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Rethinking education: How to engage students who have special needs

Professor works with local public schools to help students
Friday, December 2, 2016

A headshot of Reesha Adamson.From the beginning, Reesha Adamson could sense her calling. She wanted to improve the lives of young people – those of elementary school age, especially – who have behavioral disorders such as oppositional behaviors, depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that manifest themselves in learning environments.

“Research shows that 20 percent of students have these disorders throughout their childhood. A lot of those things that go untreated and unhelped get worse as students get older,” said Adamson, an assistant professor of counseling, leadership and special education at Missouri State University. “It tends to be a high need.”

So she wondered about the possibilities. What if teachers knew how to better identify and help such students? What if those students knew how to seek help for themselves? And how might that bring about a better future for tomorrow’s leaders?

Identifying the problem

Adamson is working with local public schools to help a small section of students who struggle with following through on classroom engagement and aren’t learning at the same rate as their peers.

Such students may have educational behavioral disorders, which differs from medical behavioral disorders. The question is whether the disorder affects performance in the classroom.

“It isn’t because they aren’t capable,” Adamson said. “It’s because they aren’t able to sit in class and sustain until the class ends.”

Learn more about Adamson’s research on Mind’s Eye.

For more information, contact Adamson at 417-836-6284.

MISSOURI STATE MEDIA

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