California’s Education Plan

How much does California value public education? According to Brimely, Verstegen and Garfield, “Because of taxpayer revolts against taxes, court or legislative action, or even voter indifference, the financial well-being of public institutions is determined by the attitude of those who provide its financial support through a system of taxation” (2016, p. 114). Considering taxation… Continue reading California’s Education Plan

Educational Opportunities, a Constitutional Right for all students.

Hartzell v Connell (1984) Using the analogy of a “band-aid” as a solution for all injuries highlights the ineffectiveness of the equity principle in financing education. Besides raising the question of “fairness’, comes the challenge of financing equal opportunity. The U. S. Supreme Court ruled in the 1954 Brown V. Board of Education court case, that… Continue reading Educational Opportunities, a Constitutional Right for all students.

“Living our truth allows us to respond to the world around us”. -Melli O’Brien

I love when I find dialogue that provides the language for my own experiences. Melli O’Brien’s blog on “How To Live Your Truth and Become A Mindful Leader”, resonates with my sense of responsibility toward my students. (See link below for the link to her blog and also her interview on “How to ‘Live Your Truth’ &… Continue reading “Living our truth allows us to respond to the world around us”. -Melli O’Brien

Pathways for Supporting Students with Social Cognitive Challenges in Education

With the DSM 5 came a new category for diagnosing individuals with social communication challenges that do not meet the full criteria for Autism. I was fortunate to hear Dr. Sam Goldstein speak on this topic a few years ago at the Learning and the Brain Conference in San Francisco (2014). At the time, I was naive to understanding the full impact this would have in supporting students with social communication challenges alongside the changing definitions for autism.

The challenge for these students in the public school system is the educational eligibility for services. How does this medical definition fit with current educational eligibility options of Autism and/or Speech and Language Impairment? As we move toward learning expectations such as explaining thinking about concepts, collaborative dialogue and problem-solving, social deficits will impact their ability to access the social learning classroom. Furthermore, for these students, it may not be obvious at first glance that the reason they are not explaining their thinking is because their mind is not automatically wired to do so. My experience gives me a lens of understanding that even though the process is not automatic they can learn. In the meantime, there are supports and interventions we can provide these students toward meaningful experiences.

As an Education Specialist supporting students with Social Cognitive Challenges I am curious to understand how your districts and school sites are addressing student needs surfacing with increased focus on social learning experiences. Parents, educators and service providers, your voice matters as we create capacity for our students to receive intervention and supports in public education.

If this topic is new learning for you, explore this post by Autism Speaks: https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2015/04/03/what-social-communication-disorder-how-it-treated??%20How%20Is%20It%20Treated?%20

Oracy – the art of speaking well

Students with social cognitive challenges are finding it tough to navigate Common Core. As I visit classrooms, I’m observing that many students are having difficulty explaining their thinking and engaging in collaborative dialogue. Not all students have had the rich experiences that foster communication skills and/or have the automatic ability to learn from others. Taking… Continue reading Oracy – the art of speaking well