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Neurodiversity 5 & 6 P


Notes and reflections from Part 5: Designing routines and environments to support inclusive practices


Consider the times when students seem to struggle to follow your instructions, or to keep up with schedule of activities in a school day.

Designing environments in consideration of students’ physical and sensory needs 

Responding to sensory processing needs

Take some time in your classroom. Walk around, sit in different places, and consider the different sensory experiences. Think about how students who may have sensory hyper- or hypo-sensitivities may experience the classroom space.

Class Profile Activity: Implement supports and strategies 

For this activity, we want you to experiment with designing and implementing one of the support strategies you have identified in your Class Profile. In line with the focus for this part, this might be creating and teaching a routine or schedule, or a set of expectations for the class, or it might be something based on sensory supports for students, such as making headphones available for all students, or creating a quiet space in the classroom. Review the strategies you have listed in your Class Profile and select something that interests you and seems manageable.  

You might like to think about the principles of UDL discussed in Part 4, and keep these in mind as you further design and implement the support strategy you have chosen. Reflect upon the following questions (choose either those related to teaching routines and expectations or those related to introducing sensory supports) to help you plan how to present this support to students.  

Teaching classroom routines and expectations: 

Options for engagement: How can you promote engagement with the routine or expectations? For example, will you incorporate students’ interests, or making the routine manipulable through the use of Velcro?  

Options for representation (input): How will you represent the routine / expectations through multiple means of representation? 

Options for action/expression (output): Are there different ways in which students can demonstrate following the routine or expectations? For example, will students be permitted to move outside to take a movement break during mat-time so that they don’t disturb the rest of the group? 

Introducing sensory supports:  

Options for engagement: How will you make this support accessible and attractive in presenting it to students in ways that are likely to enhance positive emotions and attitudes and aid self-regulation? For example, will you use the quiet area yourself? How can you connect this area to student interests? What name will you give it to make it attractive to students? And how will you scaffold students to use the support at first? 

Options for representation (input): What multiple ways of presenting information about the support to students, and reminding students of the availability of the support (visual, verbal, or perhaps tactile/experiential) can you use? 

 Options for action/expression (output): How might the support permit students to offer a range of responses (actions and expressions) in return? For example, will students be able to use the quiet area whenever they like? How will this impact on the way they demonstrate their learning? 

Teaching the class routine / expectations / introducing sensory supports (choose one) 
Options for Engagement Options for Representation/Input Options for Action and Expression/Output

Notes and reflections from Part 6: Supporting executive functioning

Introduction to executive function

Think about your own students. Sometimes it can be easy to attribute certain behaviours like poor self-management or being off-task to laziness or a lack of self-discipline, when in fact they are due to under-developed executive functioning skills.

Supporting executive functioning

The importance of explicit expectations, instructions, and teaching

Supporting social skills

Class Profile Activity

Considering elements of UDL, plan to explicitly teach and practice an executive function skill with your class as part of an upcoming lesson or activity. This should be something you identified and wrote on the strategies section of your Class Profile as you worked through this part. Again, draw on UDL principles to ensure that the activity can be accessed by all students.  

For example, if you chose to try Simon Says to practice working memory and inhibition, you might think about:  

Options for engagement: Renaming ‘Simon’ to ‘Ironman’ to align with students’ interests in superheroes. Making up names for actions that appeal to children’s interests and choosing movements to match (and for children to remember). For example, what could we do for ‘dazzle them with a laserbeam?’  

Options for representation / input: Being sure to show children the action, name the action, and hold up a visual card. Having one student act as a prompt for another by offering the action for them to copy. 

Options for expression / output: Allowing students to both call out the action as well as perform it, or allowing children to hold up the visual. 

Options for Engagement Options for Representation/Input Options for Action and Expression/Output  
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