The Federation for Children
with Special Needs
advocates for quality education, parent
participation and access to quality
health care services for all children,
especially those with disabilities.
Who We Are …
The Parent Training and Information
Center (PTIC), provides free information,
support, technical assistance and affordable
workshops to families who have children with
disabilities and the professionals who work
Different Learning Styles
•Group and Cooperative Learning
Supporting Learners in the
•Social/Emotional - PBIS
•Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
“Know Thyself “
"There are many different
patterns of learning, and the best
thing that a parent can do is step
back and observe what seems to
be happening and what seems to
be working with their child. We
are all uniquely made and each of
us have a preference of how we
- All Kinds of Minds.org
How Do Today’s Students Learn?
Science has given us new discoveries about the brain
and learning, while our best schools and teachers are
showing us how to energize, engage, inspire, and
What We’ve Learned
•The human brain physically changes when we learn.
•Student beliefs influence how they learn.
•Everything matters when it comes to learning.
•Learning should reflect real life.
- The New England Secondary School Consortium
Different Ways to Learn
Because every student has a unique profile of abilities,
strengths, learning styles, and previous experience,
educators are advised to "respect diverse talents and
ways of learning." (Chickering and Gamson, 1987)
Students differ in the ways they:
perceive and comprehend information;
are able to express their learning;
are engaged or motivated to learn.
Perceiving Information - Our Five Senses
The outside world shapes
through experiences that
they have, which include
using their five senses—
At every moment of our day,
at least one of our senses is
hard at work, supplying our
brain with information to
make decisions, be safe, enjoy
ourselves and become smarter.
You learn by watching, reading or seeing pictures. You
understand and remember things by sight.
Visual Learners are wired to:
Think in pictures
See the whole environment
Observe body language
Like illustrated books
Color code things
VISUAL Learners – Parent Tips
• Your child may need to see things, not just
hear things to learn
• Help your child visualize things being heard
or read (use highlighters)
• Make charts, maps, pictures and flashcards
to organize and remember information
• Ask child to visualize or picture words or
concepts in their head
You learn by hearing and listening. You understand and
remember things you have heard.
Auditory Leaners are wired to:
Store information by the way it sounds
Have an easier time understanding spoken instructions
Problem solve by talking it through
Listen to learn
Remember people’s names
AUDITORY Learners – Parent Tips
• Encourage your child to tell a story to demonstrate
their point of view
• Read stories, assignments, or directions out loud
• Put information studied into music/rap that your
• Record student spelling out words and then listen
to the recording
You learn by touching and doing. You understand and
remember things through physical movement. You are a
"hands-on" learner who prefers to touch, move, build, or
draw what you learn.
Tactile Learners are wired to:
Learn better when some type of physical activity is
Tap a pencil, shake their foot, or hold on to something
Use a computer to reinforce learning through the
sense of touch
TACTILE Learners – Parent Tips
• Provide opportunity for extra curricula activities:
sports, dance, acting
• Go out in the environment- Field trips
• Allow frequent breaks during reading
or studying periods
• Create and perform skits
• Use physically expressed forms of encouragement,
such as a pat on the back
NOTE: Learning through feeling such as a sense of body position,
muscle movement and weight is called kinesthetic learning.
Different Methods of Learning
Most people learn using a combination of learning
styles and methods.
Average amount of information that is retained
through a particular learning method:
Lecture = 5%
Reading = 10%
Audiovisual = 20%
Demonstration = 30%
Discussion Group = 50%
Practice by doing = 75%
Teach others / immediate use of learning = 90%
In 1983, Howard Gardner
proposed that there are several
different types of intelligences, or
Interpersonal (People Smart) –
Learn through relating to others by sharing, comparing,
and cooperating. [Examples: group leaders and team players]
Intrapersonal (Self Smart) –
Learn best by working alone and setting individual goals.
[Examples: independent and organized students]
WHAT IS IT? - Small Group Learning
Cooperative learning is a successful teaching
strategy in which small teams, each with students of
different levels of ability, use a variety of learning
activities to improve their understanding of a subject.
Each member of a team is responsible not only for
learning what is taught but also for helping
teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of
How can schools support
different learners in the
Models of Interventions
Approaches to Teaching and Learning
Academic and Non-Academic
Curriculum – Tiered
Social Rules, Supports,
System of Support
Flexible Tiered instruction
a robust and responsive educational environment that
provides students with a continuum of multiple supports to meet their
needs. The tiers represent increasing intensity of academic and non-
academic support and interventions
Tier 1 - ALL students to receive consistent, research-based, high-
quality instruction in a chosen subject, coupled with ongoing
monitoring to spot emerging problems.
Tier 2 - SOME portion of students - often estimated at 20 to 30
percent - need additional supports.
Tier 3 – a FEW students who continue to struggle receive more-
intensive interventions and potential evaluation for special
Social/Emotional Support in the
Developing students’ social and emotional competencies -
• recognize and manage their emotions,
• demonstrate caring and concern for others,
• establish positive relationships,
• make responsible decisions, and
• constructively handle challenging social situations
helps schools create safe learning environments that contribute to
academic achievement for all.
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a
proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and
social culture and needed for all students in a school to achieve
social, emotional and academic success.
UDL – A Teaching Strategy to Support
all Learners in the Classroom
• Address learner variability
• Based on scientific insights into how humans learn
• Builds on students’ strengths
Universal Design for Learning
is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all
individuals equal opportunities to learn.
UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals,
methods, materials, and assessments that work for
everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather
flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted
for individual needs.
A Framework for Learning
UDL= Universal Design for Learning
Three primary brain networks come into play:
1. The WHAT of Learning – Recognition Network
(How we gather facts and categorize what we see, hear and
2. The HOW of Learning – Strategic Network
(How we plan and perform tasks, express our ideas)
3. The WHY of Learning – Affective Network
(How we engage and stay motivated, challenged, excited or
Provide Multiple Means of
(the WHAT of Learning)
All students have different ways of approaching content.
Learning occurs best when multiple representations are used –
allow students to make connections within, as well as between,
Present information and content in different ways:
•Make sure videos have captions
•Clarify difficult vocabulary
•Show concepts in lots of different ways
•Highlight important ideas
GOAL – to become resourceful and knowledgeable Learners
Provide Multiple Means of
ACTION & EXPRESSION
(the HOW of Learning)
Learners differ in the ways that they can navigate a learning environment
and express what they know. Some may be able to express themselves
well in written text but not speech, and vice versa. Action and expression
require a great deal of strategy, practice, and organization.
Differentiate the ways that students can express what they know
•Provide multiple tools
•Help learners use Assistive Technology (AT) when necessary
•Allow written or verbal responses
•Provide time for learners to practice and explore
•Provide planning supports like graphic organizers
•Help learners set goals
GOAL – to become strategic, goal-oriented learners
Provide Multiple Means of
(the WHY of Learning)
Learners differ in the ways in which they can be engaged or
motivated to learn. Some learners might like to work alone, while
others prefer to work with their peers.
Stimulate interest and motivation for learning
•Allow for choice
•Make learning relevant to the learner's life
•Provide safe and comfortable environments
•Include ways to learn with peers
•Build coping skills and strategies
•Help learners reflect on their learning
GOAL – to become purposeful, motivated learners
“Differentiated instruction”—the process of identifying
students’ individual learning strengths, needs, and interests
and adapting lessons to match them.
Teachers may vary their approach to the same material with
different students in the same classroom and assignments
can be structured to help students of different ability and
interest levels meet the same goals.
A teacher may allow an introverted student to write an essay
on a historical topic while a more outgoing student gives an
oral presentation on the same subject.
Accommodation Plan (DCAP)
… to assist the regular classroom teacher in analyzing and
accommodating diverse learning styles of all children in the
regular classroom and in providing appropriate services and
support within the regular education program …
M.G.L.c. 71, Section 38Q1/2
Ask for Help
Identify your child’s learning style
Talk with your child’s teachers
Look into accommodations/assistive technology
Help student to self-advocate
Explore the world – learning is contagious!
Families are Important!
The ongoing and meaningful
involvement of families
increases student success.
Effective family engagement is a shared responsibility of
families, schools and communities for student learning and
achievement; it is continuous from birth to young adulthood; and
it occurs across multiple setting where children learn.
National Center on Universal Design for Learning
Center for Applied Special Technology - CAST
Massachusetts Tiered System of Support - MTTS
Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning/US Dept. of Education
Family and Community Engagement
Federation for Children with Special Needs – FCSN
Contact our Call Center
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How Can We Help You?
INFORMING, EDUCATING, EMPOWERING FAMILIES
617-236-7210 | www.fcsn.org | email@example.com
Thank you for coming!
Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC) and The Link Center
are supported in part by grants from
the U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Special Education Programs,
the Rehabilitation Services Administration and
the MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education