TULSA, Okla. — Little Light House, near 36th and Yale, launched an online academy to educate adults on how to best work with special needs children.

The academy is a series of online courses created by teachers and therapists. It is completely free and accessible anywhere.

The academy is beneficial to parents who may not understand how to help a child with special needs. This could also help other adults who work in professions like teaching or in the medical field.

Hannah Jimenez, a teacher on the academy’s writing team, explained it is a useful course for anyone to take. The Little Light House recommends it to those who work with children.

“I actually have a master’s degree in special education and this information on vision, I had no idea,” Jimenez said. “I really wish I had taken these courses a long time ago.”

Kids with special needs are at a higher risk for abuse due to not understanding or inability to communicate. The academy helps curb that.

“Many people don’t know how the child is trying to communicate and the adult becomes frustrated then the abuse risk goes up,” Wilson said.

Julie Wilson the Little Light House Academy Coordinator and Trainer explained the academy wants to put an end to that risk.

“Hopefully, we can minimize that risk and people can understand the children better and be able to work with them better,” Wilson said.

The academy wants to impact people from other countries as well.

“We’ve had interns here form Kenya who have gone back to Kenya and started their own school,” Wilson said. “They have two schools there now.”

Within the first week of launching the online courses, the academy has received 69 international visitors. It has also received more than 100 enrollments and 600 visitors from across the United States. The states with the most visitors are Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington.

Little Light House plans to eventually get the courses translated into other languages.

“The intent is also to reach much farther than the borders of Tulsa, to around the world,” Wilson said.

Ann Chinworth, the outreach coordinator said Little Light House Academy is receiving positive feedback from parents.

“We have one parent who is really excited about the vision course. She’s saying, ‘I recognized issues with my child’s vision, but I wasn’t sure what it was. These courses helped me identify that,’” Chinworth said.

The academy currently consists of three courses with a fourth coming at the end of February. They plan to continue making these videos for the foreseeable future.

To enroll in the free online academy, click here.

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