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IT’S NOT EASY BEING ME: HIGHLIGHTING THE STRENGTHS Brigid Rankowski Southern Maine Autism Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "IT’S NOT EASY BEING ME: HIGHLIGHTING THE STRENGTHS Brigid Rankowski Southern Maine Autism Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 IT’S NOT EASY BEING ME: HIGHLIGHTING THE STRENGTHS Brigid Rankowski Southern Maine Autism Conference

2 STRENGTHS, NOT DEFICITS Focus on abilities, not disabilities. Frame experiences from a learning perspective instead of viewing them from a defect model. People continue to grow and have limitless potential.

3 LEARNING STYLES Visual Kinesthetic Auditory Combination Cartoon by Bill Browning, from his webpage:

4 SPECIAL INTEREST Joe is an 8 year old boy with limited verbal communication. He loves watching “The Land Before Time” and is extremely attentive the entire time. When playing with other students, he will sometimes growl and pretend to be a dinosaur. He loves books and enjoys coloring with crayons during breaks. Math and English are challenging for him, but he excels in art class. It can be challenging for Joe to stay seated for long class times and he sometimes loses focus at the end of the school day. What are some ways we can help Joe?

5 EVOLUTION OF INTEREST Individuals with special interests learn the subject 30% faster compared to their peers. Interests change over time. There can be primary interests and secondary interests. Primary: Animals and the Circus. Secondary: Movies.

6 NETWORKING Peer Groups. Extracurricular programs. Classes outside traditional school setting. Professionals in the field.

7 SELF-ADVOCACY What is self-advocacy? Person Centered Plans. Individualized Educational Plan. Taking control of our life. Making choices

8 ROAD TO SUCCESS Past Look how far we have come! Present Let’s be honest. Future Dream big! Detours What’s holding us back.

9 EDUCATIONAL SETTING Address challenges using special interests. Dinosaur Math! Write about “Stanley the Stegosaurus” Rewards based on motivational factors. Enchanted Learning Software

10 WORKING “WITH” THE PERSON Help teach ‘self-regulation’ (aka. learn our own limits) Everyone needs breaks (even adults!) It takes time to do things (we all get frustrated) No one is perfect (we are all a work in progress).

11 Brigid Rankowski


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