WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — Shannon Treichel is an innovation coach for White Bear Lake Area Schools, and her job is to introduce new ideas to students.

She is a big believer in using technology at home and in the classroom to give kids with special needs a better chance at success.

She also spent 23 years teaching Spanish.

“It all fits together though,” Treichel said. “It’s all the same end goal, working with kids, trying to do what’s best for them.”

In one lesson, she’s helping 9th and 10th graders take apart hardware.

“They get to choose what they want to work on, and these guys are Tech Depot kids so they are working on repairing Chrome Books,” she said.

This lesson the technology might just be disks and drives, but Treichel has seen it transform lives.

“I think as soon as I became a mom I definitely became a different teacher,” she said.

Her daughter, Delaney, has autism. She says technology levels the playing field for her at home and at school.

“She has a lot of fine motor troubles and so being able to do stuff on the computer is easier for her than having to write it out,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just a break and she can sit and zone out and watch an iPad or Chrome Book.”

Whether trying new things home or in the classroom, Treichel says her goal is the same for all her kids.

“My goal for them is to be happy and successful and keep working on and trying different things,” she said.

Treichel has written an article on how technology can help students with special needs thrive both at home and in school.

It includes some of her favorite tools she uses in her classroom.

Kim Johnson

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