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Understanding Alignment and Evidence-Based Strategies for Teaching Students with Moderate-to-Severe Disabilities

Understanding Alignment and Evidence-Based Strategies for Teaching Students with Moderate-to-Severe Disabilities
Bree Jimenez, PhD
January 14, 2016
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Our learning objectives are that you will be able to describe the major elements of universal design for learning, identify specific strategies such as systemic instruction or self-determination to develop instruction that is aligned with standards-based IEP goals and objectives for this population of students with moderate to severe disabilities, and describe how to create  standards-based instructional plans for this group of students who access the curriculum at various levels, including multiple communication modes of responses. 

Strategies to Teach Standards

Let’s start with strategies to teach the standards.  Alignment to the curriculum is multifaceted for all students, and specifically those with extensive support needs (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Strategies to teach the standards.

Universal design for learning (UDL) is something we will talk about more.  We will also discuss student-directed learning outcomes that are important for engaging our students and not just telling them what to think. We want to help them think on their own and gain the skills needed to be college and career ready.  Another strategy is assistive technology and peer supports, as well as the many other supports that align with that.  Systematic instruction is the strategy with an instructional component of not just setting up the environment and having good clear objectives, but is also the teaching part.  How do we set up those objectives and teach in a way that students gain access, participate, show their knowledge and demonstrate the rigorous learning outcomes?  Research to practice strategy is important in that what we are doing is based on what we know works for this population of students and thinking about what we do know.  Generalization is another strategy for students who typically need repeated opportunities, many different opportunities and repeated practice to generalize what they are learning in the classroom to their community. 


bree jimenez

Bree Jimenez, PhD

Bree Jimenez is an assistant professor of special education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Jimenez has worked in the field of low-incidence disability for over 15 years. Dr. Jimenez designs and conducts research in the area of general curriculum access, specifically in adapted literature, mathematics, and inquiry science. She has published a book and written multiple textbooks chapters surrounding general curriculum access, inclusive practices and alternate assessments for students with moderate and severe disabilities, and is a published curriculum writer. Dr. Jimenez has also published 20 peer• reviewed journal articles, surrounding topics in systematic instruction, general curriculum access, inclusive practices, and embedded instruction for students with moderate and severe disabilities. She has spent extensive time working with state departments and alternate assessment consortiums, as well as providing professional development with educators and administrators on alternate assessments nationally.



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