Including children with disabilities in STEM: An outreach program for dyslexic students (research to practice) strand: Other: Disabilities

Lyndsey Alyssa Wright, Barbara M. Moskal

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

engineering and mathematics (STEM) at all levels, kindergarten through college. STEM is currently recognized as a critical area of knowledge for an educated citizenship. Despite educators' best efforts, however, some students are being left out of the STEM revolution because they have learning challenges in areas that are considered to be more important to their future success. One such group is students who are diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability that results in challenges when learning to read. These students often determine very young that they are not as capable in learning as their peers because they struggle to master reading. Yet, many dyslexic students are also gifted, and some researchers believe that some dyslexic students have a unique capacity to visualize in three dimensions, which ironically contributes to the challenge of mastering reading in two dimensions. The ability to reason in three dimensions is an advantage when learning STEM. This advantage should be recognized, developed and encouraged because many of these students may have the potential to be future scientists and engineers. This paper describes a Colorado School of Mines' STEM outreach program, which focuses on the "E" in STEM (engineering concepts) and was delivered as part of the five week summer camp, Rocky Mountain Camp for Dyslexic Kids, in 2013. The target population included students in kindergarten through seventh grade who had been diagnosed with dyslexia and who were attending this summer camp, which was designed to support their learning needs with respect to reading. During the morning portion of this camp, students participated in intensive reading instruction. Two weeks of STEM units and three weeks of art units were offered as a "break" from reading instruction. All of the STEM lessons were designed to be haptic and to promote confidence and self-reliance in the students. The quantitative results, which include pre and post content assessments, support the effectiveness of the STEM component of the program. The qualitative results, which include letters of gratitude written by the dyslexic students, support the level of enthusiasm that these students had with respect to STEM learning. This paper shares both the quantitative and qualitative results and proposes future research concerning STEM and the dyslexic population.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2014
Event121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education - Indianapolis, IN, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2014Jun 18 2014

Conference

Conference121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityIndianapolis, IN
Period06/15/1406/18/14

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