Welcome to a resource page for Social Integration and Social Vocational Integration teachers.
When supporting student’s with developmental disabilities, teachers can achieve significant progress by proactively managing the learning environment to prevent behavior issues and facilitate learning. However, some students may face challenges in behavior or learning due to deficits in essential skills, such as social interaction abilities with peers. As a result, it is crucial to incorporate explicit skills training in deficit areas as a central component of the curriculum for student’s with developmental disabilities.
Below are common but helpful strategies addressing neurodiverse students.
Implementing visual cues in the classroom, as suggested by Volmer (1995), can greatly enhance the independence of students with developmental disabilities by helping them navigate the physical environment effectively. Visual cues can include boundary markers such as furniture, rugs, and colored tape on the floor, which can represent distinct spaces designated for different functions. Critcut printers work great for this! By utilizing such visual cues, students with developmental disabilities can better orient themselves in the classroom and gain increased independence.
Clear boundaries can provide students with a better understanding of designated areas for specific activities, such as relaxation or studying. However, in reality, classroom spaces often serve multiple purposes. In spaces that serve multiple purposes, you can utilize signs or visual indicators to designate specific uses for the space at a given time. For instance, you could create a sign featuring an image of students enjoying snacks, accompanied by the words “Snack time,” and display it on a table to indicate that snacks will be served soon.
Additionally, make commonly used classroom items such as school supplies and games easily accessible by storing them on shelves or in transparent containers. Consider providing labels for these items using a combination of pictures and words to aid in identification when needed.
Teach students the proper procedures for accessing materials, such as raising their hand, seeking teacher permission, and then retrieving a pencil from the supplies shelf. It’s important to provide clear and consistent instruction on these steps. Additionally, consider posting a daily schedule that is easy to understand and follow, as both neurotypical students and those with developmental disabilities benefit from structure and predictability in their school day. Keep in mind that student’s with special needs may be more sensitive to changes in their daily schedule compared to their peers without disabilities.
When creating the daily schedule, tailor the format to match the skill level of each student to ensure comprehension and ease of use. For a student who is not yet able to read or recognize pictures as representations of objects or events, the schedule can be created using tangible objects that symbolize each scheduled activity.
For example, a wrapped snack bar can represent snack time, and a book can represent circle time when the teacher reads a story to the class. For a student who recognizes pictures but is not yet able to read, the schedule can include pictures to represent each scheduled event. For instance, a picture of the Occupational Therapist can signify a weekly pullout OT session. For a beginning reader, the schedule can combine pictures with corresponding words that describe the events of the day, helping them develop their reading skills. For a fluent reader, a written schedule with words selected at the student‘s reading level can be used to provide a more detailed and comprehensive schedule.
A classroom schedule outlines the day’s events that impact all students in the room. Additionally, teachers can create personalized schedules for students who require extra services or supports. However, it’s important to note that schedules are effective only when they are actively used. Students should review their schedule at the beginning of the school day. As each activity is completed, students can mark it off on their schedule or remove the corresponding picture from the schedule board to indicate completion. In case of unexpected cancellations or changes to the schedule, teachers can help students adjust more easily by sitting down together to review and revise the schedule to reflect the altered plan for the day.
A Practical Guide for Teaching Adults with Learning Difficulties. Québec Ministry of Education – Click here
This document is an adapted version (abridged and modified) of A Practical Guide for the Teaching of Literacy to Adults With Learning Difficulties. It is not always easy to summarize a document, especially when it is made up of fourteen parts that are all equally important. We had to make choices, always striving to respect the spirit of the original document while making it easier to use.
A Guide to Life Skills Education for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities – Click here
Life skills benefit adults with intellectual disabilities the same way they benefit kids of all ability levels in primary school, Ph.D. students, presidential candidates, and retirees. Basically, life skills benefit all of us no matter our level of intellectual ability.