Autism Teacher


I'm Derek LaSalle and I am one of the Autism Teachers at Burroughs. I have a BS in Language Arts and Communication from Metropolitan State University's Urban Teacher Program. I am currently pursuing my Masters in Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of St. Thomas. I was a Special Education Assistant at Burroughs for two years prior to becoming the third Autism Teacher. I am absolutely thrilled to be at Burroughs. You can find me in room 331, which is conveniently located just North of the main stairs, between the third grade and fourth/fifth grade wings. 


I live with my wife, Brigitte, and our dog, Beasley, in Edina. We are looking for a home in Minneapolis!


This year in room 331 we will be:


- Using The Zones of Regulation, often just called the Zones. The Zones is a simple color-coded system for students to identify where they are emotionally and what tools they can use to get back to green, the expected zone for school.

- Using Superflex. Superflex is a curriculum designed to teach elementary students strategies for regulating their behaviors. Superflex is the superhero inside all of us who takes on villains like Glassman, who makes people have huge upset reactions, and Brain Eater, who distracts people.

- Using Video Modeling. Video Modeling is one of several Evidence-Based Practices we will be using in room 331 to support students and help them meet their annual goals. The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders has identified 24 Evidence-Based Practices that have research to support them as being effective strategies for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Some other Evidence-Based Practices we will be using are Visual Supports, Prompting, Task Analysis, Computer-Aided Instruction, and many more.  

- Participating in Social Skills Groups. Social Skills Groups is another Evidence-Based Practice. The purpose of a Social Skills Group is to teach students on the Autism Spectrum ways to appropriately interact with typically developing peers. Similar to a Social Skills Group, some students in room 331 will be participating in Lunch Bunch groups and Circle of Friends. The purpose of these groups is to provide students with the opportunity to interact with peers in a structured setting in order to work on social skills goals and, most importantly, develop meaningful relationships with their peers.  

- Creating amazing projects. The students in room 331 are some of the most talented students at Burroughs! Last year our students made amazing works of art. We made origami, comics, drawings and paintings, stop motion animation videos, and the famous Zones Rap music video. This year we'll make many more fantastic projects. Don't be surprised if there is a live action Superflex movie sometime this year...

- Playing the Nintendo Wii. As adults, we often think of video games as being isolating activities. In reality, the evidence shows that playing video games is a highly social activity for most individuals. Playing the Nintendo Wii may be a reward one our students earns, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to practice important social skills!


We will be doing so much more, as well! If you have any questions please contact me at:


Let's have a great year!


Mr. LaSalle 

video Stop Motion Animation   --  JD spent weeks putting together this awesome movie!