7 “Ideas worth spreading” for the special needs community

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Ted Ideas Worth Spreading for the special needs community

TED is a global set of conferences formed to disseminate “ideas worth spreading.”

Originally TED’s emphasis was on technology and design. The conferences now address an increasingly wide range of topics within the practice of science and culture. Past presenters include Bill Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Among these VIP’s are a number of people who have ideas worth spreading for the special needs community.

Check out these seven great TED talks.

Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds

Autism activist Temple Grandin talks about how her mind works — sharing her ability to “think in pictures,” which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.

Stephen Volan: Approaching Autism Theatrically

Until Stephen Volan was diagnosed in 2002 with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 37, he had no way to address his difficulties navigating the minefields of society and the workplace. Holding jobs, maintaining close relationships, or reading faces and body language were all exercises in paralysis-inducing doubt and frustration.

Thanks to a serendipitous theater class at Second City in Chicago, Stephan has learned to rely on a skill he knew how to use without hesitation: being playful.

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!


Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning — creating conditions where kids’ natural talents can flourish.

Alicia Arenas: Recognizing Glass Children


Having a brother with autism and another to a terminal illness, Alicia Arenas never knew a normal childhood. Expected to always put on a brave face, Arenas played the role of good girl on the outside.

On the inside, however, she was dying. In this heart-wrenching talk, Arenas tells parents of children with special needs — and their surrounding community — to stop looking through the siblings of children with special needs.

Sheila Nirenberg: A prosthetic eye to treat blindness


Sheila Nirenberg shows a bold way to create sight in people with certain kinds of blindness: by hooking into the optic nerve and sending signals from a camera direct to the brain.

Aditi Shankardass: A second opinion on learning disorders


Developmental disorders in children are typically diagnosed by observing behavior, but Aditi Shankardass knew that we should be looking directly at their brains. She explains how a remarkable EEG device has revealed mistaken diagnoses and transformed children’s lives.

Chris Klein: seeing unique abilities

Chris Klein is a voice to those that have none and helping hand to those with disabilities, even though he was born with cerebral palsy and uses augmentative communication to help him interact with the rest of the world. Over the past four years, Chris has been working closely with people that use AAC. He has recently been elected president of USSAAC (United States Society of Augmentative Alternative Communication). He has also formed an organization called BeCOME AAC. It stands for Building Connections with Others through Mentoring and Education about AAC. Chris is a graduate of Hope College and has studied at Western Theological Seminary. He currently lives in Grand Rapids with his wife Dawn.

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  • http://www.adddiagnosis.net/ ADHD Test

    Excellent collection on openness, education and tolerance.

  • trackingbehaviortrends

    I would like some feedback from the community; professionals and parents to see what your thoughts are on using mobile technology for tracking behavior on a child with special needs (autism, ADHD).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Strauss/1052117413 Jane Strauss

    Tech is great.  Not sure how much is too much, though, especially unproven.  After all, if you have met one autistic, you have met one autistic.