Live Out Loud Limited is all about celebrating children, young people, parents and families for exactly who they are and the way in which they show up as human beings in this life. To ensure the neuro-diverse child to thrive in all environments (home, school and community), Live Out Loud collaborates with families and educators, in reviewing the various settings and suggesting alternative accommodations to best suit the unique brain and holistic profile of the child or young person. Energy is spent on designing a nurturing and differentiated learning environment coupled with the level of support pitched to best encourage the child to gradually grow in confidence, esteem and independence.
Thomas Armstrong (2012:13) uses the term ‘positive niche construction’ when referring to neurodiversity-inspired educators ‘who will have a deep respect for each child’s unique brain and seek to create the best differentiated learning environment and instruction within which it can thrive’. In working closely with children, young people and their families, Live Out Loud is thus seeking to discover each child’s unique WHO, as well as unique WHAT (requirements) for optimal growth and development at their pace and suggest differentiated and neuro-affirmative strategies to facilitate them to bloom in their own unique time and way.
Armstrong highlights the components of ‘positive niche construction’ as: strength awareness, environmental modifications, positive role models, strength-based learning strategies, positive role models, affirmative career aspirations, enhanced human resources and Assistive-Technologies / Universal Design for Learning.
Live Out Loud believes that one of the many important tools we can use to support a positive niche for the neuro-diverse brain, is our own rich understanding of each child and family’s unique abilities, strengths, interests, talents and gifts. When learning about the WHO of each child or young person we engage with, Live Out Loud celebrates connecting with a range of strength-based models of learning, including Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (Gardner 1993), Dunn and Dunn’s learning style approach (Dunn & Dunn, 1992), as well as the Circle of Courage, a model of youth empowerment that identifies the four vital growth needs essential for wellbeing (belonging, mastery, independence and generosity) (Brendtro, Van Bockern & Brokenleg, 1988).
Live Out Loud grows happiness and wellbeing by cultivating abilities, strengths and interests and collaboratively constructs nurturing environments that best suit our clients.
All of this takes place in close collaboration with each child, young person and family.
“And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two makes four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know who you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you… You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.”
– Pablo Casals
Armstrong, T. 2012. Neurodiversity in the classroom. Strength-based strategies to help students with special needs succeed in school and life. ASCD, Alexandria, VA, USA.
Brendtro, L.K., Brokenleg, M. & Van Bockern, S. Reclaiming Youth at Risk. Futures of promise, 3rd Edition.