What do you mean by Cognitive Access to Curriculum?

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Individuals with physical or sensory disabilities may encounter barriers when using traditional materials such as books, paper and pencil, keyboards, audiotapes without text equivalents, or videos lacking captions or audio descriptions. Broadly speaking, ensuring physical access to the curriculum includes enabling sensory and motor access (such as the ability to see text and images, hear sound and speech, and manipulate materials and expressive tools).

Apart from physical access, students need cognitive access to the general curriculum in order to succeed. Some examples of this include the ability to understand assignments, plan approaches to and execute tasks, use materials effectively, comprehend content presented in various media, organize work, understand and use feedback, and express ideas effectively. All learners (especially those with learning disabilities, attention deficits, developmental disabilities, or affective difficulties) may encounter barriers when instructional materials are not designed in a flexible manner.

A student with a learning disability may be able to see a text clearly but may have difficulty understanding the assignment or purpose for reading, finding main points, organizing notes, and expressing understanding. Conversely, a student with cerebral palsy may fully understand an assignment and have clear ideas for executing it, but be blocked from expressing those ideas by inappropriate tools.

How can you provide cognitive access to learners in your classroom?

Learn more…Take this course: Accommodating All Learners

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