What the teachers are saying
Anne Wiley is a teacher at St. Louis Catholic School in the Program to Assist Social Thinking (PAST) - for students with Autism. She and her students use Ability Online in one of our private e-communities.
"When the demands of face to face communication are eliminated my students can communicate free of anxiety. I teach kids on the Autism Spectrum with Asperger's Syndrome.
Children with autism spectrum disorder have a social cognitive deficit. They have difficulty interpreting facial expressions, gestures,and tone of voice. These children may require a longer time to process the message. These difficulties do not arise when communicating through ability online."
Regards. Anne Wiley
Christian, the Prinicpal Diane, and two students from the "Blog Squad"
"When I first heard of Ability Online, I thought to myself what a wonderful undertaking. Having a positive, extensive and safe community where kids with both physical and learning exceptionalities can come together, discuss issues that are important to them, rant about things great and those that suck, learn from each other, and most importantly grow, is so important. Very often these students I work with feel isolated or just a little different than what they refer to as “regular kids.” Ability Online gives them a voice and a place to belong.
As for the Blog Squad project, all I can say is wow. As teachers, we are forever talking about “authentic learning” experiences; making what our students learn matter and applicable in the “real world.” I can, in all honesty, say that this is one of those times. These students are not merely helping build a website, it is much more. Self confidence is often the most difficult stumbling block we face as teachers working with students with special needs. Working with Michelle has helped us change that. Our students are helping themselves become more confident in their abilities. I have witnessed our students become leaders, not only with this project or in our classroom, but spilling out into their other classes. It gets even better. I remind my students constantly, as they help develop this website, they will eventually be helping kids like them for years to come, giving them a place where they can come and not feel alone or lost in their academic lives. Yes these students have a voice, yes they can make a difference, and yes they can help other people. Imagine how empowering that is.
It has been an honour to be part of this project and even more than that, it has been an honour to be a guide and a witness to the empowerment and growth of these students.