How Educators Can Help Students With Disabilities Meet High Expectations

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Department of Education data states that a majority of students who are designated as special education—and receive services as such—under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) don’t have true intellectual disabilities. Instead, many are diagnosed with other disabilities that ultimately impact their educational performance.

This data further suggests that with the right supports, a large majority of these students can meet the same academic standards as general education students. Federal legislation requires that all students—including those with significant disabilities—must have access to the general education curriculum, and should be held to the highest standards possible.

Although it may be natural to think that students with significant disabilities should be held to a lower standard, it’s essential for the educational and at-home (family) community to maintain high but achievable expectations. Doing otherwise can affect a student’s self-perception and jeopardize their ability to learn. This includes those with moderate to severe learning disabilities.

How can educators ensure that learners with special needs meet higher expectations?

A great starting point to ensure this, would be to provide learners access to the general education curriculum and offer the support system they need to progress through it. Effective strategies include:

  • Utilizing the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to provide a flexible and learner-centered environment.
  • Using assistive technology.
  • Ensuring appropriate teacher training.


Maintain accountability with Unique Learning System

n2y’s Unique Learning System—an award-winning, online, standards-based curriculum developed for students with special needs—fits neatly into the UDL framework, which calls for presenting content in multiple ways, using a variety of formats and providing multiple means for motivating and engaging students. Unique Learning System offers rigorous materials that are differentiated to give each individual the opportunity to learn and make meaningful progress.

With Unique Learning System, materials are aligned to general education standards for all core subjects at each grade level. The cloud-based and online structure provides the flexibility to use tablets, computers, whiteboards and other technology devices, along with a printable option.

n2y provides comprehensive professional development courses for Unique Learning System. Teachers can participate in an on-site Essentials Course, or complete the online course at their own pace. Advanced on-site and live webinar courses are also available. Teachers who complete the Advanced Course earn certification as a Unique Learning System instructor.

Advancing education, one learner at a time

While progress has been made, much work remains in order to maximize achievement for students with disabilities. The potential for success begins with holding them to the highest standards possible and providing the right supports and teacher training to back up those expectations.

How Educators Can Help Students With Disabilities Meet High Expectations

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