Joy Westendorf | Online Learning for Teachers pursuing Continuing Education and Professional Development | The Connecting Link


Joy Westendorf

Instructor photo

Hello my name is Joy Westendorf and I have enjoyed teaching courses with The Connecting Link for the past 13 years. I hold a Bachelor of Science, two master's degrees (Teaching and Special Education) and am a National Board Certified Teacher. I find that utilizing best practices, providing active learning, prompt feedback, communicating high expectations, and respecting the unique differences and experiences of every learner positively impacts the overall learning experience in my class.

I enjoy traveling the world and being adventurous! I have been skydiving, enjoy skiing, backpacking and hiking. I enjoy anything that includes the outdoors, watching and playing sports, photography and reading. I absolutely love spending time with my family, three dogs and my nieces and nephews!  

This course is designed to provide K–8 educators, paraprofessionals and/or administrators with a widespread knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Participants will explore historical data and diagnosis statistics, characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders and co-morbid diagnoses.  Additionally, course content will focus on implementation of classroom strategies to meet the diverse learning needs of students on the Autism Spectrum.  Participants will research, analyze and effectively select evidence based strategies appropriate for students with Autism.
This course provides general, special, and paraprofessional K-12 educators with the fundamental concepts and instructional strategies to promote the successful social and academic integration of children with disabilities, and those students at-risk for school failure, in the general education classroom.  Participants will explore the benefits of collaborating with colleagues to design and implement effective instruction to meet the needs of all learners in an inclusive classroom.  A brief history of special education and the federal policies related to the general education teacher and a student’s least restrictive environment, as well as current educational models, used to educate students with disabilities in the general education classroom will be reviewed.
Participants in this course will learn how to build academic success for at-risk students by developing student resilience, designing active learning experiences, motivating underachievers, and fostering social emotional skills. Participants will explore strategies for reaching students of poverty and students with ADHD, and learn how to work effectively with at-risk students and their parents.