Inclusive Teacher Strategies
Provide routine and structure
Make the structure of each day similar but change tasks within the structure to keep the day interesting.
Visual cues can let children know what is coming up, and how they should move from one activity to another.
Children who find moving from one activity to another challenging will feel less unsettled if they are aware it is coming up. Provide clear instructions about the transition.
Tailor activities to be as inclusive as possible
Keep activities and instructions short, clear and engaging
Therapy balls or cushions may help some children
Consider how tasks can be tailored to different children’s strengths, abilities and learning style
Add child interests into the learning process
Consider whether materials could be adapted
Engage the senses
Allow more time
Get a child’s attention
This can help children focus and learn. Frequent breaks may also help.
Therapy balls, cushions and other seating supports may help some children with engagement.
Concrete examples, simplified text, visual supports, breaking tasks into smaller components, using a variety of teaching approaches, and providing alternate ways for children to respond are some of the ways this can be achieved.
Link activities to the child’s interests.
Materials that cater to varying grip strength, mobility and hand-eye coordination can help include children of different abilities, and computer-assisted instruction can also be helpful.
Provide instructions verbally and visually, demonstrate how to engage in a behaviour or activity, and engage children using a range of developmentally appropriate sensory stimuli.
Allow a child to take the time they need to respond or engage in an activity.
Check that you have a child’s attention when giving instructions, and check their understanding of those instructions. Reduce distractions through careful arrangement of the classroom and consideration of seating.
Provide a safe space (physically and emotionally)
Give encouragement and guide learning
Provide a quiet area
Express positive regard and support
Set clear classroom rules
Consider providing positive feedback and correcting immediately when children are learning a task or behaviour. This can be gradually reduced as they become more capable.
Consider providing a quiet area that a child can go if upset. This space could include items that may help a child calm down, such as sensory supports.
Providing support and encouragement helps a child achieve better results. Focus on a child’s strengths and show a child that they are valued and supported.
A few short and simple rules that tell children what to do (rather than what to avoid), and are displayed and reviewed regularly are best.
Give lots of practise opportunities
Children may need to practise a task or behaviour many times
Offer fewer tasks with more opportunities to practise
Help them with one to one attention
Time to practise in different settings and with different materials can help children learn to use that skill in other situations and places.
This helps children to learn tasks and may be more helpful than offering many tasks with little opportunity to practise.
When a task is new, children usually learn best with help (i.e. prompts, demonstrations, encouragement). Help can be gradually reduced as they become more capable. Help can be provided by teachers or other children.
Promote child interaction
Provide lots of opportunities for children to work together
Aim for children to remain with the group
Teach peers how to interact with each other
Provide developmentally appropriate and discreet support
Children can get to know each other and build friendships through working together. Children can also learn through watching others. Consider ways in which you can facilitate a child’s interactions with others in a group.
Where possible, aim to keep children as part of the group, rather than in separate areas working with specialists.
Teach children how to interact with each other. This may involve teaching them how to use different styles of communication, or how to include another student.
Children may be self-conscious about the support that is provided, particularly as they enter pre-adolescence. Developmentally appropriate and discrete support that builds a child's autonomy may increase confidence and support peer interactions.
Support social, emotional and problem solving skill development
Prompt social behaviours
Use the ABC approach for behaviour
Teach problem solving
Support children with emotions
Teach organisation skills
Teach children how to self-manage
Consider prompting children to develop social behaviours. These could be asking another child to play, sharing, or waiting their turn.
Identifying the cause of a child’s behaviour can help both the teacher and the child feel less frustrated.
Teach children how to find solutions to challenges they face, and how to seek help.
Express empathy, and help children to name what they are feeling. Support them with facing fears gradually, at a level they can manage. Relaxation exercises can help children feel calm.
Children may need explicit instructions and support to learn organisation, study, note-taking, time-management and homework management skills.
Consider giving children a checklist of behaviours or skills that they would like to work on (e.g. raise hand to ask question). Prompt them to check off the list throughout the day.
Collaborate with others
Set up a system for regular communication with parents about their child’s unique strengths, preferences, and abilities. This includes support they feel their child needs and the best methods of communication.
There may be various health professionals involved in supporting the child. Working together can lead to a shared understanding of the child, their goals, and strengths based strategies that are consistent across other environments like home and the community.
Work with the child’s parents as well as the professionals supporting the child to set some specific and measurable outcomes. Aim to set outcomes that focus on the child’s strengths and are challenging enough to support learning and social development.