Students come from many different backgrounds and face myriad challenges. They sometimes need additional scaffolding and materials, but have every desire to succeed. Life skills and social emoional learning, while important for all learners, take on a unique significance for students with special needs.
When thinking about a curriculum to meet their unique needs, engagement is key.
Students With Special Needs Can Achieve A Lot.
High School implemented the Youth Leadership Academy with 46 9-12 grade students with special needs. The program contributed to student growth and faculty development as well. YLA created significant paradigm shifts at the school in the teaching of character education, technology, and core academic subjects like English Language Arts.YLA produced the following results:
75% of students surveyed thought that they were becoming better at expressing their ideas.
68% of students surveyed thought their computer skills had definitely improved.
60% of students surveyed thought they were becoming better writers.
YLA Speaks To Students With Special Needs
Multiple modalities give all learners an opportunity to interact with different materials. The content is geared toward young people's interests and experiences
Full animated videos and broken down clips - teachers can play a full video or go through the video in shorter, easier to digest clips
Writen text for verbal dialogue - each video also plays out the text version of the words to make it easier for students who need visual supports
Short and longer texts for reading comprehension - module materials and Instructor Notes spell out several opions to expand and contract reading passages to meet the needs of learners at different reading levels
Writing Practice - personal journals online or journal questions for offline writing allow students ample writing practice
Discussion topics - break out small groups of students or pairs to talk through topics - students helping students practice engaging with peers