69 F
Naperville
Monday, March 4, 2024

Little Friends: Embracing neurodiversity

-

In mid-November, I attended a conference on Special Education where several speakers presented current topics associated with Autism, Behavior challenges, and other areas pertinent to the overall subject of providing support for students in Special Education environments.

Despite my approaching later years in life, I still appreciate the opportunity to learn something new and even better, determine if and how we can apply things that might be leading edge in today’s changing world. I am a strong believer that every business needs to continue to improve to ensure its survival, and it is no different in the nonprofit world.

One of the sessions I attended involved a presentation of work being done by a school located outside of Boston, MA, The League School of Boston, and their topic was “Embracing Neurodiversity in Transition Planning” for young adolescents. This topic is especially timely for Little Friends as we begin our new venture to help young neurodiverse adults with minimal needs get support which ultimately leads to employment in a community integrated setting.

- Advertisement -

A lot of the work presented spoke to the importance of an integrated team working together to help the individuals they support. We appreciate and agree with the approach to recognize the value of an individual and celebrate the fact that we all think differently due to neurological differences. The work we are planning is based upon individual needs, and the approach they use is similar.

A lot was shared, but a phrase from the presentation that “struck home” was a quote from a gentleman named Howard Gardner.

“It is not how smart you are that matters. What really counts is how you’re smart!”

The message was simple, as the challenge for us and others who will do this work is to find the strengths of each individual and help them learn how to advocate for themselves in today’s world.

When the approach is to help neurodiverse individuals better understand their own abilities, good things happen. The work and results presented by the League School of Boston team showed that individuals in this type of program saw an increase in self-esteem and confidence, improved communication, self-awareness, and self-expression. Maybe most important was that there was a desire to engage and participate in work opportunities.

My takeaway from this session reinforced the direction we are taking related to providing individual supports coupled with experiential learning opportunities creating employment opportunities for the business community. I am excited about what lies ahead in the coming months as we work to “Connect Adults with Communities.” While there is work to do, there are rewards to be had helping others in the time ahead.

Stay Connected!

Get the latest local headlines delivered to your inbox each morning.
SUBSCRIBE
- Advertisement -
Mike Briggs
Mike Briggshttp://littlefriendsinc.org
Mike Briggs is the President and CEO of Little Friends. Little Friends empowers clients with autism and other developmental disabilities to thrive in our community. Their groundbreaking programs and nationally-renowned staff provide lifelong opportunities for growth, so their clients can work, learn, play and experience the joy of life’s everyday moments.

LATEST NEWS

DON’T MISS OUT!
GET THE DAILY
SQUARE-SCOOP
The latest local headlines delivered
to your inbox each morning.
SUBSCRIBE
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.
close-link

Stay Connected!

Get the latest local headlines delivered to your inbox each morning.
SUBSCRIBE
close-link