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Academic Instruction

In order for students to obtain their Transition IEP goals and obtain the skills needed to achieve their post-secondary goals, students must receive quality academic instruction with access to the general education curriculum. Quality academic instruction is achieved through the implementation of evidence-based practices. These instructional methods should be utilities in all instructional settings in the classroom and the community. (Grossi and Cole, 2013)


Evidence-based Practices: Examples of Academic Instruction

Lesson Plan Starters

National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) has created lesson plan starters that utilize evidence-based practices. Teachers can then include these lesson plan starters into their life skills curriculum. Each lesson plan provides details for the lesson's objective, materials needed, content, and teaching procedures. In addition to the citation of the supporting research. Click HERE to explore the lesson plan starters. 


Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Students are all individuals with unique ways of learning, processing information, and demonstrating their knowledge. Regardless of the instructional content, Universal Design for Learning (Rose and Meyer, 2006) seeks to minimize barriers, maximize learning and address individual differences by providing multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement. For an in-depth review of UDL and transition-focused education, read Universal Design for Learning and Secondary Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities: 101.

The following video is just one example that demonstrates a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach to presenting academic content related to health care in an engaging format.

 Use of this video was authorized by Mr. Parr. Find more videos on his youtube channel:


Differentiated Instruction

A complementary instructional method to UDL is Differentiated Instruction. Differentiated Instruction is a "systematic approach to planning curriculum and instruction for academically diverse learners. It is a way of thinking about the classroom with the dual goals of honoring each student's learning needs and maximizing each student's learning capacity" (Tomlinson & Edison, 2003, p.3).


Universal Design for Differentiated Instruction (UDDI)

Building upon both UDL and Differentiated Instruction, UDDI provides teachers with the knowledge to develop rigorous academic curriculum which meets individual student's needs. What's in Your Toolbox is a participatory session designed to build awareness of the Universal Design for Differentiated Instruction framework. You may also visit the Center for Education and Lifelong Learning, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community website for additional resources.



CAST is a not-for-profit, educational research and development organization whose mission is to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities and at-risk learners, through innovative uses of technology and UDL.

Differentiation Central has current resources, k-12 lesson plans, videos and training opportunities to assist teachers implement differentiated instruction.

Edudemic has an extensive list of websites, videos, and other resources for teachers to incorporate technology into the classroom.

Teacher Training Videos is a British website that offers free online training videos for teachers to learn how to incorporate technology into their classrooms.

Test, D. and A. Bartholomew(2011). Universal design for learning and secondary transition planning for students with disabilities: 101. National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center. Thoma, C., Bartholomew, C., & Scott (2009). Universal design for learning: A roadmap for planning and instruction. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing.


U.S. Office of Special Education Programs. Toolkit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilities provides information and resources on assessment, instructional practices, behavior, and accommodations.