In 2010, the Department of Education began the process of adopting a philosophy of teaching called Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL enables teachers and students to use a range of strategies, technologies or adjustments at their own discretion to meet learning needs in the classroom and during assessment. It does this by providing options for: Presenting information and content in different ways (the "what" of learning) Differentiating the ways that students can express what they know (the "how" of learning) Stimulating interest and motivation for learning (the "why" of learning)
The previously mentioned strategies, technologies and adjustments are available to all students in the classroom, if required, and are therefore referred to as “universal accommodations” now. Because they are available to all students if required, these are called universal accommodations and they don’t require an SEP or prior approval for provincial assessments. The adoption of UDL means that some students who previously required a special education plan (SEP) will begin to receive accommodations without an SEP.
There are a number of assistive technology programs that can be used to help students with learning disabilities. Some examples include: Text-to-speech software (e.g., Kurzweil) Speech recognition software (e.g., Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Speak Q) Word prediction software (e.g., Word Q) Word processing programs
When universal accommodations alone are not sufficient to provide success for a student, a Special Education Plan – Accommodated (SEP-A) may be deemed necessary. Justifiable accommodations are strategies, technologies or adjustments without which the student would be unable to access the curriculum. The SEP documents justifiable accommodations and prior approval may be required to access them during provincial assessments.
Timing Strategy Setting Extended time Special lighting (more than double) Response Presentation Brailler Braille Evaluation of daily Coloured paper work only Frequent short quizzes in Evaluations of special lieu of exam projects only Large print Oral testing Open book Scribe for tests Read questions aloud Scribe Taped texts Spelling not counted in daily work or test situations
Ensuring teaching staff understands what universal accommodations are Ensuring that teachers know how to provide universal accommodations for students Ensuring that teachers are providing universal accommodations in classrooms through monitoring Supporting teachers struggling with universal accommodations in classrooms through PD opportunities
Consultation with classroom teacher regarding student profile, diagnosis, support strategies and support personnel (if applicable) Assisting with alignment of universal strategies and student profile Assisting with selection, training and/or use of appropriate assistive technology Acting as a consult for troubleshooting and problem solving Intervention with students, if applicable or necessary
Ensure that universal accommodation are available to all students, at any time, when warranted. Being knowledgeable of the various needs of all students in the classroom. Collaborate with the Methods and Resource Teacher. Collaborate with EMP practitioners (S-LP, OT, PT) as required. Collaborate with parents, as necessary Using appropriate supports (i.e. assistive technology) in daily instruction.
Clarify your goals – write down what you want to accomplish, prioritize Be a good listener – allow school personnel to explain their viewpoints, ask for clarification if you did not understand fully Offer new solutions – suggest possible strategies you have heard about or found works for you and your child (especially transition times) Keep the focus – schools have large numbers of students so ensure the time you have is focused on your child. Be involved and committed to your child’s education! Don’t give up!http://www.helpguide.org/mental/learning_disabilities_treatment_help_coping.htm
Meet regularly – as deemed appropriate by all members of the team Maintain an open communication between home and school. When appropriate, acknowledge when things are going well and let the teacher know! When there are concerns, do not generalize – be specific. Stay calm, collected and positive Share important information with school personnelhttp://www.ldav.ca/parents_childrens_advocates.shtml
Seek resources for support and information Parent groups Online support groups Outside tutoring, if necessary and possible Use similar strategies and technologies as those being used at school Provide opportunities for your child to alleviate the frustration that may be present due to difficulties at school – club activities, exercise, breathing and stretching techniques, soothing music Model and foster positive thinking to help foster self-esteem
Talk with your child about their educational needs as well as their strengths. Provide feedback about how your child appears to learn best, such as “You seem to remember better when you see the information as you are listening” Role play ways to handle difficult situations Allow your child to participate in school based meetings, when appropriate
Fairness does not mean that everyone gets the same thing.It means that everyone gets what he or she needs. -Rick Lavoie
Beers and Lewis. (October 2011). Universal Accommodations. PowerPoint Presentation. http://www.cast.org http://www.helpguide.org/mental/learning_ disabilities_treatment_help_coping.htm http://www.ldav.ca/parents_childrens_advoc ates.shtml NB Department of Education. (September 2010). Accommodations and My Child’s Special Education Plan. NB Department of Education. (November 1999). Resource for the Identification and Teaching of Students with Specific Learning Disability.