Meet The O’Kelleys

This Wednesday, September 20, on Crucial Conversations about Cognitive Diversity, Maria Kennedy will host the O’Kelley family, known among advocates and members of the twice exceptional community as The O'Kelley Lab because of their innovative work in the field.

Full disclosure, I was lucky enough to have Jordan O’Kelley as a student in an seventh grade humanities class at Bridges Academy. At 13, he helped me redefine the teaching experience by reprioritizing the curriculum, and make our class more effective, by putting fun on top of the to-do list. I still watch a hilarious documentary he made for a lesson on the joys of failure where he tries to teach his mother, the fabulous Harri O’Kelley, how to use the Internet.

Home is where the fun is.

You will get to know more about this extraordinary family, including the magnificent Rachel and the inspiring Macey on the webcast, and maybe the dad, too. What I find most inspiring about them, besides the brilliant humor, is Harri’s unflagging devotion to her children and how the parents and children applied what they learned from their experiences in public and private education into The O’Kelley Lab to share with a wider community.

While in middle school, Jordan applied to the Honors College at the California State University at Los Angeles and was accepted. With the help of Bridges, he skipped high school and went straight to college, majoring in physics. He did this despite “disability” labels such as dysgraphia and autism by finding ingenious workarounds—for example, he compensated for his large handwriting by using an iPad with a program that shrinks his large numbers and letters.



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