Written by: Lewis Fein
In my previous column, where I emphasize the merits of using the Web to promote the interests of children with learning challenges or disabilities, consider this piece a sequel to that article: Think of it as an opportunity to highlight, through the many forms of social media, the merits of running a school dedicated to intellectual leadership and customized instruction. For, in a nation where, according to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, as many as 20% of Americans have some form of learning challenge, and an estimated 4.6 million school-age children in the United States have a diagnosis of one or more types of learning disabilities, it is essential to convey this information to the public in general and parents in particular. Indeed, it is critical (as this piece reveals) to address this issue with a sense of passion, excitement, creativity, and even fun – since that is how teachers and administrators can help children with challenges that range from dyslexia and dyscalculia to attention deficit disorder.
I return, therefore, to a school, Pacific Point Academy, that, thanks to its dedication to thought leadership – and through the work of its founder, Debbie Shaler Williams – continues to be at the forefront of using social media (including the school’s Facebook page) to be a source of relevant content and timely analysis. This approach is vital to having a conversation, between parents and teachers and others with an interest in this subject, about the best ways to help children with learning challenges with a curriculum – and an environment – that is as fruitful as it is friendly; as beneficial as it is benevolent; as instructive as it is inspiring.
Let me also encourage teachers and parents to review this school’s website, and read the dialogue (or survey the content) that is an inseparable part of this group’s use of social media, because it is a case study in successful communication. Or, rather than publish a series of self-congratulatory posts, rather than exclusively highlight a collection of accolades and testimonials, the lesson of Pacific Point Academy – the reason the school puts a premium on thought leadership – has everything to do with successful outcomes.
That is, if you want to be a leader in this space, if you want parents to respect your brand of teaching and children to profit from this style of instruction, if you want to use social media to say something of substance – if you want the perception of your skills and reputation to square with the reality of the same, then you had best have a message worth reading and sharing among your target audience
These efforts prove that technology has the power to spread a concept worthy of discussion and inclusion within the broader debate involving helping children with learning challenges.
By way of the examples listed above, and with a focus on having children flourish in a place that meets or exceeds their needs, social media can champion these achievements; as it should, as it must.
Lewis Fein is a writer, parent and marketing consultant. Based in Los Angeles, he is active in causes involving education and technology