The concept of student-centered learning isn’t new. Parents of children who are not neurotypical have long been on the lookout for ways to accommodate individual learning styles and help their students relate to classroom lessons. What has changed is the availability of new tech tools to differentiate instruction, not just for students with disabilities, but for all kids.
In that spirit, ISTE 2015 keynote speaker Jack Gallagher — comedian, former teacher and father of a now-grown student on the autism spectrum — took the stage to share the difference technology has made in his son Liam’s journey.
And yet it wasn’t a computer keyboard or animation software that ultimately helped his youngest son cross the stage at high school graduation, enthusiastic about the future.
As an involved parent, Gallagher did his homework on Liam’s autism diagnosis. He set his career on pause to devote one-on-one time over the kitchen table so that Liam’s education wouldn’t slip through the cracks. The family paid for a classroom aide. Gallagher contacted his teachers several weeks in advance to get lesson plans and prep his son for the materials. He even rewrote a math book to present it in a visual manner, playing to Liam’s learning strengths.
And yet, what finally helped his son succeed was a change in attitude — Gallagher’s. Watch as he explains how positive feedback made all the difference for his son.