Promote classroom inclusion.

Students with physical, behavioral, and learning impairments are included in your class.Promoting inclusion will require you to learn about your students’ needs and create an environment that is prepared to address those needs.Some of your activities may need to be restructured.

Step 1: Understand your students’ needs.

Understand each student one-on-one.Specific disabilities may vary among students who face them in your classroom.To promote an inclusive environment, you need to know which needs exist.No two disabled students are the same.There are different degrees of low vision and complex disabilities on the spectrum.Getting to know the child will help you understand their needs.Not all disabilities may be diagnosed.Sometimes people don’t know that the child is struggling.You may have students with unrecognized disabilities.Don’t think you can cure or defeat disability.Encourage the child to gain skills one step at a time, instead of working with them at their level.

Step 2: The physical environment should be accessible.

If you want to meet the needs of students in your classroom, you need to use the right tools.A physical environment that is off limits to some of your students will make it difficult for them to learn or feel welcome.Students’ needs will affect the tools that are available.Students with vision impairments may need materials.People with speech impairments may benefit from speech synthesizer.Those with hearing loss may need a sign language interpreter.Some students have needs that are not obvious.A preferred learning environment can be created by rooms with soft light and minimal noise.

Step 3: Look at each student in a different way.

Even well-intentioned individuals can end up labeling students with disabilities.Fixating on the things your students can’t do is not the way to go.It is not possible to view disabled students with pity or guilt.You could accidentally send the message that they are less capable or whole.

Step 4: Do not make assumptions.

Mean-spirited assumptions are just one of the hazardous ones to watch out for.Well-intended assumptions can be just as damaging.If one of your students needs help, ask instead of helping.Some students prefer to work on their own.You may be asked to help using an approach that you may not have thought of.

Step 5: You should watch your tongue.

The right attitude can be created with the right language.While avoiding language that is considered derogatory or that focuses on the disability instead of the individual is a general rule, it is possible to use language to affirm the identity of each student.Refer to disabilities in simple language.Instead of saying that someone is crippled by a given disability, it would be better to say that they are a person with that disability.Over-sensitivity can be harmful.Awkwardness over common phrases can make a student feel left out.It is best to ignore them without making a big deal out of them.If you say “see you later” to a blind student, don’t point out the awkwardness of it unless they say they’re upset by it.

Step 6: There is a guide to student behavior.

As an instructor, you have to guide non-disabled students in your classroom as they interact with their disabled peers.Encourage a positive attitude among your classmates.Pay attention to your biases and preconceptions and correct them as soon as possible.Poor behavior you demonstrate will be taught to your students, as you will serve as a role model.Rules for discussion and classroom behavior should be set.Point out the violation and issue an appropriate consequence when someone violates these rules.Follow through regardless of whether or not disabled students are involved or if they are the attacker or the victim.Don’t make rules for disabled students that non-disabled students can break.Be nice in the bud.Make it clear that students need to respect others’ boundaries, that they should intervene if they see a bully, and that victims should be taken seriously.

Step 7: Work with everyone involved.

Other people will be involved in the care and education of the disabled students in your classroom.When addressing students’ needs, work directly with their guardians, counselors, and advisers.Discuss your students’ needs with their parents.They will almost certainly have insight to share with you.Students with disabilities may need therapy from an outside specialist.These specialists can come from another source or work through the school.It is to everyone’s benefit to communicate with such specialists when determining the best way to arrange classroom activities.

Step 8: Icebreakers can be used.

Students can introduce themselves to one another in a non-threatening manner with good icebreaker activities.Students can relate to the similarities they share and appreciate the differences between them more effectively through these activities.For younger students, it’s a good idea to have each student compare and contrast their favorites with others in the group.Everyone should write their favorite color, animal, food and so on.Each student has to sign their name and hand it in.Students are asked to guess which of their peers wrote each answer if they read the answers to the whole group.Groups of three to five should be formed for older students to find similarities with each other.These similarities should be distinctive to encourage discussion.Each student has at least two siblings.Each student is female.This may be an access barrier, so don’t force people to speak or remember long strings of information.Allow people to communicate in other ways.Don’t play games that involve remembering facts about people.

Step 9: New skills need to be scaled down.

Break the new material into smaller pieces and teach the skill step-by-step.Doing so may make it easier to understand.For instance, when teaching a new skill that builds off information or skills that were taught previously, you may need to spend time refreshing your students on those previous skills before introducing the new material.The new material should connect to the information your students already know.

Step 10: There are activities that address each need.

If you want to address the needs of disabled students in your classroom, you need to build some of your lesson plans.For students with speech delays, you may need to talk more while performing various activities and include activities that encourage children to develop their speech skills.If they can’t do it, let them use AAC.If you’re a blind or visually impaired student, you might need to give a description of what everyone is doing during an activity and play games that involve other senses.For students who are hard of hearing, you may need to provide written instructions for each activity.Before introducing new skills and challenges, build routines and wait until students are naturally rested or relaxed.

Step 11: Involve all participants.

Make sure the lessons you teach address all students in your classroom, including those with disabilities and those who don’t.A classroom that only caters to students with disabilities is not truly inclusive.Depending on the situation, you may need to set different standards for each student in your classroom.Involve all students in an activity or lesson when possible, but consider altering the way that lesson must be completed for students whose disabilities would prevent them from completing it in the same way the rest of the class must.You can challenge and encourage students based on their abilities.

Step 12: When needed, modify activities.

The results of each activity should be observed.You should be prepared to make changes on an as needed basis.You should alter activities in ways that make them more effective in order to preserve the integrity of the lesson.To better match students’ abilities, consider reducing the number of items each student must learn or complete during an assignment.It is possible to increase the amount of time students are allowed for a certain learning task.You might need to develop an individual schedule for each student.

Step 13: The method of instruction can be changed.

You may need to change the way you approach evaluation in the classroom.This should be done on an as needed basis.You may need to increase the amount of one-on-one instruction you give to students with learning disabilities.Make sure you are available to other students when they need you.Changing the way that instruction is delivered might be a good idea.Try different aids.Make it easy to find accommodations.If other students are jealous of a student’s use of math tricks, let them use them as well.It may be helpful for students who don’t know they have a disability.Students who struggle with various forms of output may need to express themselves in a different way.Students with speech impairments may need to write a report instead of giving an oral presentation.

Step 14: Help and cooperate.

Students with and without disabilities can work together.The groups of students should be able to help each other.Peer-mentoring programs can be set up with other instructors and school administrators.Older students without disabilities can tutor younger students with disabilities.Older students with disabilities have the chance to mentor younger students.Make sure that all students are benefiting from the program.