Challenging the Status Quo in the Classroom and Beyond

On episode 212, Emily Kircher-Morris and Jess Lahey discuss the importance of understanding and supporting neurodivergent students. Jess highlights the need for teachers to question traditional teaching methods and adapt their practices to meet the diverse needs of their students. They talk about the value of formative assessments, peer-to-peer teaching, and creating an inclusive learning environment. They also explore the overlap between substance abuse and learning differences, emphasizing the importance of early intervention and support. They discuss the need for teachers to gradually release responsibility to students, and empower them to advocate for themselves. Open-minded, reflective, and responsive classrooms best serve the individual needs of students. Takeaways: Question traditional teaching methods and adapt practices to meet the diverse needs of students. Use formative assessments to gauge student understanding and provide targeted support. Create an inclusive learning environment that values peer-to-peer teaching and individual learning styles. Recognize the overlap between substance abuse and learning differences, and provide early intervention and support. Gradually release responsibility to students and empower them to advocate for themselves. This episode is brought to you by the Council for Exceptional Children, dedicated to high-quality education that is inclusive and equitable for individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. Attend their Annual Convention & Expo, March 13-16, 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. Register now at, and if you’re a school principal, receive free registration by using the code 24CEC100. If you see value in rethinking education and building a stronger classroom, consider joining the Neurodiversity University Educator Hub! It’s a group built for educators, and we’ll open registration again soon! Sign up to be alerted, and join us for the learning, sharing, and fun! Jessica Lahey is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, and The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence. Over twenty years, Jess has taught every grade from sixth to twelfth in both public and private schools, and has written about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Washington Post and The Atlantic, and her biweekly column, The Parent Teacher Conference, ran for three years at the New York Times. She also designed and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ award-winning animated series The Stinky and Dirty Show, and was a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee. She co-hosts the #AmWriting podcast from her empty nest in Vermont. BACKGROUND READING Jessica’s website Instagram Threads Facebook LinkedIn The Neurodiversity Podcast is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter/X, and you’re invited to join our Facebook Group. For more information go to

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The Neurodiversity Podcast talks with leaders in the fields of psychology, education, and beyond, about positively impacting neurodivergent people. Our goal is to reframe differences that were once considered disabilities or disorders, promote awareness of this unique population, and improve the lives of neurodivergent and high-ability people.