At this year’s AERO conference, August 3-7 in Portland Oregon, Monica Cochran, M.Ed and director of the SelfDesign Global program and Kathleen Forsythe, PhD and Principal of SelfDesign Learning Community in BC, will be hosting a workshop:
“Changing the Special Education Paradigm with Observing for Learning”
Current views around autism suggest that early differences in sensory motor development in the brain can skew normal developmental paths. Yet depending on the actions and approaches taken in the learning environment development does proceed albeit in atypical ways. When learners aren’t able to communicate and engage in reciprocal conversation and demonstrate their learning in more traditional ways, there is a tendency to assume that learning isn’t occurring.Yet consistent “observing for learning” by parents, educators and caregivers as learning emerges can reveal different ways of unfolding worlds together with very surprising results.
SelfDesign is a novel education program designed to meet learners’ needs in a holistic way and be delivered in the home and community rather than a brick and mortar school. We coach the parent, caregivers and other professionals working with the children to observe for learning and report reflections using rich media including video, digital pictures and written reflection.
Autism is the one of the fastest growing developmental disorder in North America.
Over the past 10 years SelfDesign Learning Community’s Support Ed program has grown to serve over 500 learners using this approach, many of whom are on the autism spectrum. In this workshop Kathleen and Monica will share the key principles and practices of Observing for Learning we use in meeting the needs of children with special needs to help them reach their fullest potential.
Kathleen lives in Vancouver, BC and is Executive Director of SelfDesign Learning Foundation and Principal of SelfDesign Learning Community, a publicly-funded program which serves more than 2,500 learners in British Columbia.
Monica lives in Ann Arbor, MI and works online as an SE administrator and family liaison in SelfDesign’s Support Ed program in BC and is also Director of SelfDesign Global, which serves learners outside of BC.