Kevin Spencer has more academic and professional experience and connections in the broad area of disabilities than anyone I have known in my 35 years in this field. He is such a humble and unassuming individual – you cannot imagine the depths of his knowledge, skill, and heart until you see him at work. Those who spend their lives struggling with their disability, no matter their capabilities, were pushing the limits of their concentration as well as their motor skills because he brought forth the motivation to do so. As our week together progressed, it was clear to me that he was not only gifted but, indeed, a gift.
It is with great enthusiasm that I share my experience in having Kevin Spencer provide riveting professional development sessions to educational researchers, administrators, teachers and parents. His interdisciplinary approach to designing arts-based curriculum values a holistic philosophy so essential to effective educational experiences that are generalizable for children with disabilities. But the real magic is how he inspires educators to move beyond their preconceptions of instruction and learning and to think creatively when designing effective educational experiences.
Kevin’s method of interacting with the children and young adults was engaging and cheerful. More important than his interactive style, he did not define the children by their ‘disability’ or ‘diagnosis.’ He saw them as individuals with potential. His workshops explored and pushed the limits of that potential. For me, observing his work was inspiring and emotional. It reminded me of why we can be so passionate about assisting people with many kinds of challenges in life. This was a gift that Kevin gave to me.
Kevin is a unique and dedicated individual. I am continuously impressed by his deep understanding of complex theoretical, neurological, social, and development issues. His work with individuals to increase their perceived social and performance self-efficacy…is fascinating. To develop such an inspiring program which goes beyond having individuals ‘enjoy themselves’ requires a sophisticated and highly nuanced understanding of complex issues.
Kevin Spencer offers a genuinely unique way to reach individuals, particularly those at risk. My eyes were opened to new possibilities in teaching. We are so often bound to what we have seen that our imaginations become limited. I appreciate and admire the way that Kevin can move fluidly between the world of academia and the world of wonder in a way that can reach incredibly diverse populations.
Kevin has shown a willingness to share his experience with individuals who most would consider difficult to teach. He has a way of making children respond and excel. He has taken his love for the arts and created a program grounded in evidence-based practices that truly helps individuals at risk. His work is inspiring!