Although people learn and interact with the world in many different ways, learners with disabilities are often categorized into groups with prescribed teaching/learning techniques. Teachers must keep in mind that the learner with disabilities is a person first, and like all learners, is subject to the many influences that can affect learning.
Clearly stated and communicated learning objectives and criteria for assessment are important for all learners. Learners should know what they are expected to learn and how that learning will be measured.
The following instructional approaches are applicable to the Business Education classroom:
* Refer to pre-assessment, student files, score reports from both state and national tests as well as Intervention Team Reports and design instruction that capitalizes on the learner’s strengths.
* Check the learner’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) to align instructional strategies with individual goals and indicators.
* Design lessons for multiple modes of learning.
* Use hands-on activities to convey abstract concepts.
* Use printed materials, including teacher-made handouts, that are either on white paper with bold black ink or color coded according to subject matter.
* Offer information in an outlined, enlarged type, or audio recording.
* Highlight or underline important points in written materials.
* Reinforce lectures, instructions and discussions, with handouts and overheads.
* Restate and rephrase important ideas and concepts; use a student recorder to transcribe them on the board or overhead.
* Make sure learners have a clear line of vision and hear clearly during demonstrations.
* Break instructions down into clear, concise steps and provide them both orally and in writing.
* Permit only one person to talk at a time.
* Allow learners with cognitive disabilities to participate in the early levels of discussion to encourage engagement with the lesson.
* Consult special education resource teachers and therapists about adaptive devices and their proper use.
* Do not rule out any learner’s interest or ability in working with any materials or processes.
* Consider group projects as a way for learners to draw on each other’s abilities.
* Understand audio — assistance technology and other assistive devices. Use them when needed.
* Alter materials, tools, and instruments by securing them to a table; add padding or texturing grips for learners with coordination or strength problems.
* Harness learner energy into productive activities like the distribution and collection of materials.
* Explore successful strategies with the learner, parent, and other teachers.
* Adjust the amount of time to complete an assignment.
* Establish, communicate, and enforce rules of conduct.
* Be aware of a plan with the school nurse for health emergencies.
* Know the crisis intervention plan for learners with a history of violent or destructive behavior.
* Evaluate the physical environment. Can learners move around without jostling each other? Are tables and chairs at appropriate heights? Are learners with visual disabilities and perception problems facing away from the glare of the windows? Are learners with hearing impairments seated near the front of the room where they have a clear view and limited noise distractions? Are materials and tools out of the reach of learners at their seats? Are learners who are easily distracted seated close to the teacher and way from distractions?