Balancing The Scale
Emotions are signals in our brains that prepare us for action, but can also dominate what we perceive. In order for students to succeed, the emotional aspect of learning must be addressed. At RIDE, we maximize success for students with disabilities by focusing on their social-emotional development, and reducing the barriers to learning found in typical educational environments through our programs and partnerships. Because students with disabilities tend to lack emotional nurturing, creating an effective learning environment for them means “balancing the scale” between emotional intelligence (EQ) and intellectual intelligence (IQ). Supporting the emotional development of early learners–especially those with disabilities–will not only improve student learning outcomes, but will also help students advocate for themselves as they continue to progress to different learning environments.
The RIDE Curriculum
In collaboration with our strategic partners at The Bilingual Environmental Science Academy (BESA), an innovative preschool in Southern California, RIDE has developed a curriculum for early educators to integrate into their classrooms. Unlike most standard curricula, RIDE’s curriculum uses a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. The UDL framework is flexible to how different humans learn by design, as opposed to a rigid framework that requires ad hoc changes to accommodate different learning styles. The UDL model helps educators develop lesson plans that better accommodate learning differences, so that each child can develop a confident and enthusiastic attitude toward learning (CAST, 2018). Take, for example, a teacher who asks students to take turns reading a book aloud in a group setting. While this activity may motivate and excite some students to learn, other students who may have difficulty pronouncing words aloud might be overtaken by anxiety and fear, and may disengage rather than attempt the task. Instead, what if the teacher adopted a UDL framework and offered multiple methods of reading the book, and then allowed students to select how they would like to share their favorite part of the story with the group (draw a picture, talk about it with a peer, or write a reflection)?
RIDE’s novel UDL-based curriculum will provide students with access to an education that is meaningful and challenging, while cultivating their ability to recognize, express, and regulate their social-emotional skills. RIDE’s curriculum also encourages greater parent involvement in the student’s learning process, ensuring that the social-emotional skills being nurtured at school are also reinforced at home. RIDE will pilot this curriculum via our partners at BESA, expanding to other early educators in Southern California within year one.
*CAST (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2. Retrieved from http://udlguidelines.cast.org
RIDE "Kid Kards"
Ensuring that every child's basic needs are met.
RIDE "Kid Kards" are a fun and effective way to communicate each child's needs to teachers, coaches, and anyone who looks after them. Communicating details about the child's everyday sensitivities and behaviors is essential to promoting positive interactions, but typically goes unaddressed.
RIDE "Young Yogis"
Working with our strategic partners at Primary Care Sports Medicine (PCSM), the largest non-surgical sports medicine clinic in Southern California, RIDE will connect children with access to safe and enriching extracurricular activities, piloting our "Young Yogis" program. PCSM is currently building a lighthouse program to provide a wide array of free after school services to underserved communities, including yoga.
Studies show that yoga can help to reduce anxiety for children with disabilities such as Autism, as well as helping them with managing their emotional expressions and improving motor skills. This is an example of one of the many ways in which RIDE will help these children thrive by providing resources beyond just advocacy, connecting them with opportunities and tools to aid in the development of positive lifelong habits.
Creating inclusive environments where individuals with disabilities can thrive.
One of the largest obstacles for individuals with disabilities in everyday life - especially in school and the workplace - is physical environment. Sensory overload leads to emotional dysregulation, which tends to be challenging for all children (especially those with disabilities), significantly affecting their ability to learn or simply exist comfortably. 'RIDE Rooms' will help education and care facilities, homeowners, and even employers create inclusive spaces that are neurodiversity-friendly. By working with strategic partners to provide environments that are free of the typical stressors that produce anxiety for sensitive individuals (such as bright lights, loud noises, and busy objects), RIDE will facilitate access to 'safe havens' where our clients' loved ones can truly thrive.
RIDE Kidz Music
RIDE Kidz Music is our very own YouTube channel created to promote understanding, self-acceptance, and peer-acceptance of children with Autism and other disabilities or learning differences. Through fun, original sing along songs, we strive to educate children about the disabled community to promote more positive interactions among peers. Whether you are the caretaker of a child with a disability, a teacher who wants to promote greater peer acceptance among her students, or simply a parent who would like for your children to understand a friend a little bit better, RIDE Kidz Music is an engaging way of helping children learn that it’s ok to be different!