What should educators consider when thinking about access to the general education curriculum for students with disabilities?

Question: What should educators consider when thinking about access to the general education curriculum for students with disabilities?

Answer: My third piece of advice is that if meeting a student’s needs means teaching below grade-level content, be prepared to defend that decision. Schools often misinterpret the access mandate as requiring students with disabilities to receive grade-level content instruction in an inclusive setting. Your argument to correct such a misunderstanding should include these points.

  1. Research illustrates that neither location nor exposure is synonymous with access.
  2. Access cannot be assumed even when inclusive instruction reflects state of the art accommodations or support.
  3. Only evidence of adequate student outcomes demonstrates that access to the curriculum has been accomplished.
  4. And achieving meaningful access for very low-performing students, such as students with learning disabilities, often requires a combination of instruction on grade-level curriculum and below grade-level foundational skills.

All this argues for a definition of access to the general education curriculum based on empirical evidence of adequate learning regardless of the setting in which or the instructional methods by which that learning is achieved. And progress monitoring data can help you provide such evidence. 

This is the third video in a four-part video series from Dr. Lynn Fuchs.  View the firstsecond, and fourth videos.  

Developed By: 
National Center on Intensive Intervention