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Inclusive Instructional Techniques

Four Disability Types

Girls in accessible garden

The activity adaptations in Happenin’ Habitats address four broad disability categories. Some disabilities may affect only one category. Others may affect all four.

It is important to note that some individuals may have a combination of disabilities and that adaptations will need to be considered for each of these. Of course, not all individuals with disabilities will require activity adaptations.

As always, let the individual student’s needs be your guide. A brief overview of the disability categories used in Happenin’ Habitats follows.

Hearing Disabilities:
Hearing impairments may result from problems in any part of the ear or the hearing center of the brain. Hearing loss is categorized as mild, moderate, severe, or profound. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing will use different method(s) of communication and/or communication equipment including manual (sign language), oral (speech/lip reading), and/or assistive listening devices. In addition to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, some conditions that may result in hearing loss include brain injury, cerebral palsy (CP), and cleft palate and cleft lip. Adaptations address issues in communication, information presentation, and safety.

Learning/Cognitive Disabilities:
This is a broad category that focuses on the perception and processing of information and/or level of developmental functioning. Many learning/cognitive disabilities are not readily noticed, but can become apparent during the learning process. A person with a learning or cognitive disability may have one or more associated conditions, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Dyslexia, Autism, Cerebral Palsy (CP), Down Syndrome, or other forms of Mental Retardation (MR). Adaptations address issues in information presentation, decreasing over-stimulation, and materials.

Motor Disabilities:
This category represents physical disabilities related to the motor function of either the upper or lower extremities, or both. Some individuals with motor disabilities may require assistive mobility devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, or canes. Other individuals may require adaptive equipment such as tabletop scissors or tools with built up handles to complete activities, while others may require no assistance at all. Conditions that may result in motor disabilities include spinal cord injury, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Muscular Dystrophy (MD), and Cerebral Palsy (CP). Adaptations address issues in accessibility and materials.

Visual Disabilities:
Individuals with visual disabilities possess varying levels of sight. Many individuals can perceive some degree of light and detect motion around them. Others can see blurs of images or bright colors. Ask individuals with a visual impairment what he/she can see and how best to present information to him/her. It is important to note that not all individuals who are blind know Braille. Visual impairments or blindness are divided into two major categories, Total Blindness and Low Vision. Adaptations address issues in information presentation, materials, and orientation.