Lesson Planning For Students With Developmental Disabilities

Developmental disabilities are certain mental or physical disabilities that create impairments in a person's learning, language, mobility, self-care and other much-needed areas of living. These disabilities can be either mild or severe. Students suffering from developmental disabilities can show many characteristics, sometimes unusual strengths and sometimes difficulties. Among the usual characteristics are learning slowly, failing to take into account what is being taught, not demonstrating learned skills, not generalizing information, struggling with complex information and having memory deficits. However, students with mild disabilities can learn tasks like reading, writing and mathematics. By the end of high school they can even achieve up to the sixth grade level.

As more and more students with developmental disabilities are being inducted into the general stream, the roles of special education teachers and general education teachers are getting merged. General education teachers are now more involved in planning lessons and materials for disabled students. They are interacting with disabled students in a more meaningful way with help from the special education teachers.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the different students, helping with difficult tasks, breaking down big tasks into smaller parts and providing the students with tools to do the tasks are some of the ways the general education teachers are trying out. More and more disabled students are being allowed to participate in activities that he or she is capable of.

Lesson plans for students suffering from developmental disabilities can be obtained from books, various articles and the internet. Though a variety of books and articles have sample lessons, it is difficult to find the same in the various websites. Disabled students need lesson plans specifically tailored for them. But one can always get a sample from the website and modify it as per the needs.

General education teachers need to modify the curriculum for students with special needs as they respond differently to various factors from the general students. A disabled student can need modifications like graphic and advance organizers, additional practice, instructional scaffolding, more time to complete assignments and alternative media like audiotapes, large-print materials or electronic materials.

The main purpose of special education is to help a disabled student lead a fulfilling and successful life. Lesson plans for such students should be such so as to allow and prepare them to live independently in the society. The lessons need to include many skills and be useful and age-appropriate to the learner.

Students with perceptual, sensory, physical and cognitive disabilities can excel in creative learning opportunities through visual and performing arts. Art, music and dance can help to create a phonological awareness for reading, a playwriting project can help in writing and a theater role can aid in public speaking. Learning of the disabled can be enhanced in other ways also. Students with developmental disabilities would be able to recall facts through the process of restating different stories using visual arts. They can relate various details to the main idea through an artwork. Through activities like folding papers and sharing with others they would learn to sequence events. Visual arts would help the students in dramatizing, written expression and creation of songs.