General Strategies for Teaching Students with Disabilities

Universal Design is an approach to designing course instruction, materials and content to benefit people of all learning styles without adaptation or retrofitting. Universal Design allows the student to control the method of accessing information while the teacher monitors the learning process and initiates any beneficial methods.

Although this design enables the student to be self-sufficient, the teacher is responsible for imparting knowledge and facilitating the learning process. It should be noted that Universal Design does not remove academic challenges; it removes barriers to access. Simply stated, Universal Design is just good teaching.

Who Benefits

  • Students who speak English as a second language.
  • International students.
  • Older students.
  • Students with disabilities.
  • A teacher who would like to teach for students of various learning styles.
  • All students.


  • Identify the essential course content.
  • Clearly express the essential content and any feedback given to the student.
  • Integrate natural supports for learning (i.e. using resources already found in the environment such as a study buddy).
  • Use a variety of instructional methods when presenting material.
  • Allow for multiple methods of demonstrating understanding of essential course content.
  • Use technology to increase accessibility.
  • Invite students to meet/contact the course instructor with any questions/concerns.