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Recent NYS legislation mandates that students with disabilities have access to alternate formats of instructional materials at the same time that materials are made available to non-disabled students.

All kids learn in different ways. With more students with disabilities being included in today's classrooms, teachers must vary how they present information, structure student assignments and test comprehension (Schwabb, 2002). Technology can provide curricular materials in alternate formats so that more children can learn. Education Technologies with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) features help to create a learning environment that allows all students to succeed.

By applying this broader design standard, classroom technology is able to be used by all children in more invisible and normalized ways. Students with and without disabilities can benefit from classroom products that incorporate these design principles. Let's consider the benefits of a Sound Field system in a primary classroom:

  • All students clearly hear the speaker in any position from any area of the room
  • Students pay attention and stay on task longer
  • Students with hearing impairments can participate
  • Students stay focused; they do not need to look up at the speaker in order to hear cues
  • Classroom personnel attending after hour workshops report less fatigue and higher interest


Universal Design Resources

The Center for Universal Design
Principles of Universal Design

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
UDL Center at CAst

Research Connections (Fall, 1999)
Universal Design: Ensuring Access to the General Education Curriculum

David H. Rose & Anne Meyer (2002)
Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning


Education Technology and access to a Free and Appropriate Public education (FAPE) for students with disabilities

  • If a classroom technology tool or intervention strategy is working for a student with a disability, continue to use it!
  • If any technology is assisting a student to achieve FAPE; make sure to put it on her IEP as a necessary intervention.




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