MS Science Room

Sessions 2A-2F

Session 2A: Marisa Chrysochoou
Beyond Accommodation: Leveraging Neurodiversity for Engineering Innovation

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Connecticut has received a 5-year, $2M award from the National Science Foundation Revolutionizing Engineering Departments program. We envision a radically inclusive Civil and Environmental Engineering Department that cultivates the potential of neurodivergent individuals to contribute to engineering breakthroughs and uses a strengths-based approach toward cognitive diversity to advance personalized learning and improve learning outcomes for all students. To realize the potential contributions of neurodivergent individuals to engineering fields, we must first create an inclusive learning environment in which all students can thrive. The department transformation will include academic practices at all stages, including recruitment, advising, instruction, and career preparation. We will also leverage organizational change at multiple levels within the university, engaging multiple stakeholders within the university to foster inclusive academic practices and establish an educational ecosystem that supports the diverse learning styles present in our student population.

Session 2B: Dr. Ana Miró
Serving 2e students, families and professionals through an interdisciplinary and ecological model

The presentation will describe the services offered in Puerto Rico for 2e students. Project Twice Exceptional: Supporting Families, Students, Schools and Community through Interdisciplinary Teamwork aims to promote the educational, personal, and social potential of 2e students. The services are grouped in five main areas: students, families, professionals, internships and research. Students develop the social-emotional competences through interdisciplinary interventions, encouraging strengths and compensating weaknesses. The Family Support Empowerment Group offers personalized assistance and support with monthly group meetings and continuous individual follow up. Professional development activities are provided to professionals and to community organizations. A qualitative research approach is implemented collecting data to provide evidence of the results. Case studies are conducted based on the Systematic Analysis and Interactive Evaluation (SAIE) Model which has been used in educational legal court cases. We are a field and laboratory center for undergraduate and graduate students and interns from different fields of study.

Session 2C: Marcy Dann, MA, BCET
Educational Therapists and the 2e Learner

This presentation is led by Marcy Dann, M.A., BCET, a board certified educational therapist, who consults at Bridges Academy for 15+ years and who is in clinical practice 35+ years.  

Practical suggestions for executive functioning skills at school and at home will be discussed as they are integral in knowing ‘how’ and ‘when’ to perceive cues and to initiate and sustain attention on tasks. Dann will share a short video and lead a discussion on the benefits of Educational Therapy for 2e students who have asynchronous learning profiles.Educational therapists (ETs) are trained to provide ongoing, individualized, intensive instruction and support for students K – 12 and adults in skill areas relevant to the client’s 2e learning profile.  ETs provide strength-based, interactive, engaging learning tasks and provide effective strategies for learning how to learn with empathic understanding of the cognitive, social and emotional challenges that impact a client’s learning. ETs are trained to be aware of issues involving self-esteem, motivation and school anxiety. The goal of educational therapy is for clients to become autonomous learners.

Session 2D: Dr. Susan Ng
Serendipity and the Conceptualization of 2E Learner Difference

This doctoral study investigated facilitators and barriers faced by 2E students in respect to achieving academic success and socio-emotional well-being during their schooling years. The research employed constructivist grounded theory methodology combined with the theoretical framework of the capability approach to generate explanatory theory.

In New Zealand schools a current focus on learning difficulties, complicated by a lack of policy specifically aimed at addressing 2E students complex learning needs, means such students are typically under-recognised and under-resourced. Neglecting domains of high ability leaves 2E students and their families feeling frustrated by the process of schooling. This affects the development of personal well-being and sense of belonging in the school system.

The research concluded by proposing a new model to assist with reconceptualizing 2E individuals. Alongside this model a new term, diff-capable, is offered to help transcend issues created by current (unhelpful) polar constructions of ability and (dis)ability as separate entities.

Session 2E & 2F: Terry Friedrichs, Ph.D., Ed.D., Amogh Kulkarni, & Collin McEllistrem
Opportunities to Serve 2e Student Strengths under IDEA

Various opportunities exist within the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA, 2004) to serve strengths, not just weaknesses, of gifted students with disabilities (Friedrichs & Kulkarni, 2019). In this two-part session, the senior presenter first describes three ways in which strengths can be addressed during each of five chronological stages of the special-education service process: 1) Child Find, 2) Assessment, 3) Individual Educational Plans (IEPs), 4) Instruction, and 5) Transition. He adds how these varied opportunities to serve student strengths are encouraged both by the explicit language of IDEA and by 2e advocates’ willingness to explore promising IDEA language. In the second segment, student advocates provide new data on why utilizing IDEA openings to serve strengths seem especially promising. Selected districts, it appears, have traditions of serving these students’ strengths, and some recent case law seems to support serving these strengths.