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Help them Thrive

Help them Thrive

You should know about UDL - Universal Design for Learning

Every child has the potential to learn from their environment!  As a society, have we made it as easy as possible for these children to learn, play and move amongst their peers?  Probably not!

UDL (Universal Design for Learning) is a philosophy that creates an environment that everyone can access in order to learn, and then actively show that they have learned something from this exposure.

It is incumbent upon us (the caretakers, the family, the educators, the school, the stores, the transportation system, and the workplace) to be creative and design an environment that is accessible to any individual.  The changes that we make may be low tech or high tech, in school, at home or at work, and will look different at every age, but the concept stays the same.

The main principles of UDL are as follows:

1.  Teach or play in different ways. Use visual cues, auditory cues, tactile cues, sensory cues, and movement.

2.  Watch your child’s cues. Let a child show you what they’ve learned.  For the little ones, read their cues. For the older ones, this may be an art project, a written project or just a discussion.

3.  Provide support to keep child engaged and motivated

This will look different depending on the age of your child, their motor and cognitive abilities.  However, to help your child become an active participant in their environment some recommended strategies include:

1.  Provide adaptive seating, or upright support, as needed.

2.  Set up activity (work or play) for success! Make it easy, and then increase complexity and slowly implement minor changes to the set up.

3.  Ask your child show you that they recognized, enjoyed or want more of what you were doing. This may be drawing, writing, or acting for some.  This can also be by singing, moving, smiling, or looking to let you know that enjoyed that.

UDL simply gives each child the same opportunity to succeed by removing barriers AND creating opportunities for experiencing the world. Get creative!! Think UDL at home, share these successes with your child’s teacher and other parents, and hopefully this can pave the path for ongoing success. I promise you that your children will constantly surprise you if you set the bar high.

Dr. Sharon Galitzer PT, DScPT, MS, CIMI

Pediatric Physical Therapist

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
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Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

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I'm a pediatric physical therapist and also the sibling of an adult with special needs.

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