This series of practice briefs highlight six evidence-based, high-leverage practices that research has shown support implementation of high-quality instructional programming for students with and at risk for disabilities regardless of their identified disability category or grade span. These practices were identified through an extensive, systematic meta-analysis* of the high-leverage practices for students with disabilities.
Teaching social behaviors provides opportunities for teachers to communicate and encourage students with disabilities to demonstrate behavioral expectations and communicate needs more effectively. Rather than a stand-alone curriculum, the teaching of social behaviors requires teachers to implement an instructional sequence that includes defining the target behavior, teaching the social skill, and supporting the student to demonstrate the behavior through modifications to the classroom.
When reviewing and intensifying instruction for students with disabilities, teachers should consider a three-phase cycle of plan, deliver, review and intensify individual, small-group, and whole-group instruction. Even though teachers may plan for and deliver high-quality instruction, some students with disabilities will continue to have difficulties with making progress toward academic and behavioral learning targets. Teachers should use data to monitor student progress and adapt instruction as necessary, using a process of intensifying instruction.
Cognitive and metacognitive strategies are important for the development of executive function skills, which, in turn, are crucial for learning academic and behavior skills. In the three-phase cycle for instruction, teachers can use several cognitive and metacognitive strategies to address challenges that students with disabilities have related to executive functioning.
When planning instruction for students with disabilities, teachers need to consider elements of explicit instruction that will provide access to the general education curriculum and also meet the unique needs of students with disabilities across a variety of outcome areas. Teachers should consider a three-phase cycle of plan, deliver, review and intensify individual, small-group, and whole-group instruction.
When delivering instruction for students with disabilities, teachers should consider a three-phase cycle of plan, deliver, review and intensify individual, small-group, and whole-group instruction. This brief focuses on delivering instruction using a model of explicit instruction. Explicit instruction is a combination of modeling and practice that research has shown to benefit the teaching of reading, writing, and mathematics and has been found to be especially beneficial when teaching students with disabilities.
Andrea Boykin, PhD, a manager of assistive technology (AT) for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), explains the process for identifying the proper assistive technology for students. She sees progress in finding just the right AT needed for a student’s successful access to curriculum and communication. As a former special education teacher and researcher in the field of AT, she uses her experience to develop policies and procedures for AT. She also supports the decision-making process and implementation of AT tools across the district.
Sometimes PROGRESS requires doing whatever is necessary. This video highlights Gladys Short, a veteran special educator, and Jonathan, one of her students, from a tribal charter school in North Carolina. This story explains how they helped each other to see progress during the uncertainty of COVID-19.
In collaboration with the National Center on Intensive Intervention, the PROGRESS Center has launched a new learning module library that includes a collection of self-paced learning modules designed to support professional learning of pre-service and in-service educators and administrators through just in time, self-directed, self-paced learning.