Today I led a full-day workshop (9am-4pm) on ”Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Learning Disabilities Succeed in School and Life,” sponsored by Jack Hirose & Associates here in Canada. It was a terrific group of forty educators who shared their success experiences in working with students with special needs that included autism, learning disabilities, ADHD, intellectual disabilities, and emotional and behavioral disorders. Some of the strength-based success experiences participants shared included:
- a student who had trouble with reading and writing but had a passion for bicycles, so they obtained a bicycle that had not yet been put together and had no instructions, and step-by-step he wrote the instruction manual himself!
- a six-year old student who refused to leave the classroom and go to the gym when instructed, but had leadership strengths (i.e. loved to be in charge), so he was put in charge of leading the classroom in doing ”silly walks” to the gym (e.g. jumping to the gym etc.), until one day he said, ”can’t we just walk to the gym today?” and he never had a problem walking to the gym after that!
- a student who struggled with settling down to work in the classroom, but who loved doing puzzles (even 2000 piece puzzles!), and the teacher noticed that working on the puzzles calmed him, so they used this strategy as a transition activity to get him in the right frame of mind for academics!
I mentioned to the participants that I would post the handouts from the workshop on Slide Share, including revisions and additions, so here is the link to get the set of handouts.
I want to thank Darlene Newton, who facilitated my workshop at the Centro Caboto Centre in Winnipeg, as well as Alison, who helped with registration, book sales, and relaying the microphone during discussions, and Nick who helped with the audio-visual equipment. I truly enjoyed working with this fine energetic and committed group of educators today, and wish them all the best in creating positive learning environments within which their students can flourish!