On November 29, 2012, I did a free webinar for edWeb.net, a professional social network for the education community. The topic was Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Emphasizing Strengths in Students with Special Needs. It was based on my forthcoming book (out December 13, 2012), entitled: Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Achieve Success in School and Life, published by ASCD. In the webinar, I talk about my own beginnings as a special education teacher in the mid-1970’s, my introduction to multiple intelligences in the 1980’s, and my discovery of neurodiversity in the 2000’s. Then I define neurodiversity, and explain how it can be used to view students with special needs in a more positive way. Most of the webinar is practical: I focus on seven components of what I call “positive niche construction” or creating favorable environments within which students with special needs can flourish.
Providing concrete examples, I cover five different disability categories for each of the seven environmental enhancements: learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, intellectual disabilities, and emotional and behavioral disorders. The seven components of positive niche construction that I talk about in the webinar are: strengths awareness, enhanced human resource networks, affirmative career aspirations, strength-based learning strategies, positive role models, environmental modifications, and assistive technologies/Universal Design for Learning. In the course of the webinar there are at least 35 practical strategies that both special and regular educators can use to help students with special needs achieve success in school and life.
The webinar lasts for approximately one hour, includes over 130 slides, and ends with a brief question and answer session with the participants who were participating in the live broadcast. To listen to the webinar in its entirety, click here.