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Research & Training Blog : Research

Welcome to the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) blog — the mission of this blog is to provide an avenue of communication between LCIRT and educators/professionals interested in the latest research, resources, and news related to learning differences.
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Mindset and connectedness: keys to the good life for adolescents

In my time as a high school teacher, I worked with my fair share of teenagers who engaged in … challenging behavior. But the students that concerned me the most were those who did not have at least one trusting, positive relationship with some adult in school. In these scenarios, my fear stemmed from how little we know about the emotional state of our students at such a vulnerable part of their development. It was too easy to miss signs of& serious distress and even easier to miss crucial opportunities to help them expand their abilities or sense of possibilities. Their classwork and their grades could maybe tell us what, or if, they were learning; but we had few answers to the most essential question: how are they handling the critical challenges of adolescence? That so many of us have a story about a teacher (or some other caring adult) who played a critical role in guiding us through adolescence is a testament to the power and importance of the connections we should strive to make with our students.

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Listening to the real autism experts

Earlier this month, I drove past a local park where volunteers were preparing for a 5k run to support Autism Speaks. Given that April is Autism Awareness ;month, I wasn’t surprised to see the blue t-shirts and puzzle pieces. However, I was surprised to see a small group of protestors with a sign that read: “Autistic people are already speaking. LISTEN.” The sign and the courage it takes to protest a charity event was a powerful reminder of the opposition to Autism Speaks among autistic self-advocates. But I also read it as a clear expression of a core demand of the disability rights movement: “nothing about us without us.” It is a demand that is too often unheeded: autistic people are routinely denied self-determination and excluded from the process of making social policy that dramatically impact their lives.

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