Using Strength-based Teaching Strategies for 2e/ASD Students

Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development

Campus/Building Maps


Using Strength-based Teaching Strategies for 2e/ASD StudentsSally Reis

Monday, May 20, 2024, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, Lawrence D. McHugh Hall, Room 205

Academically talented students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have the potential to be successful both in their K-12 school experiences as well as later in college, but their rate of post-secondary enrollment and completion lags behind their peers. Limited research exists on strategies to enable these students to achieve academic success in high school and prepare for competitive college and university experiences. This session summarizes a five-year research project on this population, focusing on a range of specific research-based educational strategies and practices. Students identified as 2eASD identified several specific strength-based teaching and support strategies as essential to their academic success. These included identifying their academic talents; interest-based extracurricular activities; specific challenge based honors and advanced classes in areas of interest and strength; opportunities for advanced, interest-based academic experiences; participation in residential programs during high school; strong and positive relationships with teachers and counselors; specific compensation strategies that could be applied to all of these areas; and personalized strategies to help them overcome anxiety while building social connections. These strength-based practices, experiences, and learning strategies can be incorporated into educational planning for current 2eASD students to enable them to succeed academically and transition, if they desire, to competitive colleges and universities. Implications of these findings and suggested directions for future research will also be discussed.

Sally Reis Picture
Sally M. Reis is the Letitia Neag Morgan Chair of Educational Psychology and a Board of Trustees Professor in the Educational Psychology Department of the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut where she also served as Principal Investigator of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. She was a classroom teacher in public education as well as an administrator before beginning her work at the University of Connecticut. She has authored and co-authored more than 250 articles, books, book chapters, and monographs and technical reports, and worked in a research team that has generated over 50 million dollars in grants and contracts in the last few decades. Her research interests are related to talent development in all children as well as special populations of gifted and talented students, including students with learning disabilities, gifted females, and diverse groups of talented students who are often underserved. She is the co-author, with Joseph Renzulli, of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model, the most widely used enrichment and gifted education approach in the world for educating both gifted and talented students and as a way to expand offerings and provide general enrichment to identify talent and potential in students.