Top 3 Ways to Differentiate for Inclusion

Differentiation is certainly a hot topic in education these days and as Special Educators we know a thing or two about differentiating for our student's to succeed.

Today I want to focus on how we can differentiate for our students during their inclusion times. This year, all of my students are included for PE and Science specials on campus. We attend our specials with another 1st grade class. Having ALL of my students included at once has made me a pro at differentiating this year!

I want to start off sharing some things that inclusion is NOT and explain why these things are important.

  • Inclusion is NOT having all of our students with special needs sit at a table to the side of the class with a paraprofessional. Inclusion is just that, our students need to be included with their typical peers. When my students are in their inclusion classroom, they are spread among the other students in the class.
  • Inclusion is NOT having our students with special needs work on different material than their typical peers. I am not saying that our students need to do EVERYTHING that their typical peers are doing, but they need to be working on the same content. That is where our super powers for differentiation come in handy!

So, without further ado, here are my top 3 ways to differentiate for inclusion.

1. Adapted Materials
If you're anything like me, you're constantly adapting materials for use in your classroom. Have a skill that students need to know, make a hands on adapted version that they can use in the classroom. It's something I do often and it helps my students be successful with the skills they are learning in the classroom.

2. Providing Visual Directions
Ok, so your students are in inclusion and can work on some of the materials their teachers have assigned. That's awesome! But some of our students aren't always sure of the sequence of events for work completion. I love using visual supports to help my students complete tasks in their inclusion class. I have a group that is able to read basic words this year, so I just jot down the steps on a post it next to their desk. You could easily use icons to sequence directions for your students as well!

3. Alternative Response
So students are working on worksheets in their inclusion classroom where they have to draw pictures and write sentences. My students may not be able to complete that amount of fine motor work. Instead, I like to use alternative response for things like this in their inclusion classroom. I will take the worksheets they are completing in their classroom and add some cut and paste elements. This way my students are working on the same materials and skills as their peers, but they are providing their responses in a different way. I used this for a recent activity in my student's science class and it was super successful!

These are the top 3 ways I differentiate for inclusion with my students. What are some of your favorites? Drop a comment and let me know!

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