UDL and Its Relationship to Special Education Learners
Universal Design for Learning aids all the children and it is not limited to only those with learning attention issues. This teaching technique provides more than one way for the learners to have access to the same material alongside letting students apply different methods to demonstrate what they understand (Rose & Meyer, 2002). The primary objective of Universal Design for learning is to make use of a variety of teaching methods to remove any hindrances to learning and provide equal opportunities to all the students to achieve success. This teaching approach is not limited to only children with learning and attention issues as it is all about building in flexibility that can be adjusted or tweaked for every strengths and needs of the students. Examples of universal design include automatic doors, closed captions and accessibility features on a smartphones. Such design elements help persons with disabilities together with those who are not disabled but would love to use them.
UDL provides similar kind of flexibility within the learning environment with its main aim being to present the subjects in school to make it possible for all the learners to have access to the information and to provide learners with distinct ways of demonstrating their knowledge.
UDL is based on three major dogmas which include the following;Representation- UDL provides information in more than one single format for instance textbooks are basically visual. However, providing audio, text, video and hands-on learning provides a chance to all the children to access the material in whichever method is ideal for their learning strengths. Action and expression -UDL offers all the children more than one single manner of interaction with the material and to demonstrate what they have learnt (Edyburn, 2005). For instance, the instructors are able to assess the understanding of the kids through the administration of pencil-and paper tests, group projects and oral presentations. Engagement- Universal Design for Learning looks at distinct ways to inspire the learners. Permitting the children to make choices and giving them assignments that feel relevant to their lives are some of the classic instances of how the instructors can sustain the interests of the learners. Other commonly applied strategies include making skill building feel like a game and creating opportunities for the kids to get up and move all around the classroom. This essay responds to the manner in which the instructor can inculcate the Universal Design for Learning while dealing with children of mixed disabilities which include those who are intellectually challenged, emotionally disturbed and others with other health related issues.
Output and displays
This puts into account all the means and methods of presenting information to the user. The teacher in the case study provided has children who have different levels and kinds of disability with some who sleep much during the better part of the day. The use of the output and displays is necessary to ensure that the information is well presented to the children and in a manner that captures their entire attention. this approach ought to maximize the numbers of various persons who can; view the output displays without the triggering a seizure, comprehend the output, not miss out on the various information if they cannot see, see the visual output in clear terms, have a line of sight to visual output and reach printed output, not miss out on the imperative info in the event that they cannot hear and finally hear the auditory output clearly enough (Rose & Meyer, 2002). This component of Universal Design for Learning is crucial to the scenario described in the case study given that the teacher will be able to have the attention of all the children within the classroom environment. The kids who are fond of sleeping for the better part of the day will find it interesting to learn using this method as they will be able to hear sounds and see the pictures therein. What is required of the teacher is to ensure that the systems or the technologies used are stable and should disrupt the attention of the children during the learning exercise such as by abruptly going off.
Furthermore, the children with intellectual disabilities will be able to develop the understanding of the various study aspects using this particular approach since they will be able to reconcile what they see and what they can hear ((Edyburn, 2005). Their intellectual disability can easily be addressed through this technique since with time; their intellectual normalcy will be restored. The emotionally disturbed will also be comfortable with the output and displays technique since they will have all their attention taken away by the various pictures and sounds produced using this techniques and with time their emotions will be taken away hence not affecting their ability to comprehend the various aspects of the subjects being taught. The children who fight will have all their attention taken away by the audio visuals and as such they will neither have time nor remember engaging in fights. In brief, the output and displays approach is critical in ensuring that the teacher gets the attention of all the students since their disabilities make it almost impossible to have their full attention through the normal learning practices. This calls for the need for the teacher to employ techniques that gain full attention and concentration of all the kids to make the learning exercise successful. The video representation of the subject matter content is very crucial in this kind of learning set up with the need for the teacher to be in a position to ensure the full functionality of the systems and achieve maximum attention from the students.
While dealing with children who have disability problems, safety is very critical. This is not subject to any particular form of disability since safety is supposed to be guaranteed at all times to avert incidences of injuries. In the case study provides it is clear that some of the children who are six in number like fighting. This is dangerous given that during the fight they can hit each other with any objects around. It is therefore critical for the instructor to ensure that the teaching environment is free from such lose objects that the children can easily hit each other with while engaging in fights. Such safety measures should include the alarms and other protections from harm.
The Universal Design for Learning should maximize the number of learners who can perceive the hazard warnings and also be able to make use of the product without any injuries resulting from unperceived dangers or the lack of motor control by the user. When safety issues are ignored in a leaning environment that is characterized by the disabled people such as in the described case study, then the children within the environment are likely to report cases of harm resulting from the various activities. This measure is very critical given that we have some learners who are victims of emotional disturbance and hence the need to make sure that there are no dangers within the environment (Rose & Meyer, 2002). This is also to be the case with those children who are prone to fighting at all times. In brief, safety is an integral part of the Universal Design for learning given that it provides an environment that is free from any hazards that might cause injuries to the learners. By extension, this aspect is mandatory since it builds skills within the kids to be able to perceive the various dangerous or hazardous scenarios and be able to find a way of avoiding or sustaining any related injuries. The personal protective gear or equipment should also be provided for to the children while they are engaging in various activities for the purpose of guaranteeing their personal safety. .it is the responsibility of the instructor to put in place all the safety mechanisms to protect the learners based on their disabilities.
Using assistive technology for UDL
There are specific legislations such as the No Child Left behind Act of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004 that encourage the educators to include the student in regular education classrooms (Lancaster, 2011). For the students with significant disabilities to have access to the general curriculum assistive technology is mandatory. Assistive technology is described as any item that can either be made or bought and that which is of great help to the disabled members of the society. It can either be in the form of high tech equipment or device or items of low tech. a classic example of high tech assistive technology would be a computer system and at the same time an example of a low tech assistive tech assistive technology might be a post-it note. These technologies are very critical in the sense that they level the playing field for the people with disabilities and at the same time give them the means of expressing their knowledge.
There are several videos such as Interactive Whiteboard Video Transcript where the children in a classroom with significant cognitive and physical disabilities are making use of the interactive whiteboard. Such a high tech assistive technology device is amazing given that it meets all the 3Ms of UDL at one single time. It is one of the most idea ways of representing both lessons and materials for all the students (Ralabate, 2011). Both those students who are disabled and those who are not are very much engaged while performing tasks on the interactive whiteboard. Furthermore, interactive whiteboard permits the learners many distinct ways to represent what they have learned. The instructor in the case study provided can adopt the use of the assistive technologies to ensure that all the kids are able to engage or interact with each other and also present or demonstrate the information they have learned. Such assistive technology is therefore an indispensable prerequisite for the instructor with such kind of learners. The major objective is to ensure that the learners in this particular case understand what is being taught and they can at the same time be able to demonstrate it in their own particular ways based on how they have understood it.
There are numerous other types of assistive technologies in addition to the whiteboard that can be used for the students. The Universal Design for Learning calls for numerous distinct ways of both teaching and engaging the learners (Howard, 2004). This is well demonstrated in the PowerPoint in the following link which focuses on the assistive technology that can be used for multiple means of engagement, representation and expression of the learning children. Multiple Means of Representation Transcript is a proper demonstration of how an instructor leading a group of disabled students as provided for in the case study can use assistive technology to meet all the teaching and learning objectives (Edyburn, 2005). This approach is particularly critical in ensuring that the teacher has the full attention of the learners and that they also understand what the lesson is all about in addition to putting it in their own ways. The idea here is to have the teacher engage the students constructively and at the same time allow the students engage each other in a similar manner without distorting the learning exercise.
The Universal Design for learning framework offers a flexible and responsive curriculum that minimizes or eliminates all the barriers to learning. by the use of this particular approach, there are curriculum options that present info and content in various different ways, distinguish the manner in which learners can be able to express what they know and engage the students in an authentically meaningful manner. The Universal Design for Learning makes it possible for the students to engage in their own education, learn in details, achieve higher goals and at the same time get motivated to continue learning. Furthermore, the UDL makes it possible for the teachers to teach effectively in diverse classrooms and spend most of their times on instruction facilitating learning instead of retrofitting curriculum.
The bottom line is that UDL makes it possible for the educators to meet the needs of all the learners. The case study provided depicts an environment in which the teacher has children with different forms of disability to the great extent that some of them are homeless; some have intellectual disabilities, emotional disabilities alongside other health related issues. This calls for a proper approach in terms of the application of the UDL tools and techniques by using the assistive technologies within a safe teaching environment as provided for in the text. The overall objective is to get the children be in a position to learn and engage with each other and with the teacher without the limitations of disability that are a great impediment to efficient teaching and learning. The primary goal is for the teacher to be able to have the full attention of the learners something that is difficult to achieve with this postmodern generation that is under the great influence of technology. The UDL presents the novel opportunity for all the disabled learners to access, participate in and at the same time progress in the general education curriculum by getting rid of all the barriers to instruction. It also allows the students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills alongside their engagement in the learning exercise.
Edyburn, D. L. (2005).Universal Design For Learning. Special Education Technology Practice, 7(5), 16-22.
Howard, K. L. (2004). Universal Design For Learning: Meeting The Needs Of All Students. In The Curriculum–Multidisciplinary. Learning &Leading WithTechnology, 31(5), 26-29.
Lancaster, P. (2011). Universal Design For Learning. Colleagues, 3(1), 5.
Ralabate, P. K. (2011). Universal Design For Learning: Meeting The Needs Of All Students. The ASHA Leader, 16(10), 14-17.
Rose, D. H., &Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching Every Student In The Digital Age: Universal Design For Learning. Association ForSupervision And Curriculum Development, 1703 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311-1714 (Product No. 101042: $22.95 ASCD Members; $26.95 Nonmembers).