Chapter Four: “The Special Child “

What we had discovered in the small renovated Quonset hut theater in the most “underserved” part of town was truly an innovation in how to put students of diverse ages and abilities together, direct positive activities through expressive sound, and create a purposeful learning project that could turn on the lights, demonstrate the distinction between the sky and the sea, and produce meaningful learning opportunities for all involved.

To be certain, all children are special.  However, some are uniquely challenged in their abilities to learn.  In our modern attitudes about society, we have adopted a philosophy that all individuals — regardless of distinctions or differences in physical, emotional, social, or intellectual challenges—-should be included in the most normal of situations in order to offer true equality and fairness in life experiences.

This is a complex subject, however if there is ever to be a content presentation mode to offer inclusive and adaptable stimuli and related responses, it has to be the multi-media tools for content presentation.  In fact, this program could easily be implemented in settings where children are confined to bed or other restrictive circumstances because it depends on mental perception of action as well as bodily response.

There is research that recognizes that patients who visualize movement and imagine that they are moving body parts actually affect a recognized response in the brain and that subsequently related muscles are able to receive stimuli.

In 2015, The National Center on Universal Design for Learning listed guidelines for Implementation on its website that specify: “It is necessary to: Present information and content in different way, create more ways that students can express what they know, and offer more ways to provide multiple means of engagement.”

Therefore, the presentation of concepts through multi-sensory input that allows for creative thinking through experiential learning is an absolute necessity for the primary classroom.

Students with dyslexia often compensate by taking in information in alternate modes of perception such as through picture or physical movement. Psychologist Melanie West suggests that “creative  thinking” brought about through experience-based learning and “seeing” language through pictures has amazing results for students with learning challenges like dyslexia.  She further states that the methods of perceptual input works well with all students. On her website she stated that “in today’s world, we are more equipped than ever to teach all children how to really learn.  Use of video, image streaming, and the ability to substitute rote memorization with right-brain learning strategies are incredibly effective ways to successfully teach both right and left brain dominant children.

According to Chris Brewer in the book Music and Learning, the concept of Accelerated Learning included adding background music to the classroom to help establish a positive learning atmosphere.

And this is when God said to bring forth all kinds of swimming creatures and all kinds of winged birds. God blessed them all on the fifth day.

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