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Universal Design for Learning - Improved Access for All

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By Nancy Firchow, M.L.S.

Strategies that Follow UDL Principles

But with or without computer-based curriculum materials, you can work with your child's teachers to apply UDL principles to his schoolwork. These accommodations are just a few that keep the focus on material to be learned, rather than on the method of presentation or format of response, and offer choices to students:

  • If traditional textbooks bog your child down, discuss using a video documentary, audio tapes, or computer programs that cover the same material.
  • If your child is struggling to complete an assignment, talk to his teacher about alternate ways for him to show what he's learned - such as creating a website, preparing a slide show, presenting an oral report, building a model, etc.
  • If a particular subject fails to spark your child's interest, try relating it to something he's interested in and passionate about.

Because UDL assumes each learner brings individual strengths, needs, interests, and limitations to the classroom, flexibility in curriculum and teaching methods increases access to learning - just like curb cuts and ramps increase physical access.

*Universal Design for Learning is a concept developed by CAST, a leading authority on Universal Design for Learning and whose mission is to expand educational opportunities for individuals with disabilities through the development and innovative uses of technology. Their innovative concepts and research on UDL have been used as a reference in writing this article. For more information about CAST and UDL visit


Reviewed February 2010

Comments from readers

"I think that UDl is great. It creates inclusiveness for all types of learners. It gives the terms inclusionary setting real meaning."