Thomas Armstrong
AUTHOR

Thomas Armstrong

I've been a full-time writer and speaker for thirty-five years, focusing on the diversity of ways in which people learn and grow. I like to read (my favorite writers are James Joyce, Jorge Luis Borges, and David Foster Wallace), do mindfulness meditation, improvise on the piano, cook (Mediterranean diet), and watch art house movies on The Criterion Channel. I also like to travel. In 2015, I went to Machu Picchu, which was a real thrill, and over the past few years I've been in India, Colombia, Mexico, Qatar, and Indonesia. I've been practicing mindfulness meditation now for thirty years, and combining that practice with my education background, I've just written a book called Mindfulness in the Classroom: Strategies for Promoting Concentration, Compassion, and Calm. In the book, I look at the neuroscience of mindfulness, examine ways that teachers can adapt mindfulness practice at different age and grade levels, explore strategies for integrating mindfulness into the regular curriculum, and emphasize the importance (for public school teachers) of presenting mindfulness in a totally secular way to avoid breaching the First Amendment separation of church and state. One of my other passion projects involves the concept of neurodiversity, a view of people with disabilities that emphasizes their diversity (including both challenges and strengths) rather than an exclusive focus on their deficits. My first book on this topic was The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain (DaCapo), where I applied a diversity and strength-based paradigm to five different diversities: ADHD, dyslexia, autism, intellectual disabilities, and emotional and behavioral disorders (I myself have a mood disorder, which I discuss in the book). I describe recent research that has highlighted special strengths in each of these populations. The book also includes practical strategies for maximizing one's strengths and minimizing one's difficulties (which is to me the preferred way to go about things rather than the old tired remediation approach of special education). I also have a follow-up book called Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Succeed in School and Life (ASCD). While The Power of Neurodiversity applies to both adults and children, Neurodiversity in the Classroom is focused on grades K-12, and includes lots of ideas for teaching neurodiverse kids using Universal Design for Learning tools, role models, enhanced social networks, positive career aspirations, environmental modifications, and practical learning strategies that make use of student abilities, talents, gifts, and capabilities. To find out more about these three books or my other fourteen books, you can visit my website: www.institute4learning.com. The site includes articles I've written, video clips, a list of the keynotes and workshops I give to education and parent groups, and a blog where I post material related to learning and human development at all age levels. I hope you visit my website and learn more about my work! You can contact me at: thomas@institute4learning.com.
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