A Focus on Two Special Learners

April is Autism Awareness Month – How do we build agency in these special learners?

Are we considering how special learners….
process visual information?
process auditory information?
process text based resources?
engage with learning based on one type of input?
respond to different learning management environments and approaches?
are motivated and equipped to work through their learning struggles themselves?

Light It Up Blue is a unique global initiative that kicks-off Autism Awareness Month and helps raise awareness about autism. In honor of this historic day, many iconic landmarks (including the Empire State Building), hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges, retail stores and hundreds of thousands of homes and communities will Light It Up Blue. Know New Ideas will be Blue as well as we share ideas and inspiration for our special learners. In honor of Autism Awareness, we would like to introduce you to two very special learners that are a part of the Knovation and Know New Ideas family. These two learners are on very different paths to own and drive their learning and success….

Meet Linsey

On the outside, she looks like the typical teen. Her education was sidetracked by the myth that if you look normal, you must learn normally. She spent years of her education being ignored or bullied because of unique learning needs. By the time Linsey was in high school, she decided to proactively engage in educating others about unique learners like herself. Because of Linsey’s courage and conviction, she is able to help others better understand how she, and others like her, learns best.

Linsey has benefited from amazing teachers and tools that have helped her take control of her learning and become an advocate of what she needs to meet learning goals. Digital learning resources and assistive tools, like those in netTrekker, have helped Linsey and students around the country like her, personalize their own learning experience. These same pieces have also added to the skills of educators as they architect learning opportunities and environments for learners that need additional supports and student centered instructional design.

Linsey has recently been appointed as a teen advocate in the national organization, AutismSpeaks.org and will be sharing her ideas and inspiration around teaching and learning with Autism. Find out more about her journey here.

Meet Darren

Darren has a concrete, literal, rule-based style that makes him stand out from other learners. Darren struggles with the nuanced connections between and among concepts, preferring instead to have schoolwork and assignments delivered factually. His education has been supported with very informed parents and access to great programs for students with special learning needs. Darren has been able to excel in programs that focus on his unique needs, but has discovered some programs don’t fit with the Autism/Asperger’s aspects of his learner profile. In the ninth grade, he tried Project Based Learning that was learner driven and found that, even though this approach is very popular to empower learners, his learning style required significantly more structure and direction. He was lost in the nuance and too uncomfortable socially to ask for guidance from teachers or peers.

Flexible, agile and powerful active learning content found in netTrekker has supported Darren, his teachers, and parents with resources and tools designed to support his unique needs and preferences. Though Darren is working towards better managing his learning experiences, he is already well on the path to understanding and awareness of key supports available to him.

For more information about how netTrekker supports special learners, please see http://www.knownewideas.com/page/bringingordertodisorder

Posted on our original Blog site by Dawn Crawford, M. Ed.

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