edCount and the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) led a TASH conference session to share information on the development of science and social studies content modules undertaken by the Tennessee Department of Education, edCount, and Educational Testing Service. These modules are aligned to general education standards and support educators in providing grade-level instruction to students with significant cognitive disabilities, addressing their complex learning needs, and promoting inclusion.
Around 30 educators, advocates, and other TASH members attended the session. Presenters discussed the key characteristics of effective content delivery, including evidenced-based practices for teaching key vocabulary, suggestions for incorporating Universal Design for Learning (UDL), strategies for developing tactile maps and graphics, and ideas for transferring and generalizing concepts, knowledge, and skills to future school, community, and work environments. They also shared ideas on ways to support inclusion in science and social studies and discuss the impact that effective content delivery can have for all students. TDOE staff shared their experiences with the implementation of these content modules and how they provide a means to ensure classrooms are places where students with disabilities learn, experience meaningful participation, and develop a sense of belonging. The slides from the December presentation can be found here, and more information about TASH is available here. As their website states, the mission of TASH is “to promote the full inclusion and participation of children and adults with significant disabilities in every aspect of their community, and to eliminate the social injustices that diminish human rights.”