CAMBRIDGE, MA – (Dec., 18, 2023)  A new book by TERC researcher Jodi Asbell-Clarke, PhD, MA, MSc,  Reaching and Teaching Neurodivergent Learners in STEM, is now available for educators, administrators, and others with an interest in neurodivergent learners.

Dr. Asbell-Clarke, whose academic background includes a Master of Arts in math, an MSc. in astrophysics, and a Ph.D. in curriculum, teaching, and learning, provides salient stories and practical strategies for educators to use in the classroom. The book empowers educators to embrace the cognitive strengths of neurodivergent learners in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Written for K-12 classroom teachers, special educators, learning specialists, psychologists, and school administrators, the book is available for purchase via Amazon.

“In nearly every classroom I go to, I meet neurodivergent learners who think they are stupid or broken, and they just don’t do well at the game of school,” said Dr. Asbell-Clarke. “Yet, neurodivergent learners are often exactly the creative, systematic, non-conforming, and persistent problem solvers we need in our future STEM workforce and in our society. I want to make sure we teach these kids that they are brilliant, not broken.“

The book features illustrations of classroom-designed tools and materials alongside practical strategies to support executive function and emotion in learning. It helps teachers nurture the talents of neurodivergent learners and recognize their unique potential within STEM. The featured stories in the book come directly from Asbell-Clarke’s many years in inclusive classrooms with STEM teachers, along with interviews from many neurodivergent professionals in the field, as part of her work with TERC, a STEM education research and development nonprofit dedicated to inspiring and engaging learners. With action steps in the book, teachers will learn how to embrace the unique skills and potential of the neurodivergent learners in their classroom, working against historical marginalization and deficit-based neurodiversity perspectives within the education system.

“Dr. Asbell-Clarke’s research is groundbreaking and has the ability to change the very nature of STEM education and the lives of learners,” said Laurie Brennan, president, TERC. “There are few individuals who have her passion and the depth of knowledge in neurodivergent STEM learning; the book breaks it down into easy-to-implement steps for today’s busy educators.” 

The book also explores the many opportunities neurodiversity presents to build an innovative workforce grounded in a large body of research from psychology, neuroscience, and education. Dr. Asbell-Clarke presents individual examples of neurodivergent journeys in STEM to establish evidence-based connections between neurodiversity and the types of innovative problem-solving skills needed in today’s workforce. 

About Dr. Asbell-Clarke

Dr. Asbell-Clarke is an educational researcher focusing on game-based learning, computational thinking, and neurodiversity in K-12. Dr. Asbell-Clarke’s academic background includes an MA in math, an M.Sc. in astrophysics, and a Ph.D. in curriculum, teaching, and learning.

Early in her career, she was an onboard software verification analyst for IBM during the first 25 missions of the space shuttle and later taught Physics and Astrophysics at the laboratory school at the University of Illinois. She has led national and international STEM education projects involving curriculum development, professional development of teachers, and educational research. In 2009, she co-founded the Educational Gaming Environments group (EdGE) at TERC to study game-based learning. She is now a co-founder of NDinSTEM at TERC to focus on innovative pedagogies that foster inclusive STEM education.