Not everyone learns the same; it’s as simple as that. Although fair and equal access to education has been a long time in the making, we have finally reached a turning point for the better over the last few decades.
Inspired by the universal design movement in architecture and product development—which requires public facilities to remove structural barriers for individuals with disabilities to access—educational thought leaders implemented a similar means of modifying the educational landscape so that students with special needs can overcome the obstacles and challenges that previously limited their access.
A set of Principles of Universal Design was established which set standards for accessible learning environments that mirror those of brick and mortar facilities. Developed by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for students to access, participate and progress in the general education curriculum.
There are three guiding principles of UDL in educational practices:
- Multiple means of representation to give learners various ways to acquire information and knowledge;
- Multiple means of expression to provide learners with alternative ways to demonstrate what they know; and
- Multiple means of engagement to channel learners’ interests, challenge them appropriately and motivate them to learn.
These principles include supplementary aids and services to help a student with disabilities be successful in the classroom, including adaptations to the curriculum, instructional materials, instructional delivery and student assessment.
Unique Learning System® successfully embodies each of these principles, offering a reliable resource that assists educators in applying the principles of UDL in their unique and specific classrooms.
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