Why We Serve
The voices and perspectives of individuals who are 'neurodivergent' are often underrepresented in decision-making impacting instructional practices, classroom management, and assessment of learners. The personal histories, experiences and individual differences of each learner matters and should be taken into consideration as we apply instructional, assessment and classroom management approaches. As educators, how we treat a learner because of their neurodiversity can either assuage or aggravate the challenges these learners face.
A Social Justice Framework for addressing neurodevelopmental challenges allows us to improve outcomes for learners who are neurodiverse. Advancing social justice and educational equity for all learners will allow educators to implement instructional, assessment, and classroom management practices that are responsive and relevant to redressing systemic inequities faced typically by learners with Specific Learning Disabilities, AD(H)D, and/or on the Autism Spectrum (who may or may not be Twice Exceptional).
When it comes to improving employment outcomes for neurodiverse people we recognize that there is often very little coordination between disability support services and career/employment services offices. For individuals with specific learning, attentional, and social-communication challenges, Career Planning and Development can be daunting. According to Understood.org, in their resource "Learning Disabilities By the Numbers,"
46 percent of working-age adults with LD report being employed, as compared to 71 percent of adults without LD;
67 percent earned $25,000 or less per year within eight years of leaving high school;
Only 19 percent say their employers are aware that they have LD;
Only 5 percent have accommodations in the workplace [data retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/getting-started/what-you-need-to-know/learning-disabilities-by-the-numbers].
Maanvi Singh of NPR.org reflects in the article, "Young Adults With Autism More Likely To Be Unemployed, Isolated", for young adults on the Autism Spectrum, the realities are starker:
66 percent of young people with autism had neither a job nor educational plans during the first two years after high school;
For over 33 percent of young adults with autism, this continued into their early 20s [retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/04/21/401243060/young-adults-with-autism-more-likely-to-be-unemployed-isolated].
The "services cliff" that many neurodiverse emerging adults experience often make it difficult to access the services and supports necessary for a successful transition into post-secondary life.
At Let' Talk LD, we believe that solving these and other critically important but seemingly intractable issues facing young people who are neurodiverse require a new kind of thought leadership and activism. This is why we serve.