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Neurodiversity 5 & 6 S


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.

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 for a particular assignment, 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 make the routine / expectations available online for students to review or even add to? 

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, while respecting the need for the classroom to be quiet, what are acceptable options for those who like more auditory stimulation?) 

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 wear headphones sometimes? Or can you offer imagery of students using headphones? 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, could the introduction of headphone use during class be connected to students creating their own audio files to help them remember key information for a task? 

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 focus class in 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 introduce students to journalling to support them to reflect on the effectiveness of their study strategies and management of classwork, you might think about:  

Options for engagement: Providing students with the choice to use a handwritten, voice note, or digital journal. When offering questions, give students the choice of two questions. Offer students a choice of using their journal at two different points in the lesson (i.e. they may either carry on with what they are doing or break to write or record in their journal).  

Options for representation / input: Offering students prompts and questions to guide their reflection. Offer these verbally, visually, and as an audio file. Create small visuals in the form of icons to remind students to ‘think about’ an aspect of their study strategies, and another icon, ‘challenge’ to remind them to watch out for limiting or negative beliefs, and a third, ‘growth mindset’, to remind students to write a growth-mindset oriented sentence at the end of the reflection. 

Options for expression / output: Students may use writing, drawing, colouring, or collage (by hand or digitally) to communicate their ideas. They can design their own icons for ‘think about’, ‘challenge’, and ‘growth mindset’. 

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