This publication addresses issues involved in universal design for learning as they relate to full access to the general education curriculum for students with disabilities. It begins by discussing curriculum access and student engagement according to the federal mandates, which require students with disabilities to be given the opportunity to participate in the general education curriculum. Universal design for learning is described as providing flexible curricula materials and activities that offer alternatives for students with disparities in abilities and backgrounds. Charts illustrate how universal design for products and environments differs from universal design for learning, with its three essential curriculum qualities (representation, expression, and engagement). The publication closes with suggested first steps in implementing universal design for learning. An appendix provides a framework that summarizes the salient principles of universal design in a practical context to help teachers and other interested individuals consider how the tools employed in the classroom can realistically provide broader access to the curriculum for all students. It describes alternatives that reduce perceptual barriers, cognitive barriers, motor and cognitive barriers to expression, and describes alternative ways of encouraging engagement in the learning environment.
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