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April 2017 | Volume 74 | Number 7
Differences, Not Disabilities
Spencer J. Salend and Catharine R. Whittaker
Teachers who implement Universal Design for Learning are educational architects, creating learning structures that support all students' success.
Dylan is an enthusiastic 3rd grade student who wants to do well in his inclusive classroom. His teachers are concerned about his inconsistent performance, and they note that he's easily distracted and often doesn't follow instructions. When Dylan is able to concentrate, he can compute math facts on grade level, but he finds math word problems challenging. He is polite when interacting with adults, but friendships don't come easily to him.
Like Dylan, all students have learning strengths, challenges, and preferences that affect the way they learn. Recognizing that no two students are alike, effective educators differentiate their practices to accommodate their students' learning differences. One 21st-century framework educators can use to accomplish this goal is Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
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