ED 407 Week Three (Winter 2021)

Hi everyone,

This Week Three we focus a bit more on Special Education and working with students with a variety of challenges.


The first video is a part of a simulation that Richard Lavoie did with students, teachers, and parents to help the participants understand how students with disabilities experience school. While this is an older video, it continues to be one of the best I have found in helping us understand the classroom from a student’s perspective.

We will also look at Autism in America. Then I give you the choice to view and respond to either The Einstein Effect or Lost Child.

Thus, we will watch a total of three documentaries. The first two are required, and then you can choose from either one of the last two.


Don’t forget to work on your response template while you view the documentaries.



How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T. City Workshop—Understanding Learning Disabilities Full Video (01:06:45)

In this classic program, internationally known learning disabilities expert Richard D. Lavoie leads a group of educators, psychologists, parents, and children through a series of exercises that vividly illustrate the daily classroom reality of LD students, an experience fraught with F.A.T.: frustration, anxiety, and tension. After the workshop is done, participants discuss strategies for working more effectively with learning-disabled children. Mainstreaming, discipline, distractions, and self-concept are addressed. Distributed by PBS Distribution. (70 minutes) Distributed by PBS Distribution.




Autism in America (1:27)

Putting the puzzle together, one beautiful piece at a time. This film is a genuine and straightforward look into the autism spectrum disorder as told by the families and individuals living with autism daily. Many parents are interviewed including Ruth Sullivan, Ph.D., the mother of a man named Joe who was the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman’s autistic character in the movie Rain Man. We also hear from a young woman named Alexis, the first autistic person to run for the title of Miss America. Autistic behaviors such as difficulty communicating, outbursts, etc. are examined in the film, as are the financial and emotional effects on parents. The film looks at young years, discipline, transition into high school and college, employment possibilities, and marriage for people with autism. Narrated by Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy).






The Einstein Effect: Savants and Creativity Full Video (53:28)

Mute until the age of nine, Stephen Wiltshire learned to communicate through realistic, richly detailed drawings. Alonzo Clemens sculpts clay animal figures with great precision, even though he can barely form a sentence. Matt Savage faced extraordinary developmental problems as a child but has become a teen prodigy among jazz musicians. What is the relationship between creativity and autistic behavior? Why does slow learning—such as the young Albert Einstein experienced—sometimes conceal genius? This program focuses on these questions and other aspects of autistic brain research, revealing fascinating links between the realms of savants and prodigies. (54 minutes)






Lost Child? Living with an Intellectual Disability (91 minutes)

For a person with an intellectual disability, social communications and interactions can sometimes be limited or difficult. “We don’t always know how to get the feelings out,” says Alyssa Ruzzin, whose life is the focus of this film. Coping with the challenges of an intellectual disability compounded by epilepsy, she is an inspiring speaker and a forthright advocate for the rights of people with special needs. Over the course of this documentary filmed by her brother, viewers are given an opportunity to learn more about Alyssa’s rich interior life as well as her struggles and triumphs as she deals with going to work, being in a relationship, and other day-to-day activities. By opening up to Greg and his camera, Alyssa is hopeful that she “might be helping people realize what goes on in other people’s heads when they can’t speak about it.” (91 minutes)


I hope you feel as though you learned a lot about some of the challenges many student face. Having a heightened sensitivity to these issues will serve you well in any educational setting.

This wraps up the documentaries for the first three weeks. Would you please email me your first set of responses? Thanks!

Have a great day!