How Divine Savior Establishes A Sense Of Trust And Connection With Students With Special Needs

A teacher and student performing a crossword puzzel on a SMART board.

#ConnectionsThatMatter: A special thank you to Divine Savior Academy for making this story possible and  sharing related Lumio activities for teachers everywhere to tap into - for free.

How Divine Savior Academy Uses A Multi-Disciplinary, Integrative Approach To Engage Students With Special Needs

Brittany Babler is a special education teacher at The Divine Savior School - the sister school of Divine Savior Academy that serves families for special needs students.

The Divine Savior School was born out of the personal experience and research of the director, Dr. John Althoff, whose third child was diagnosed with Down Syndrome during pregnancy. A search for educational settings that would support his child’s more moderate-to-severe needs led him to pursue the dream of opening a specialized school for this population.

For Brittany, developing a strong connection with students in the special population she serves is the key ingredient to her success. Brittany’s experience has proven that “peering with them, and letting them know that I am their friend, and I'm here to help them learn in whatever capacity that means” is the surest way to gain her students’ trust and buy-in.

Many of Brittany’s students are on the autism spectrum, which often presents with attention and engagement issues in the classroom. Brittany uses a multi-disciplinary, integrative approach to engage special needs students with tools such as Lumio programs and game-based learning that allow her to push her student’s stamina in a way that is approachable and compassionate.

And the results speak for themselves. Brittany’s students meet learning, social, emotional, and physical goals through her holistic approach to special education.

"As I'm learning with Special Ed, it's also about how they interact with each other.  It's about their social needs and having them talk with one another and grow with one another.” -Brittany Babler, special education teacher at The Divine Savior School

Sign up to the #ConnectionsThatMatter newsletter to follow how this story develops and to tap into Lumio activities that support students everywhere. 


This story is part of #ConnectionsThatMatter, a global initiative to highlight the pioneering ways educators are building and strengthening connections that foster learning, including connecting students to real-world problems, investing in social-emotional learning, and building deeper ties between school and home.

As part of this initiative, selected schools share lesson activities and resources that strengthen connections among peers, between educators and students, and between families and the classroom. The lessons are available for free in the Connections that Matter collection within Lumio, named the "best education collaboration software for teachers."