Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Very Important Call to Action: People Experience Disability in the Environments We Create

A message that every educator should hear. This is a call to action for us to create systems that do not disable students by our narrow definition of "intelligence".  It's a call to shift the disability paradigm to one that authentically embraces and celebrates diversity. 

In his book Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Succeed in School and Life, Thomas Armstrong does a great job of outlining the strengths commonly associated with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Autism, Intellectual Disabilities and those with Social/Emotional/Behavioural Disabilities and how we can create environments that capatlize on these strengths. 

As part of a group in a graduate class I just completed, we created the following wiki which also has a section that speaks to this concept and quotes a lot of Thomas Armstrong's work. Link: A Social Learning Approach to Regulation and Resilency for Students with Neurobiological Differences.
This quote by Jonathan Mooney himself sums it up pretty nicely...
"But what's most interesting, at least from my vantage point, about this social movement is a bigger argument: people don't have disabilities but experience disabilities in environments that aren't accommodating or inclusive of the wide continuum of human differences. We are all temporally enabled learners who can be disabled by narrow, standardized learning environments, whether we have diagnosis or not. Learning inclusion is a call to create supportive and empowering learning environments - not for kids with learning disabilities, but all kids." (Source:

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