FAQs – How can we make UDL work for….

 Are there any resources for working with young children?

Working with preschoolers can be a challenge! When incorporating UDL into a preschool classroom, considering multiple means of representation, engagement and expression are vital. Here is a “checklist” that can be used to help you incorporate the guiding principles of UDL in a preschool classroom.  The checklist also gives some great ideas if you are stuck!

Additionally, here is a quick summary of UDL in Preschool provided by the local Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) Training and Technical Assistance Center.

I love incorporating songs into academic learning.  The  Have Fun Teaching website has songs for the alphabet, the first 20 sight words, character traits, counting, fitness, science, and shapes.  These are available for free if played directly from the website.  You can also print the lyrics and sing without the background music.  The website also has some videos for letters and sight words.

UDL Connect also provides an opportunity to share ideas.  There is a discussion thread devoted to preschool education. It can be accessed at http://community.udlcenter.org/group/bcps-infants-and-toddlers/page/application-activities.

How can I keep boys engaged in academics?

Boys can be difficult to teach sometimes, and from the UDL perspective, the reason for a lack of engagement is likely related to the affective learning styles.  The solution would be to offer different ways for the boys (and girls) to engage in the material. For example, a teacher might let students solve math problems with pencils and paper, markers and poster-board, or objects to manipulate. Providing a rationale for why the material needs to be learned can also be effective.  For example,  if I were teaching students about proportions, I am likely to set up some real world experiments. In the past, I have encouraged students to catch, tag, and  release fish to estimate the population of the fish in a pond using a proportion.  The same technique could be used with snails or bugs (you paint a dot on the back of each “tagged” animal).

Dig Deeper: Multiple means of engagement ;  Catch and release math

What are some strategies for teaching individuals with intellectual disabilities?

This is a great question, and many books have been written on the subject. Embedding UDL strategies within lessons will benefit students with intellectual disabilities.  Some researchers recommend embedding vocabulary and pictures into lesson plans to continually develop student vocabulary.  Pictures can be drawn by students, staff, parents, a computer program or volunteers. These activities are paired with a systematic prompting strategy that can be implemented by staff, peers, or parents.  Some people believe that embedding the vocabulary and the prompting strategies for individuals with intellectual disabilities constitutes UDL instruction, while others disagree. In the US, there is a growing demand for students with disabilities to participate in academic settings.  It is important to not forget this group of students and to creatively adapt lessons to include them.

Dig Deeper: TEACCH (Video), Constant Time Delay (Video)

What are some strategies for working with students with behavioral challenges?

Two figures are fighting, figure on the left trying to grab the figure on the right, and the figure on the right is pushing the face of the other figure.

Dicks, 2013. Retrieved from http://matthewdicks.com/

All teachers have behavioral challenges, and if they say they don’t have behavioral challenges they are not teaching.   It comes with the territory.  UDL can reduce behavioral challenges.  By giving students multiple means to engage in an activity, multiple means to receive information, and multiple means to express ideas, many behavioral problems will be eliminated because students will be actively engaged in learning.  There are some helpful examples of UDL techniques helping in the kindergarten  classroom, and there is an interesting article from the VDOE’s Training and Technical Assistance Center (T/TAC).

Dig Deeper:  UDL + Classroom management (video from www.cast.org)

Are there any tools or resources specific for students with Autism?

Yes there are!  Entire programs have been developed to assist students with Autism.   The 1st approach uses rigid behavioral structures, and can be described as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and the second approach uses a slightly more flexible version of the structured teaching approach TEACCH.  The two programs share many structures in common and some of the researchers studying the methodologies also encourage the use of UDL.   In general, the programs recommend using an errorless-learning systematic prompting strategy.

Dig Deeper

 Are there any resources for students with ADHD?

Male child with his head in his hand, looking bored.

Posel, 2014, retrieved from http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/06/minorities-undiagnosed-for-adhd-cause-societal-problems-2692810.html

Strategic learning is a key component of UDL, and many strategic strategies were developed for students with ADHD and/or learning disabilities.  Metacognitive strategies teach students a strategic process for solving a problem they will repeatedly encounter.  These strategies are often paired with a visual mnemonic device or alphanumeric mnemonic.   The strategies encourage students to break steps down into smaller more manageable units. You are not limited to using established strategies, you can create and customize strategies for each student.
Here is a link to David Rose discussing the use of UDL with children who have been diagnosed with ADHD: http://udlonline.cast.org/page/module1/l156/

Dig Deeper: COPS StrategyHamburger writing strategyPEMDAS

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