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Including Children With Disabilities in STEM: An Outreach Program for Dyslexic Students (Research to Practice)

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Diversity in K-12 and Pre-college Engineering Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.726.1 - 24.726.12



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Paper Authors


Lyndsey Alyssa Wright Colorado School of Mines

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Lyndsey Wright is working towards an M.S. in Applied Mathematics at the Colorado School of Mines. Her research is on Numerical Methods for Poisson's Equation; she has also worked on various K-12 outreach and course assessment projects under Dr. Barb Moskal.

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Barbara M. Moskal Colorado School of Mines

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Including Children With Disabilities in STEM: An Outreach Program for Dyslexic Students (Research to Practice)Across the United States, educators are calling for improved instruction in science, technology,engineering and mathematics (STEM) at all levels, kindergarten through college. STEM iscurrently recognized as a critical area of knowledge for an educated citizenship. Despiteeducators’ best efforts, however, some students are being left out of the STEM revolutionbecause they have learning challenges in areas that are considered to be more important to theirfuture success. One such group is students who are diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disabilitythat results in challenges when learning to read. These students often determine very young thatthey are not as capable in learning as their peers because they struggle to master reading. Yetmany dyslexic students are also gifted, and some researchers believe that some dyslexic studentshave a unique capacity to visualize in three dimensions, which ironically contributes to thechallenge of mastering reading in two dimensions. The ability to reason in three dimensions isan advantage when learning STEM; an advantage which should be recognized, developed andencouraged.The proposed paper will describe a university STEM outreach program, which was delivered to afive week summer camp for dyslexic students in 2013. The target population included students inkindergarten through seventh grade who had been diagnosed with dyslexia and who wereattending this summer camp, which was designed to support their learning needs with respect toreading. During the morning portion of this camp, students participated in intensive readinginstruction. 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 promoteconfidence and self-reliance in the students. The quantitative results, which include pre and postcontent assessments, support the effectiveness of the STEM component of the program. Thequalitative results, which include letters of gratitude written by the dyslexic students, support thelevel of enthusiasm that these students had with respect to STEM learning. This paper will shareboth the quantitative and qualitative results and propose future research concerning STEM andthe dyslexic population.

Wright, L. A., & Moskal, B. M. (2014, June), Including Children With Disabilities in STEM: An Outreach Program for Dyslexic Students (Research to Practice) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20618

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