American born and educated teacher Lindsey Patti has always been passionate about students with sensory disabilities having equal educational opportunities.
In 2017, eager to advance her career and specialise in this area, Lindsey enrolled in the Master of Disability Studies—Education: Blindness Low Vision at the NextSense Institute (formerly known as the RIDBC Renwick Centre). Since graduating in 2020 she has been able to fulfil that passion, working to enhance the educational experience for her small class of students who are all blind, low vision, and/or deaf or hard of hearing, and have additional disabilities.
— Lindsey Patti, junior primary teacher
‘It's hard to put into words how beneficial the course was to me. It has really changed how I teach, how I look at what the students know and need to know, and how to go about achieving that. It has just changed everything,’ she says.
Working with leaders in the field was an exciting prospect that drew Lindsey to the NextSense Institute.
I had read the work of many of the researchers, so meeting these people I admired was fantastic—getting to learn directly from them was even better.
Since graduating, Lindsey has used the expansive toolkit of knowledge, resources, and insight she gained from her Master's in her role as a junior primary teacher at the Kilparrin Teaching and Assessment School in South Australia.
Lindsey says the Master's has been foundational in ensuring she has the building blocks needed to adapt and adjust activities and processes to ensure the best experience for her students.
‘I learned ways to tactually adapt nearly everything. Our Acknowledgement of Country in the morning consists of feeling the land and the native plants in our garden as well as using wiki sticks to make Indigenous drawings come to life,’ she says.
‘Our classroom curriculum is adapted with large print and high-contrast visuals for students who need it, and it is entirely modified to be tactual or auditory for the other students who may need that instead.’
Lindsey has also been supporting her colleagues by sharing the latest programs and activities that they can leverage in the classroom.
‘Now if a colleague asks me, “My student is ready to go to the next step in their learning. What do I do?", I have the confidence and knowledge to point them in the right direction, whether that is an app on the iPad, activity, or piece of technology.’
Lindsey is looking forward to teaching a whole new class of students in 2022 and eager to continue using, sharing, and building on her skills. She is excited for what her future career holds—and so are we.