To whom it may concern,
It has come to our attention that there has been problems in the general education classroom involving the integration of students with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We believe that by implementing a Universal Design for Learning (UDL), these students, and typically developing students, will benefit most from their educational experiences.
According to Cast, UDL is “a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.” This method of teaching allows every student equal access to the curriculum and provides flexibility for all learners. Through multiple means of representations, expressions, and engagement, all students can learn using methods that support their learning needs best. UDL reduces barriers to learning, so that every child can be successful in the classroom.
It is important for teachers to be equipped and knowledgeable about how to create a Universal Design for Learning. This can be done through holding seminars and workshops that introduce teachers to this design for teaching and also provides them with ways in which they can implement UDL in their classroom. Four areas of focus of these seminars, as found in Maryland Learning Links, would be the goals and purposes of creating a UDL, instructional materials that will be used, instructional methods used by the teacher, and assessments.
A classroom that incorporates the UDL will be barrier free. According to Globalpost, common barriers for students with disabilities found in a general educational classroom include communication deficits, academic challenges, struggles forming relationships, and sensory overloads. Some suggestions of removing these classroom barriers are found in this article. Simple things like reducing and organizing text on a page can aide students in successfully absorbing information from text.
Also, incorporating technology in the classroom can help structure a UDL. The following video demonstrates the power of technology in supporting students with Autism in a general education classroom.
Although some teachers may be hesitant to restructure their curriculum, it is necessary in order to create an inclusive learning environment for every student. With the help of the seminars and workshops, our hope is that teachers become more comfortable with the idea of creating a UDL. One way to alleviate the worries of general education teachers is to encourage co-teaching. This allows general education teachers and special education teachers to work together and combine their expertise to create a differentiated curriculum.
We hope that you will take our proposal into consideration for creating a Universal Design for Learning. We believe that this is necessary for all students to have equal opportunities to excel. Thank you for your time.
Hannah, Jamie, and Macey
This video is to show to parents in order to inform them on the Universal Design for Learning: