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March 29, 2023

4 Tools to Help Educators Meet the Needs of Neurodiverse Students

Discover how tools like video-based curriculum and SEL can support your neurodiverse learners:

Every student has unique learning needs, but for neurodiverse students, those needs can be especially complex. Neurodiversity refers to the range of neurological differences and conditions, including autism, ADHD, and dyslexia, among others. Educators have a responsibility to meet the needs of all students, but this is especially important when it comes to neurodiverse learners. 

However, this task can be challenging without the right tools and strategies. By incorporating tools that support neurodiversity into their classrooms, educators can help every student reach their full potential, regardless of their unique learning profile.

  1. Multimedia Education

The use of multimedia lessons, especially video-based lessons, can help create a more inclusive learning environment that supports the diverse needs of neurodiverse students. One key advantage is the support provided through visual and auditory aids, which can be particularly helpful for students who struggle with processing information presented in only one modality. Additionally, video-based curriculum can be more engaging for students than traditional lectures, thanks to the incorporation of videos, animations, and interactive activities. This engagement can be particularly beneficial for students who may struggle with attention or interest in traditional classroom settings. 

Video-based lessons can also be tailored to meet the individual needs of students, such as those with dyslexia or ADHD, through the use of closed captions, transcripts, or shorter, more frequent videos or activities. Diverse media can also offer a level of flexibility that can be valuable to neurodiverse students who may need to review material or catch up on missed classes. Taken together, the benefits of multimedia video lessons can create a more inclusive learning environment that supports the diverse needs of neurodiverse students.

  1. Task management software

Task management software can support neurodiverse students by providing them with an organizational structure that helps them manage their time effectively. Neurodiverse students may struggle with executive functioning, making it difficult to stay organized. Task management software can help students prioritize tasks, create to-do lists, and set reminders, making it easier to manage academic and personal responsibilities.

Furthermore, task management software can be customized to meet the individual needs of students. It can provide accommodations to students with different learning needs, such as visual reminders or text-to-speech software. The software can also help students feel a sense of accomplishment as they complete tasks and move closer to achieving their goals. By reducing stress and anxiety and increasing motivation, task management software can support the success of neurodiverse students.

  1. Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) tools can provide numerous benefits for neurodivergent students. One significant advantage is the increased self-awareness they can provide. Additionally, SEL tools can help students develop social skills and strategies to navigate social situations successfully. This can be particularly helpful for students with conditions like autism or social anxiety, who may struggle with communication or social interaction. Another significant benefit of SEL tools is their potential to reduce stress and anxiety. 

Finally, by improving emotional regulation and social skills, SEL tools can help students feel more connected to school and motivated to learn, leading to improved academic outcomes. Overall, the use of SEL tools can create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment that addresses the diverse needs of neurodivergent students, leading to improved academic performance and overall well-being.

Interested in learning more? Courses with embedded SEL, like Mastery Coding's computer science and esports curricula, support the needs of neurodiverse students.

  1. Interactive, Project-Based Activities

Interactive classroom activities can be highly beneficial for neurodiverse students, providing a more engaging and stimulating learning environment. By actively involving students in the learning process, interactive activities can help students with attention and focus difficulties, such as ADHD. Moreover, such activities can be tailored to meet the diverse learning needs of neurodiverse students, such as using visual aids or technology for students with dyslexia or other learning differences.

Interactive activities can also help neurodiverse students develop social skills, which can be particularly beneficial for students with conditions such as autism or social anxiety. By promoting communication, collaboration, and teamwork, interactive activities can help students feel more comfortable in social situations. Additionally, multi-sensory learning experiences provided by interactive activities can benefit students with sensory processing difficulties, such as those with autism. Customization of activities to match the interests and strengths of neurodiverse students further boosts their engagement, personalization, and creativity in learning . Gamer Math and Academic Esports programs, for example, use students' love and passion for video games to drive engagement, boost scores, and facilitate STEM career exploration. In conclusion, interactive classroom activities can support the academic success and well-being of neurodiverse students by providing a more inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Meeting the needs of neurodiverse students requires thoughtful consideration and intentional use of specific tools and strategies. By incorporating assistive technology, sensory tools, multi-sensory learning materials, video-based curriculum, project-based learning, and social-emotional learning tools, educators can help all students, including neurodiverse students, succeed in the classroom.

At Mastery Coding, supporting each and every student is our mission: no matter their background, economic status, or condition they may have. Everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue a STEM career - and STEM advances best when all perspectives are included in the dialogue. 

Mastery Coding delivers curriculum in a way that is inclusive and accessible to students with neurodiverse needs. To learn more about how Mastery Coding supports students see Product Accessibility.

Authors

Olivia has background in behavioral ecology and data analysis. She develops and implements SEO, CRO, social media strategy, and authors multi-disciplinary content for our blog, & our social media sites. She's contributed to many of the STEM tie-ins within our curriculum, authored our SEL course, and is a specialist in neurodiverse learning strategies.