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Jonathan Mooney, Health & Wellness Speaker

Jonathan Mooney

    • Dyslexic Writer, Activist and Author of "The Short Bus"
Full Bio
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The Learning Revolution: From Schooling to Learning

The Learning Revolution: From Schooling to Learning

Jonathan Mooney Speaker Biography

Jonathan Mooney is a dyslexic writer and activist who learned to read when he was 12-years-old. He since earned an honors degree in English Literature at Brown University and has written and published two books.

The first, “Learning Outside The Lines” (now in its 14th printing) hit bookshelves when he was 23. Coupled with his most recent book, “The Short Bus,” Jonathan has established himself as one of the foremost leaders in LD/ADHD, disabilities, and alternative education.

Jonathan also founded and is President of Project Eye-To-Eye, a mentoring and advocacy non-profit organization for students with learning differences. Project Eye-To-Eye currently has 20 chapters, in 13 states working with over 3,000 students, parents and educators nation wide.

Jonathan won the prestigious Truman Scholarship for graduate studies in disability studies and social change, and was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.

In 2003, the LD Access Foundation recognized his work for students with disabilities with the Golden Advocacy award. Previous honorees include David Boies, Judith Rodin, former President of The University of Pennsylvania, and former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean.

Jonathan is a highly sought-after speaker and has lectured in 43 states and three countries. He has lectured at: Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, Brown University, the University of Wisconsin School of Education, New York University Medical School’s Grand Rounds, Teachers College Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Vassar College and many other institutions of higher education.

Jonathan also has given keynote addresses at most major national education conferences and speaks frequently to students of all ages.

Jonathan has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, NPR, ABC News, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and numerous other local and regional papers in the cities, states, and countries where Jonathan has traveled.

The Gift: LD/ADHD Reframed

Often students with learning disabilities (LD) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) struggle in traditional school settings. Yet emerging brain research suggests that many students labeled LD/ADHD have gifts for creative and visual thinking that go unrecognized in academic environments. As a result, many bright and gifted labeled students spiral in a devastating pattern of academic failure, learned helplessness, and low self-esteem.

In this presentation, Jonathan tackles this paradox head-on by outlining research that validates LD/ADHD as a set of cognitive gifts. He speaks honestly about the systemic and cultural barriers to normalizing these unique learning styles. Most importantly, Jonathan empowers parents with applicable strategies to build a positive self-understanding in their labeled student.

The Short Bus Stories

In the summer of 2002, Jonathan bought an old short school bus—the kind that transports students in many school districts to special education classes—and converted it into an RV. For four months, he drove 35,000 miles through 45 states to explore disability culture in America. What surprised him was that this journey led him straight to the myth of normalcy.

Jonathan, like many labeled abnormal, spent his life chasing that myth before his trip. But on the Short Bus, he learned that people with disabilities make up a nation-wide movement that actively resists the constraint of normalcy for all of us.

In Jonathan’s presentation entitled “The Short Bus,” he brings to life some of the individuals with disabilities that he encountered on his trip and profiled for his upcoming book The Short Bus.

Jonathan shows how schools, institutions, and public policy enforce normalcy. During “The Short Bus” presentation, Jonathan empowers his audience with ideas of resistance and encourages listeners to create an authentic and deeply human definition of themselves and their exceptional children.

We’re Not Broken: Empowering Labeled Students

“We’re Not Broken” is a powerful presentation that supports parents in celebrating the strengths, gifts and talents of their exceptional child.

Research shows that self-esteem is essential to students’ success. However our culture, schools, and medical community conceptualize people with disabilities as inherently broken and medically defective. To empower students with disabilities, parents can understand disability as a social construct, not a medical condition.

In this presentation, Jonathan tells parents what’s right about their children and instills ideas to change social perceptions. He coaches parents to help teachers and school administrators realize their labeled students’ assets.

Jonathan outlines a four-step strategy that all parents can implement to radically change their child’s educational experience. He helps parents build students’ resiliency, meta-cognition, leadership skills, and self-advocacy. He also explains how asset-based approaches fit into IEP settings, school-to-work transitions, and in building partnerships with schools and other institutions.

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