Differentiation and Inclusion

Autism poster

MELS Professional Competency 7: To adapt his or her teaching to the needs and characteristics of students with learning disabilities, social maladjustments or handicaps.

I have a 7 year old son who has severe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and possibly some other Learning Disabilities. My experience with him has made me well aware of the difficulties for teachers and parents first in figuring out what challenges the student is facing and second in finding adequate resources and strategies for that student. Additionally, my heart goes out to any child who has obstacles impeding his/her learning. These challenges impact the entire life of the child and his/her family and are extremely important for teachers to understand.

Often there is no magic answer or tool that will make learning easy for that child. Differentiating for these children must be continuous and creative. If one thing doesn’t work, then we try another, and another, and another. If this is difficult for the teacher, imagine how difficult it is for the child. It is so important to always consider the child’s self-esteem.

I am constantly gathering information and posing questions in my quest to help my own son. I have often felt as though I were collecting the pieces to a puzzle whose final image is a mystery. Some of the pieces I collect may fit the final puzzle and many will not. I will continue to employ this strategy to build up my toolbox of strategies for use with any and all students whom I encounter.