Another instructor and I were talking just yesterday about accommodations, and, as a new faculty, she was overwhelmed with the number of accommodations her students have. We both teach cohort classes with autistic students, so we do get quite a few accommodations.
I learned a long time ago that if I set up my classes using Universal Design for Learning, most accommodations were already covered. Copies of PowerPoints? Check! Clear, direct instructions? Check! Give notice before calling on in class? Check! (I only ever call on a student who raises their hand, and allow participation in many different forms during class discussions, etc.) Provide additional structure for group projects? Check, they are all structured! Assign group project members? Check – this one took some thinking, because I don’t want to not allow students to choose group partners either. I found a terrific UDL way to do it, though! I’m betting that others have some creative ways to include all students in their pedagogy also – what are your best ideas? Please share – we can all benefit!
Hi, Sara. I live near you in a school district that you would THINK would have this area covered, but I can tell you it has been the greatest struggle in my son’s life to get appropriate accommodations in his high school. The concept of meeting students where they are and being flexible in the demonstration of learning runs smack into teacher inflexibility (and at the core, a lack of professional development time.) The lower grades do such a better job, and then I do believe, it appears everyone forgets that autistic kids become teens. The high school expects that autistic students will self-select into “less-rigorous” courses, and so have never provided teacher training for upper level, honors, and AP class teachers.
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