Educational toy company Click-A-Brick says the opening of the STEM3 Academy in Los Angeles last month fills a void in the education system by giving students with autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, developmental delays, abuse and emotional problems a chance to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills in an environment that will cater to their unique ways of learning.
According to the STEM3 Academy’s website, approximately 20 percent of the population has a social or learning difference such as dyslexia, ADHD or autism while as many as 85 percent of adults with these learning challenges are either underemployed or unemployed. The academy’s site also says 8.65 million STEM jobs are slated to be available by 2018. Plus, there has been a 28 percent increase in the number of students with disabilities enrolled in undergraduate STEM fields.
STEM3 Academy’s goal is to make it easier for students with learning challenges to study STEM-related subjects by tailoring classes to their individual needs. It is run by The Help Group, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit dedicated to serving children, adolescents and young adults with special needs and it is designed to prepare students for careers in engineering, technology, cyber-security, biomedical, programing and IT.
Retailers of educational toys, the Click-A-Brick team says the STEM3 Academy’s approach to teaching STEM skills and making sure these students have a fair shot at the myriad of STEM-related jobs that are set to be available in the near future is a step in the right direction and fills a void in the educational landscape.
“We believe every child should have a fair shot at getting into a STEM-related field when they’re older,” Click-A-Brick Co-Founder Jason Smith said. “Some kids have special requirements for learning and the STEM3 Academy addresses those needs while also giving these kids a legitimate shot at having a career in the highly lucrative STEM fields in the future. We’re obviously big proponents of children learning the STEM skills and we don’t think having a learning disability should stand in the way of these kids developing these skills and getting the same job opportunities as everyone else.”
The Click-A-Brick team say they recommend starting students off early in the STEM fields with quality educational toys, including building blocks, which stimulate interest in building and stimulate creativity.
“What the STEM3 Academy is doing for high school students with special learning needs is great, but interest in STEM fields can never be kickstarted soon enough,” Click-A-Brick Co-Founder and Brand Manager Georg de Gorostiza said. “The more a child is exposed to quality toys that promote learning in these fields, the better off their development will be and the more chance they will develop an interest in these important fields.”
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