2019 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference brings together our constituents to share resources and success stories, learn about field-driven best practices, and network within a community engaged in shared values. The Conference is attended by passionate leaders, experts, and advocates from every corner of the disability community. Conference attendees are influential in their fields and communities, and play an important role in the provision of services and supports for the millions of individuals and organizations around the world; and include professors and researchers from leading institutions; those involved in local, state, and federal governments and public policy; special and general educators, and school administrators; self-advocates, adult service providers; students, family members, and many others.  This year’s conference theme, Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities, reminds us that equity, opportunity, and inclusion relies on the input of broad perspectives and experiences.
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Friday, December 6 • 2:10pm - 3:00pm
Educational Experiences and Practices Grounded in Neurodiversity and Multimodal Communication Seating Available

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Limited Capacity seats available

This presentation will discuss findings from a qualitative research study that explores the experiences of students and those who support them in a school grounded in the neurodiversity paradigm (Walker, 2014), with a focus on multimodal communication access. Sensory, motor, and learning differences can create barriers to communication, academic performance and social opportunities (Donnellan, Hill & Leary, 2013; Hussman et al. 2011; Torres et al. 2013). Yet there remains much unexplored about educational strategies and supports in school settings that can effectively reduce those barriers from a strengths-based perspective; even less that draws upon experiences and leadership of neurodivergent people themselves. For example, it has been established that individuals with disabilities, such as autism, involving complex sensory, motor and communication needs benefit from a range of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tools for supporting communication (Kagohara et al., 2013; Light & McNaughton, 2012). Yet less is known about incorporating AAC in grade level curriculum, what other concurrent supports are helpful to reduce barriers associated with sensory, movement and learning differences, or what it means to be a neurodivergent student. As this year's conference theme, Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities, reminds us, equity, opportunity, and inclusion rely on the contributions of broad perspectives and experiences. As such, this study explores the integral ways that the leadership and collaboration across neurodiverse experiences, particularly with self-advocates who utilize AAC or a range of communicative modalities, play into all experiences at school. This work is rooted in TASH's mission of centering and learning alongside those most at risk for being excluded, empowering self-advocates drive both research and practice that impacts them. This research will document practices, experiences and relationships that contribute to learning experiences for/with/across neurodiversity, while also supporting development of students' skills and identities as multimodal communicators. The presentation will translate findings into concrete strategies for practice, informed by experiences and promising practices of students and self-advocates with sensory, motor and learning differences, as well as those who support them at school from a strengths-based perspective that explicitly values neurodiverse ways of being and communicating.

avatar for Molly K. Rearick

Molly K. Rearick

Founder & Executive Director, IGNITE Collective, Inc.
communication, AAC, transition, adult supports, inclusive education

Friday December 6, 2019 2:10pm - 3:00pm MST
Meeting Room: Bird 5594 West Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85226