Strategies for Students with Learning Differences

Inclusion teachers“Depending on where SPED teachers are falling on the continuum of service (inclusion through severe and profound), the challenges differ. Inclusion teachers may be struggling with being able to have the time needed to make accommodations and modifications to online curriculum. … Teachers that are in a self-contained setting are struggling with being able to differentiate all lessons for each student.”

Whether teaching in remote or hybrid settings, teachers need training on effective strategies for remote learning with students with varying abilities. Teachers may need support translating research-based practices into different modes of instruction, as students shift in and out of remote learning. Professional development should focus on instructional design and accessibility, on designing effective co-teaching strategies, and on using technology to support learners.

Guiding Questions

  • What strategies work best to increase active learning and engagement for students with learning differences during remote and hybrid learning?
Use these selected strategies and resources
High-leverage Strategies Aligned Resources

Accessibility Focus

Focus on ensuring that the multiple learning modalities of students are being reached in the online environment. Strategies that work in-person will almost certainly need to be modified or swapped out to be effective online.

Embrace universal design for learning (UDL), a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn (CAST). Use these resources to build teacher capacity to apply UDL principles to enhance accessibility:


Support co-teachers in choosing a proven co-teaching model to use and to continue to deepen their shared practice.

Strategically Choosing Co-teaching Models can help you choose a co-teaching model. It offers examples of what a range of co-teaching models look like in action and lists the benefits of each model. (New Visions for Public Schools)

View the April 2020 Co-Teaching in a Virtual Environment webinar (30 minutes) to explore key components to consider when planning co-teaching roles and responsibilities for both synchronous instruction (two adults are co-teaching together in a live classroom environment, are doing live small group instruction, or are providing 1:1 support) and asynchronous instruction (planning together for students’ independent work).

See resources related in the section on Strategies for Students with Learning Differences .

Technology Tools for Accommodations

Support the use of technology tools that will help with accommodations for inclusion (e.g., online calculators, highlighting tools, text to speech, closed captions on PowerPoints) and differentiation (e.g., Flipgrid, Edpuzzle, Screencastify).

20 tips for teaching an accessible online course includes how to create accessible videos for free from the University of Washington’s DO-IT [Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology] Center.