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Do this one thing before the school-year begins

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Consider how the Simple View of Learning Environments guides teaching for neurodiversity in your school

Traditionally, school and classroom learning environments favored students who possessed the ability to sit still, listen attentively (or at least quietly), and complete assignments. Those who succeeded were often students who understood the nuances of the educational system and skillfully maneuvered within it. However, the landscape has changed, and today's students arrive at school with a wide range of differences that the current government school system is unprepared to adequately address.

In response, schools have undertaken significant efforts to meet these diverse needs. They have invested in new curricula, implemented reading and math interventions to help students catch up, differentiate activities, and sent teachers to professional development courses. Astonishingly, it is estimated that American schools spend a staggering $18 billion on professional development each year, while teachers personally invest their own money in pursuing advanced degrees, hoping for a modest pay increase from their local school or government. Yet, despite these substantial endeavors, a disheartening 30-45% of teachers leave the profession within just five years.

This begs the question to which we likely know the answer: Is our current approach truly effective?

Neurodiversity in Education: The Simple View of Learning Environments helps practitioners consider to what extent their learning environment helps or hinders neurodiverse students
The Simple View of Learning Environments, by Adam Meyersieck (2023)

Each student in your setting will fit into one of these four quadrants. It might look different in each lesson (or even within a lesson), so take a moment to reflect on the students you support and how you support them. You will want to consider:

  • Classroom routines

  • Lesson/activity structures

  • How you communicate, verbally and nonverbally

  • Different methods students have to demonstrate knowledge

  • Tools students have available to succeed

  • Collaborative opportunities given to students

  • How students cooperate together to improve knowledge

  • The systems or methods you use for teaching and learning- do they help or hinder?

To better understand how you can better support students in your learning environment, check out the Neurodiversity and Inclusion Learning Environments Profile. This tool will give you a greater understanding for how you can encourage all students, including those with a range of neurodiverse needs like Autism, Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, and other common differences to reach their potential in a school setting and beyond.

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