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I received another regular e-letter from a group I subscribed to a while back. For those of you who have children on the spectrum, especially if you live in the St. Louis metro area, you may like to know about St. Louis Asperger’s. With the last email, their director, Shauna Craig sent out a link to a youtube video that features a Danish IT company called Specialisterne. This company is actively and purposefully recruiting people with autism for skilled employment. An employee of theirs, who has autism, evaluates them to identify their unique skills and probable employment opportunities.
The video discusses the unique characteristics of people with autism~among them: they can be very comfortable with highly methodical processes and because of their attention to detail, they can excel and be highly productive valuable employees~oh, and they have less absenteeism! The video is inspiring and serves as a great example of how individualized learning can maximize a special needs learner’s full potential and open up their doors to opportunity such that they can reach their maximum independence. Currently, according to the video, Scotland employs only 13% of the possible talent pool of people with autism.
Check it out:
This is a great example of how America should be preparing for our gifted special needs learners, aka: the ‘twice exceptional’.
How much talent is wasted by failing our children who CAN learn, but not in the traditional ‘one-size-fits’ all methods? How many parents hearts must break until we realize that we need to do something different? It is said that the definition of insanity is to repeat the same process expecting different outcomes. It is time to do things differently.
There are charter schools and private schools that address the ‘twice exceptional’, however you will not find them in Missouri. If I am mistaken, by all means please point me to them. Our U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has called for exceptional high-performing charter schools to pave this path to educate the most under-served in America’s education system, and special needs learners are one of his top targets.
We also need to train teachers who will excel at understanding how to reach this special demographic. It is critical to our community’s future to tap these kids’ potential and is unconscionable to not do so. Oh, and if none of that matters (and I would argue, of course, that it does), it will be more costly in the long run if we continue to fail our ‘twice exceptional’…