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Spotlight on Literacy: International Day of Education with Brenna

How much do you know about the literacy support offered at DASCH?

Brenna Headshot
Brenna, DASCH’s literacy expert

January 24 marks International Day of Education, and today we’re spotlighting DASCH’s literacy expert, Brenna, a dedicated Specialized Support and Resource Services (SSRS) team member.

Brenna offers a glimpse into her role at DASCH, sharing how it has evolved alongside our growth.

She shares her approach to supporting people in reaching their literacy goals and the heartwarming impact that unfolds when their hard work pays off.

Brenna’s insights provide a valuable reminder into the life-changing work our rockstar staff makes happen every day. 

Q: Tell me about your role at DASCH.

Brenna: My role has grown a lot since I’ve been here. When I first started, I focused a lot on literacy with everybody who went to the day programs.

Everybody had their own individual literacy package if you will; they all had their individual goals. Everybody was doing something different. Some were reading, some were working on printing and writing, and some were doing more numeracy-type things. But since then, it’s grown to become more agency-wide.

Q: What kind of goals are you working towards with people who use DASCH’s services?

Brenna: Popular goals would be increased reading skills. As far as a common goal, there really isn’t one, it’s always very individual. I’ve worked with people on poetry, and I’ve worked with people on email writing—a little bit of everything.


Q: Can you discuss your approach when working with people on their literacy skills?

Brenna: I take a gentle approach. I don’t have a lot of big assessments or use any benchmarks or things like that. I do more observations and that sort of thing on how to place somebody at a certain level of work.

Q: How do people you work with apply their skills in real life?

Brenna: There’s many different ways. I’ve been working with one person for quite a few years, and he’s held down a steady job for quite a number of years now. He’s learned some literacy skills, so he’s more independent when he’s out grocery shopping or just at his job, you know, as far as reading signs and that sort of thing.

Brenna standing at a table pointing at a book while working with someone

There was another person – we’re working on poetry – and he wrote a poem for his girlfriend. Some people I’ve worked with have had special interest projects that they’ve done, too. One person did a project on tigers, and somebody else did one on space. They presented it to a group of people at the office and it was really cool.

Q: When someone at DASCH is interested in working with you, what’s the process to connect?

Brenna: They would put in a referral to the SSRS department, and if it’s anything literacy, then that would be me. I would I meet with the person and figure out what we’re going to do.

Sometimes, I’ve met with people on a weekly basis; sometimes, it’s monthly. Our meetings can be virtual or in-person. I’ve gone to people’s homes and worked with them there. It’s really tailored to what the person wants to do and what they’re comfortable with.

When someone’s learned something that they worked really hard on, that light they get in their eye is pretty exciting.


Q: How does providing personalized communication and literacy skills contribute to DASCH’s mission of building a community of inclusion?

Brenna: A lot of the programming that I do, the focus is on independence. That’s always my goal – how will this help that person gain or maintain independence?

One of the things I like doing is working on idioms, which some people say, “You know, they have autism, they won’t be able to understand that.” But in our society, we use a lot of idioms in everyday language. So, we work on it so they know what that is when they’re out and about.

Q: What do you like most about your role?

Brenna: I like a lot of things about my role. I like the freedom that I get to decide with somebody what we’re going to do and work with them. When someone’s learned something that they worked really hard on, that light they get in their eye is pretty exciting.

Want to keep the spirit of education rolling? Learn more about the wide variety of support SSRS offers!