AKOM and the Solo Practitioner

There are many roles an educator can play. For years I was blessed to work at the Center School, an independent school outside of Philadelphia. During my years there, our faculty completed the Schools Attuned Generalist Course, and another teacher and I trained to become course facilitators.

The school was a perfect setting for using a neurodevelopmental lens to develop my understanding of how kids learn – a common mission, supportive colleagues, and families who were committed to finding ways to better understand how their child learned. It is not surprising that my involvement with AKOM has deepened since my initial introduction years ago.

But now I find myself in a new role – reading specialist-at-large.

As a private practitioner, I perform many duties with students in a variety of schools, including tutoring, assessment, academic coaching and advising. The tutoring relationship lends itself to demystifying students and helping them to develop and implement workable management plans. In my experience, students are hungry to better understand themselves, and appreciate the opportunity to take ownership of their learning.

But working independently also presents challenges I never faced in my years at Center School. The biggest is forging a relationship with the teachers my clients have so that they can better understand the learning needs of their (and my) students.

Over the coming weeks in this space, I will be processing out loud some of the challenges that educators face when they are providing ancillary, rather than primary support to students.

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Sharing AKOM’s Research Base

I recently shared AKOM’s Research Base of the Schools Attuned Porgram, www.allkindsofminds.org/Research/Index.aspx, with colleagues. Several teachers asked for this information following our school wide Schools Attuned work. While we work exclusively with college bound students who have learning differences, prior to learning the neurodevelopmental constructs, our teachers possessed many varied understandings of the learning differences. These different interpretations were the cause of varied perceptions. A year following the program, evidence of our common understanding was abundant. Classroom teachers were more confident in working with struggling students. Instructional planning was more learner centered and student engagement increased. The research base includes studies that demonstrate these changes. We are presently using the research base to inform further implementation. I review educational research regularly and I was excited to learn that AKOM has a research team who actively studies advances in educational, psychological, medical and clinical research. This is translated into the further development of the program. The content of Schools Attuned has many authors from the field of learning. Our students benefit from this daily.