Specific Learning Disabilities/Severe Emotional Disability

Specific Learning Disabilities/Severe Emotional Disability


Disabled students shall be provided educational opportunities in accordance with federal, state and local mandates. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD), Cognitively Disabled (CD) and Severe Emotional Disability (SED) students shall be provided instruction pursuant to this course of study as is appropriate and as is consistent with their Individualized Education Programs.

Individualizing and personalizing instruction for these students may require adjusting course of study subject objectives or the instructional means and/or materials. The subject objectives for an SLD, CD or SED student may come from this course of study at grade level or from grade levels other than the student's grade level. These students are to be provided appropriate learning experiences to enable them to master course of study and IEP objectives at appropriate levels. Students identified as Multiple Disabled (MD) will generally follow a functional curriculum.

While these students have diverse needs as stated on their Individualized Education Programs, these needs can be addressed with proper planning through this course of study. Administrators, specialists and the classroom teachers should be aware of all accommodations, modifications and short-term and long-term goals of the student. The classroom teacher should have access to all pertinent information. If needed, conference times should be made available by the administration to allow the classroom teacher and special education teacher to implement ways of meeting students' goals and objectives.


Included in the producing portion of the subject objectives are activities designated as "enrichment." The enrichment activities are presented for the purpose of accommodating individual differences, motivating and challenging the keenly interested student and maintaining that interest. These activities may be used for the learner who desires to explore more fully a particular concept or focus area.

Following are suggested ways in which the fine arts teacher may encourage the talented student on an independent basis:

1.Inform parents of the student's exceptional talent.

2.Inform and encourage the classroom teacher to make use of this student's exceptional talents whenever possible.

3.Provide additional performance opportunities.

4.Encourage participation in community theater groups, clubs and other fine arts organizations.

5.Inform students of available camps and workshops that focus on fine arts.

6.Encourage private study.

7.Provide computer-assisted instructions in dance, drama/theatre, music or visual art theory when possible.

8.Encourage participation in local and state contests.

9.Correlate fine arts talented and gifted programs with district talented and gifted programs.

10.Encourage attendance of cultural events.

11.Assist district gifted coordinators and/or teachers in the annual identification of students who are talented in the fine arts.

Ways to Assist Students to Access the General Curriculum/Education

All students are guaranteed the opportunity to participate in the general curriculum and general education activities in order to have exposure to typical learning, as well as to meet individual goals and objectives. In addition, students are guaranteed an education in the "least restrictive environment." Many times, however, it is necessary to explore ways to adapt the environment, opportunities and materials to allow students to learn. These adaptations take on a variety of forms.


Adaptations are based on the particular student's strengths and challenges. This is the broad category that includes changes made to:

• the environment

• the curriculum

• the instruction

• assessment practices

Adaptations include accommodations and modifications


Supports or changes that help a student access and demonstrate learning.

These do not substantially change:

•instructional level


•performance criteria

The changes allow a student equal access to learning and equal opportunity to demonstrate knowledge.

Examples of accommodations include:

•placement close to the front of the room to help a student with visual difficulties to better see the board

•use of an amplification system to help a student with a hearing impairment to better understand the teacher's instruction

•allowing a student who has motor impairment to verbally give answers to a test that others take in a written format

•allowing a medically fragile student to gain instruction via the internet or teleconference instead of sitting in the classroom


Significant changes in what a student is expected to learn and to demonstrate. This may result in significant change in the types of support the student receives as well as changes in:

•instructional level


•performance criteria

These changes are based on the student's strengths and challenges and are made in order to provide the student with meaningful and productive:

•learning experiences



Examples of modifications include:

•providing 1-on-1 instruction to a student that has difficulty attending to instruction in large groups

•allowing a student to be responsible for only identifying the states, instead of states and capitals

•allowing a student to use a calculator to solve math problems

Curriculum Modifications and Adaptations - Nine Ways to Adapt

1. Size: Reduce the number of items that the learner is expected to complete or learn.

2. Time: Change the amount of time allowed for learning, testing, task completion. Allow for breaks during this time, as well.

3. Level of Support: Increase the amount of personal assistance for the learner by using peer buddies, assistants, tutors, etc.

4. Input: Provide a variety of ways that instruction is delivered by the use of visual supports, hands-on learning, small group lessons, concrete examples, computers/internet, music, etc.

5. Difficulty: Adapt the skill level, problem type or the rules on how the learner may approach the required work by the use of a calculator, "open book" or simplify task directions.

6. Output: Modify how the student may respond to instruction or produce information by the use of computers or keyboards, verbal response, use of hands-on materials, answer specific questions vs. open-ended essay questions, etc.

7. Participation: Adapt the extent to which a student may be involved in the task/lesson by allowing the student to use his strengths and interests. For example: The student may type the answers that the group tells him to type, the student may glue what the other students cut out, the student may pass out the books and pick classmates to answer questions.

8. Alternate Goals: Change the expected outcome or goal for the student using the same materials or curriculum as other students. For example: The student will only copy the spelling words, while others will spell from memory, the student will match state names to the map while others will locate state capitals, the student will participate in science by building the DNA model while others build the model, label and answer questions.

9. Substitute Curriculum: Provide different instruction, materials and goals for a student. For example: A student may learn computer/keyboarding skills while others are taking a language test, a student may cut out food items from a magazine and create a picture book of favorite foods while others are writing a creative story, a student will create his personal schedule for the day while others are doing group circle or calendar time.


These forms and related information are accommodations and modifications to address current teaching methods.

Differentiation Strategies: Accommodations for Regular/Special Education Classes

It is necessary that accommodations be made in your classroom for students because P.L. 94-142 provides that…"All handicapped students, including those in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not handicapped, and that special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of handicapped children from the regular education environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the handicap is such that an education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily."

A. Adapting the Presentation of the Material

1. Break assignment into segments of shorter tasks

2. When content mastery is questionable, investigate the use of concrete concepts BEFORE teaching abstract

3. Relate information to students' experiential base

4. Reduce the number of concepts introduced at any one time

5. Provide student with an overview of the lesson BEFORE beginning the lesson (Tell student what student should expect to learn and why)

6. Monitor the level of language you use to communicate ideas (Are you using vocabulary and complex sentence structure that are too advanced?)

7. Schedule frequent, short conferences with student to check for comprehension

8. Provide consistent review of any lesson BEFORE introducing new information

9. Allow student to obtain and retain information utilizing: cassette/tape recorders, typewriters, interviews/oral reports, projects, calculators, dictation, computers.

10. Highlight important concepts to be learned in text or material (color code key points; outline; study guides)

11. Space practice and drill sessions over time

12. Monitor the rate in which you present material (Do you talk too fast or give too much material at one time?)