Special Needs In The Media: Glee

Unlike most television shows about high school that seem to have little relationship to the reality of the lives of most kids, Glee explores the lives of kids whose experiences have long been ignored. One of the most interesting characters on the show is Artie Abrams played by Kevin McHale. Acceptance is a theme of this show and Artie’s disability doesn’t stand in the way of his dreams; a lesson that has a profound effect on the other members of the club. In the much viewed episode “Wheels,” the glee club holds a bake sale to raise money for a wheelchair accessible bus. The creators of the show see it as part of their mission to help encourage acceptance and celebrate differences.  They also run a community board where fans can reflect on their own experiences of having special needs.

New UDL Resource: Media Series

New professional resources are available from the National Center on Universal Design for Learning. Starting on November 17, 2011, a collection of rich media presentations became available for free. The first session, Learner Variability and UDL, features Drs. David Rose and Todd Rose explaining how UDL addresses differences among learners with real examples of how teachers apply UDL Principles in the classroom. For more information, click here.

Maryland Co-Teachers

Maryland is featured in a recent Education Week story about co-teaching.  Follow this link to read the article and watch related videos.

Best Practices

Read about how Clintondale High in Detroit has created a flipped classroom that takes advantage of technology to reach all of its learners.

New Videos Available on Co-Teaching and Transition

Learn about building collaborative co-teaching partnerships and the important role families play in helping their children through transitions. Visit the Teaching All Students and Family and Community channels to view new videos on Co-Teaching and Transition.


Check out this fun, interactive resource for learning more about Universal Design for Learning. Developed by MSDE and Howard County Public Schools, the UDL Wheel puts helpful information at your fingertips.

Tech and Students with Disabilities

Founder of the Envision Schools, Bob Lenz, blogs on Edutopia about about the importance of technology for reaching many students with disabilities such as autism, dysgraphia and dyslexia.

Universal Instructional Design Principles for Mobile Learning

Special Education teachers are now available on your phone, iPad, laptop and other mobile devices. The technology makes it possible for children with special needs who live in rural areas, or have difficulty leaving home, to receive educational content. In this study from Athabasca University in Canada, the authors focus on eight principles crucial to M-Learning and how they relate to the design of educational materials for a range of mobile devices.

Fall E-Learning Courses Available

Thinkport and Maryland State Department of Education published the fall schedule of courses. A range of courses is available with new offerings on Universal Design for Learning and Service Learning. A publication of the Thinkport Fall 2012 schedule is now available here.

April is Autism Awareness Month

In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, the IDEA Partnership is sharing resources and tools developed with stakeholders and vetted by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The IDEA Partnership is community of over fifty national organizations that work together on common issues. To explore the result of this collaborative effort focused on Autism Spectrum Disorders, click here.