Allow students with disabilities to take a wide range of classes at the high school level. Psychology? Modern Dance? German? The catalog of possible options should be open to all.

This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons, and experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and accessible for all learners.

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Flashback Friday: Individualize Standards and Objectives

Posted on January 03, 2014 in Differentiating Instruction, Inclusion

One of the most common misunderstandings of inclusive education is that all learners need to have the same learning targets and outcomes. A teacher told me recently, “What will he do in earth science? He can’t even read!”

This statement suggests that we can’t address literacy goals in a science classroom and maybe even that we should not “bother” teaching a child with such significant learning differences about land forms and earth history. The teacher who shared this statement may not understand that we can not only teach skills this child has on his IEP during earth science (e.g., using his augmentative communication device, reading, following directions), but that we can do so in the context of rich standards-based instruction. Further, by carefully considering this child’s needs and abilities, we can focus on how to teach him the content that others are studying. Some students, in fact, may not be able to “construct a model of the solar system showing accurate positional relationships and relative distances” but that does not meant the content is inappropriate. The response should be, “How can we teach and assess this content for this student?” Can he possibly succeed in learning one part of it such as constructing a model of the solar system with simple manipulatives? Or can he identify some of the planets?

In this clip from the “You’re Going to Love This Kid” DVD and Professional Development Kit, Sheila Danaher, a veteran Chicago Public School teacher and gifted inclusion facilitator, talks about personalizing standards for students with autism.

Comments

  1. From Maria Wong on 5 Jan 2014

    Exactly the idea. But so difficult to ‘construct’ a culture for REAL inclusion that addresses diverse learning styles.
    HK is doing determined job. Still constructing and putting things together before June !

  2. From Elise Hopkins on 26 May 2014

    I love this! It is so true– often, teachers get so overwhelmed by the idea of inclusive classrooms because they feel like the students with special needs won’t be able to keep up with their typically-developing peers. We often forget that they don’t need to keep up in the same way. Providing them with access to the general education curriculum does not necessarily mean that they need to access it in the same way as all of our other students. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting it so well!

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