Mapping Learning Outcomes and Activities:
A Simple Visual Tool for Neurodivergent Learners, Parents, and Professionals
Our Journey to a Simple and Flexible Planner
Dr. Dasaratha Rama
Parents of neurodivergent children have to make sense of long lists of goals and outcomes from various therapists, educators, and others. Over the last two decades, I have struggled to keep track of varied outcomes and address them in a coherent and consistent way. Despite my years of experience as an educator, the moving targets are very difficult to organize and navigate. When I saw the organization of outcomes in the Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) developed by Dr. Ambika Kameshwar, I was drawn to the simple yet comprehensive way of thinking about outcomes. Looking back, I could have used this framework when Ananth was in pre-school and we can use it today!
TAHD organizes outcomes into eight categories:
1. Motor skills / mobility
2. Basic skills of seeing, hearing etc.
3. Self-help skills
4. Cognitive skills
5. Language and communication
6. Social interaction
7. Emotional expression
8. Cultural / Moral Values
While the framework is simple and can be used throughout life, we created a visual and tactile tool using folded circles and post-its. Hands-on tools make information more usable! The elements of the circle are as follows:
I. Point of Learning (green post-its)
The point of learning represents the center of the circle. According to Dr. Ambika Kameshwar, everyb individual at any point in life is also at a point of learning. This point of learning represents past knowledge and skills as well what an individual needs to learn for his future roles.
Experiences at the point of learning support development!
II. Outcomes (Yellow Post-its)
The eight categories of outcomes are shown on the divided circle (yellow post-its).
III. SMART Projects (Orange)
SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-framed) projects are focused efforts to address targeted goals in the short run.
IV. 100-Day projects (Pink Post-its)
100-Day projects are a special kind of SMART projects that focus on improving the daily routine. For example, as Ananth has started his diploma in Bharatanatyam, we are doing a 100-Day project to add new activities and adjust existing activities in the daily routine. In contrast, other SMART projects are completed and do not influence the daily routine. For example, Ananth did two dance performances in October.
V. Daily Routine (Blue Post-its)
Daily routine provides a predictable structure to organize the day. Neurodivergent learners typically seek a well-organized structure to their day. We think in terms of daily rhythms rather than rigid schedules. For example, we start the day with a walk and movement activities (yoga/dance). There are specific activities in the morning, evening, and night that serve as anchors and support a more flexible daily routine.
My Monthly Planner
By Ananth Raghunandan
I have been folding circles since 2007 using an approach called wholemovement (www.wholemovement.com). In my entrepreneurship camp in 2014, I created the Fold, Color, Talk concept. I like to organize information using colored circles and post-its. Even though I use many technology tools, I prefer the folded circle with post-its planner. It is a visual and tactile tool that is always on my desk for easy reference.
Point of Learning (Green)
I have three main priorities for this month:
• I have started yoga to improve body posture, flexibility, and breathing.
• I have started practicing my old varnam (about 20 minutes long) to build stamina
• I do hand gestures and facial expression practice daily.
• I have also started writing practice
SMART goals (Orange)
I had my first class for my diploma in Bharatanatyam on October 28th 2023. This is my main SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-framed) goal for the year. I have specific goals for theory and for practicals.
Dance enables me to address movement and body awareness goals in a systematic and sustained way. Hence, I have put the orange post-it for the diploma under movement and body awareness goals.
Another important category of goals that I have been addressing in my dance class is language and communication. The story of the month is a SMART goal I have set for myself. I write the script, memorize, narrate and write the story for each month. Thus, I have another orange post-it under language and communication.
100-Day project (Pink)
I have started a 100-day project on October 30th. Since I just started the diploma, I expect major changes to my daily routine. We use 100 day projects to evolve our daily routine. We gradually make changes and adjust our daily routine.
Daily routine (Blue)
The daily routine includes several movement activities throughout the day. I go for two walks daily. I practice dance in the morning and evening. I practice hand gestures at night. I have also started doing yoga.
I am also practicing story narration every day. Because I had some performance, I was not able to record a story last month. Now, my goal is to record one story each month.
I hope that parents will explore folding circles with Wholemovement. I also hope that parents will build hands-on planners with their children.
As shown in the picture below, I record my daily activities in weekly planner sheets.
Dr. Dasaratha Rama is a professor and home educator. She was the editor of a monograph on service-learning published by the American Association of Higher Education. This monograph was a part of a series of monographs on service-learning published by AAHE. She was also an Engaged Scholar with the Campus Compact, an association in the US dedicated to higher education civic and community engagement at colleges and universities. She has served as the Chair of the Teaching and Curriculum Section of the American Accounting Education. She is a certified leader in systems thinking, mapping, and leadership under a program offered by Cabrera Research Lab. She is currently doing a certificate in Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) from RASA (Ramana Sunritya Aalaya).
Ananth Raghunandan is a student ambassador for RASA and TAHD. Ananth Raghunandan will be starting a diploma in Bharatanatyam shortly. He is the developer of Fold, Color, Talk concept based on Wholemovment.
Their journey from homeschooling to collaborators and co-creators continues!
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