance with time for work, family and friends. It will avoid workholism and the resulting burnout. In its place will be time for our personal selves to enjoy with family and friends, hobbies, exercise, or time to ‘be.’

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9. Personal commitment Commit to being the best person you can, work on shortcomings, and develop skills. Take time to review your work with a constructive eye. Appreciate your outcomes, the effort, and your learning, but also areas that can be improved. Look at the reasons, and take action. This is part of a professional repertoire, to keep learning and growing to attain wisdom and higher level behaviour. Lifelong learning supports professional development through undertaking training courses, mentoring, coaching and informal learning to propel us to greater heights in our personal and professional life.

Refine your attributes both personally and professionally. Keep learning and growing. Adopt a healthy lifestyle to bring out the best in you. My life motto: ‘Enjoy the process.’

‘Make positive choices in your life.

Leah Shmerling is the Director and Principal Consultant of Crown Coaching and Training, and is a Certified Retirement Coach. She has over 30 years experience in career development, life coaching, education and training. Leah holds a Master in Professional Education and Training, Graduate Diploma in Career Development, a number of Diploma qualifications in Vocational Educational Training, and Certificates in Life Coaching, Mediation Skills, and Psychodrama. Leah is a professional member of the Career Development Association Australia (CDAA).Leah is a professional member of Australian Career Professionals International (ACPi-Aus). She has international accreditation and is Board Certified as a Career Management Fellow with the Institute of Career Certification. Contact details for Leah Shmerling:

Check out Leah’s Cert IV Online courses. These courses are available to any industry not just educators.


Visual Schedules using the iPad

There are numerous benefits to using Visual Schedules (VS) with individuals with Autism and there is also significant research supporting their use for individuals on the Autism Spectrum (AS).  A Visual Schedule can be the key to increasing independence and managing anxiety for students with Autism. This can make a huge difference to the child and in turn diminish meltdowns, anxious behaviour and foster positive growth. 

Individuals with Autism have problems coping with unstructured time and also have difficulty understanding and then following verbal instruction, therefore a VS can provide both structure and visual cues that they can follow (Van Bourgondien et al., 2003).


Advantages to Using a Visual Schedule

The advantages to using a VS with individuals on the AS include (Mesibov et al., 2005):

  • Utilizing the individual’s visual strengths, therefore providing a receptive communication system to increase understanding;
  • Helping the individual to learn new things, accept new challenges and broaden their interests;
  • Providing tools that allow the individual to use skills in a variety of settings;
  • Increasing the individual’s flexibility and ability to orient within the world;
  • Assisting the individual to remain calm and reduce inappropriate behaviours; and
  • Developing independence and resulting self-esteem.

Creating a Visual Timetable Using the iPad

The iPad is the perfect vehicle for creating a visual timetable.  You can use any of the writing apps such as Keynote or Pages to create a visual timetable.  keynotepages

Visual timetable (Click here to be taken to an example of a Visual Schedule created on the iPad).

To create this VS I used Keynote and Keynote’s animation capabilities to add and take away from the schedule. This also means the schedule can be moveable and interactive. You can make these as simple or complicated as you like.

The great thing about Keynote is that you can design your Visual Schedule to suit your students.

You can also use Pages to create Visual Schedules and you can also make this creation interactive and dynamic, using Pages tools.

There are many other apps that you can use to create Visual Schedules.

I like Popplet or Grafio.


These are actually Mindmapping apps, but can easily be utilized for VS.  See the Popplet example below:

popplet App for Autism Spectrum

I like Grafio as well as it has a lot more elements than most Mindmapping apps.  One aspect that I really like is that each element in your Mindmap has audio capabilities, making this an extremely powerful app for students on the Spectrum. So if we look at the example below, each of my pictures can have audio attached, providing students with audio visual support. This can be really beneficial for student in Secondary School. We often forget that older students need visual supports as well.

grafio App for Autism Spectrum

Here is another alternative. Each element can have a voice over, so the child knows what you expect from them.

Grafio App for Autism Spectrum

There are many, many apps out there such as First Then Visual Schedule.First then

This app is designed specifically for making VS. While I like the ease of use, I prefer to have the versatility to create my own designs and schedules using Apps listed above.

Overall, I believe the iPad is a unique device in that you can use the technology to easily and quickly create audio, visual, interactive and dynamic Visual Schedules.


Designing your Visual Schedule

  1. What do you want your VS to do (What behaviour do you want to address?)
  2. How should your VS look? What icons will you use? (Consider what form of information would consistently be most meaningful to the student).
  3. How long is your schedule and how will it be presented? (Some of your students may be more successful with one piece of information at a time, while others may be able to cope with a short sequence of activities or up to a full day. Some students can cope with a VS displayed at the front of the classroom, some will need the VS to sit at their desk).
  4. Can your schedule be continually manipulated? (Using the iPad means that you can easily interchange your icons on a daily basis, or you can duplicate for other students).
  5. Are the icons/pictures age appropriate?
  6. Do you need audio as a prompt for the visual icon?
  7. Introduce the schedule to your students so that they know what you expect of them.
  8. Regularly update.


Davies, C. (2008). Using visual schedules: A guide for parents. The Reporter, 14(1), 18-22.

Massey, G. & Wheeler, J. (2000). Acquisition and generalization of activity schedules and their effects on task engagement in a young child with autism in an inclusive preschool classroom. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 35, 326-335.

Mesibov, G., Browder, D., & Kirkland, C. (2002). Using individualized schedules as a component of positive behavior support for students with developmental disabilities. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 25, 58-72.

Van Bourgondien, M., Reichle, N. & Schopler, E. (2003). Effects of a model treatment approach on adults with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 33, 131-140.


by Karen Barley (GradDipEd, Posgrad DipEd, Med (SpEd) )

Karen is an Australian teacher with over 20 years’ experience in both mainstream and special education. Her interest in Autism and how to provide better educational opportunities for her students led her to iPads. Karen conducts professional development for teachers in Australia and the USA, works as an Autism Consultant and conducts a number of online courses on iPads in Education, Autism Awareness, and 21st Century Education. She can be contacted through her website: www.projectautismaustralia.com

Check out Karen’s workshops on the TTA website

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