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Submitted by Jill Hrinda-Patten, Executive Director, Mission Empower

I was unable to attend the Universal Design and Beyond Seminar hosted by Mission Empower. Can you tell me what I missed?

On October 15, 2010 at the Bayfront Convention Center, Mission Empower was honored to host Patrick Schwarz, author, professor, and educational inclusion leader. Patrick gave an enthusiastic, informational packed seminar called Universal Design and Beyond: Learning Accessible for All. There were more than eighty parents, educators and social service personnel in attendance for this exciting, jammed packed day.

In our schools today, diversity is the norm. We will find students with needs ranging from gifted, learning disabilities, behavioral needs, English language learners, non-engaged students and more … This is why Universal Design, preparing schools to meet the needs of all students is so important.

The participants learned about “What is universal design for learning?

  • UDL is having supports available upfront in the classroom. This includes multiple means of representation, action and expression. Or in other words having the tools ready to teach the students in a variety of ways, allow student to experience the lesson in a multiple of ways, and then show that he has learned the essential points of the lesson in creative flexible means.
  • UDL recognizes that every learner is unique and processes information differently.
  • UDL provides a framework to create and implement lessons with flexible goals, methods, materials, and assessments that support learning for ALL students.
  • The “Universal” in UDL doesn’t imply a single optimal solution for everyone. Instead, it is meant to underscorethe need for multiple approaches to meet the needs of diverse learners.
  • UDL mirrors the universal design movement in architecture and product development. Think of speakerphones, curb cuts, and close-captioned television – all universally designed to accommodate a wide variety of users, including those with disabilities.