“You have taught for a few years in a self-contained classroom for students with autism spectrum disorders. As a cornerstone of your educational philosophy, you have encouraged your team to support integrating your students into the general education setting more and more. However, at this point, the other teachers are struggling adapting their teaching practice, and your students are not finding success. You have decided that you need to work with the general education teachers to plan using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework so that your students can be successful in the general education classroom.
You decide to write a proposal to your building principal to require UDL training for all general education teachers. In your proposal, please begin with an informative and persuasive introduction to Universal Design for Learning, potential reasons for curriculum design that would result in struggling students, and the role that UDL should play in the overall instructional process. Please augment your proposal with a rich example of the UDL Framework, using our UDL chapter (p. 199) as a model, and outlining the learning environment that you envision, and the resources, tools, and methods necessary for success. Please be sure to also give some careful discussion to the potential barriers to implementation, and how those would be addressed.”
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that gives all individuals an equal opportunity to learn, and focuses on meeting individuals needs.UDL provides a base for creating instructional goals, assessments, lessons, and material that works for everyone. Universal Design for Learning is helpful in planning instruction for teachers, so they can work to reduce the obstacles and barriers that students with different learning styles and abilities may face. UDL also increases the learning opportunities for all students. This curriculum accounts for the fact that everyone does not learn in the same way. UDL provides differentiated approaches that can be adapted and modified for different individual needs. Using the Universal Design for Learning will be extremely beneficial for special education students that are integrated in a general education classroom as well as general education students who might be struggling in certain subjects. Collaborating with General Education teachers is also important, because UDL is beneficial for all students, not just students with disabilities or struggling learners. General Education teachers may not be able to recognize the barriers that are making students struggle. This is why it is essential that general and special educators work together to successfully implement UDL into classrooms.
UDL with severe ADHD
Students with severe ADHD have difficulties focusing and learning new material. By using a UDL, students with ADHD in a general education classroom will have a more appropriate experience, while learning with their general education peers. UDL provides an accessible opportunity for students with ADHD.
Principles of a UDL
1) Multiple means of representation
The first principle of a UDL includes how information is presented. This includes activating background knowledge, clarifying instruction and vocabulary, mathematical notation and symbols in order to make sure all students understand the content, directions, and material. General education teachers should be able to explain and adapt their lessons in order for all students to effectively understand the lesson.
2) Multiple Means of Action and Expression
The second principle of UDL is how students with ADHD express themselves. Some students with ADHD have trouble communicating their feelings. With the access to a variety of tools, technology, goals, planning, and support, these students will find a comfortable way to communicate. In all classrooms different tools should be available for students to use in order to express themselves. Whether it be a specific way to communicate or a guide to use during a lesson, students should have the appropriate manipulatives available at all times.
3) Multiple Means of Engagement
The third principle of UDL is making sure to acknowledge important areas such as individual choice, relevance, value, and authenticity. Allowing students to participate by choosing among options will spark their interests and allow for teachers to observe what their students are most comfortable with. Some students might have trouble working in a certain way. In this case, if they are given the option, they can work however they feel is most effective.
– Place the student with ADHD away from distractions and close to the teacher
– Make sure that the student understands the material and is staying focused during the lesson
– Provide the student with different accommodations
– Close by teacher
– Minimal distractions
– Lower noise levels
– Music can be used to calm the student down and relax them
– Silly-putty/stress balls can be used to relieve stress during class
– Computers can help students with ADHD focus better because it makes the
instruction visual and will allow students to participate actively
– Use audiovisual materials. For example, using an overhead projector while
students are working at their desks
– Digital storytelling
– Peer tutoring
– Highlight key points
– Reduce the frequency of timed tests: eliminate test anxiety
Check out this promotional video for why UDL should be used in all classrooms!