STEM Serves Key Role for Students with Disabilities


Written by: Reagan Flowers, PhD

At C-STEM, we stand firmly behind the belief that every child deserves access to the education he or she needs. We often talk about barriers students face in terms of economic means, geographic location, lack of technology, and underfunded schools. Students with disabilities face everyday obstacles on top of these factors.

Many assume that students who struggle with challenges like ADHD or autism are not able to engage in complex, problem-solving STEM activities because they learn and socialize differently. However, schools who are providing STEM education to students with disabilities, like the STEM3 Academy in Irvine, Ca., are showing positive results. These students are showing lower dropout rates and higher college attendance.

Why? Education for children with disabilities is often delivered in a personalized, one-on-one manner. This means teachers can tailor content to the student’s individual capabilities, learning style and interests.

Second, STEM education revolves around hands-on learning. This is often much more effective for a student with a disability. Extensive lecturing is often ineffective for the way those with disabilities learn. Engaging in STEM projects and other interactive activities proves much more effective.

As we move forward with our efforts to prepare students for STEM careers of tomorrow, it’s important that we include ALL students. Every child deserves to have access to high quality STEM learning experiences.  Let’s face it, in some form, STEM touches all of our lives.

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