How to Make Accessible and Inclusive Education Materials for Students With and Without Disabilities

Thursday, April 8, 2021 No comments

You've heard me say this many times. Inclusion isn’t a program. It’s the process of including students of all ability levels in our education system to the fullest extent possible. There are dozens of articles and books that cite the research on inclusion, describe the process and practice of inclusion, provide tips for writing inclusive IEPs, and name strategies for facilitating inclusion in the classroom

I've written many times on the types of materials that are widely used in an inclusive classroom such as visual timers, highlighters, color-coded folders, and more. However, one area that I haven't said much about is the text-based educational materials that we use in our daily instruction. After a year of viewing online coursework and hundreds of presentation slides, it's time to talk about providing accessible and inclusive text-based education materials for students with and without disabilities. 


The Need for Accessible and Inclusive Education Materials

Educators know that one of the best ways to convey information is to create interest. We routinely use bright colors, fun fonts, and cute graphics to entice interaction. However, we sometimes use text that is too large, too small, too much, too close together, and not close enough. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE and ADMIRE the creativity of my colleagues. I could spend hours making a slide or worksheet in Canva. For many of our students though, our efforts are misaligned. 

Text-based education materials such as documents and presentations can be visually, as well as cognitively, overwhelming. For this reason, The National Center on Accessible Educational Materials states on its website, “Accessible versions of educational materials may mean the difference between learning barriers and learning opportunities.” Furthermore, a framework known as Universal Design for Learning, encourages instruction that optimizes learning based on what humans need to learn. It highlights the need to clarify language, symbols, as well as think about the display of information for different learners.


5 Tips to Make Your School Holiday Celebrations More Inclusive

Tuesday, December 15, 2020 No comments

It is well known that the month of December is a joyful and festive time in schools across North America. It signals the end of a term, a lengthy winter break, and a time during which many families engage in cultural celebrations. 

In addition to daily lessons, students participate in concerts, pancake breakfasts, as well as arts and crafts activities during this time. December can be exciting for students!

However, school holiday celebrations can also be a source of stress and anxiety. Students with attention issues can find the repetition of concert practice excrutiating. For students who thrive on routines, the change in routine can make the school day difficult to navigate. Students with social anxiety might suffer at the thought of having to participate in a school performance. Unfortunately, some students find school holiday celebrations very challenging.

Therefore, I encourage educators to use the following tips to make holiday school celebrations more inclusive of students with specific social, emotional, physical, and intellectual needs.

10 Powerful Strategies for Teaching Students With Different Ability Levels in Your Classroom

Friday, October 2, 2020 2 comments

55 million were out of school this past spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. School districts and teachers scrambled to get their classes online with as little disruption to their student's education as possible. 

However, despite school district's best efforts, students faced issues with equipment availability, poor Wifi, busy home environments, and declining mental health due to social isolation. 

Even now, with some districts implementing a hybrid model of learning part-time at home and at school there is a struggle to maintain consistency, As a result, our students face many barriers to learning.

So, what will education look like when our students return to their classrooms full time and pre-pandemic learning resumes?

Virtual Accommodations and Modifications

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 No comments

What do a beanbag chair, a living room couch, and a dining room table all have in common? They are just some of the many places where students in the U.S. are attending school this fall. 

The 2020-2021 school year is like no other. Instead of walking to class, many students are now logging in to their laptops and desktop computers to watch their teachers deliver a daily lesson. While some students are thriving online, others are ..........READ MORE HERE.