What are some effective strategies for working with children who have intellectual disabilities?

  • Emphasize experiential, hands-on learning
  • Be specific and concrete in your communication
  • Demonstrate and model tasks and instructions
  • Provide lots of positive feedback and repeated opportunities for practice
  • Break tasks into manageable chunks
  • Communicate with families and other professionals to share information and strategies

View a Video

Rethinking Possibilities

Students fidget in their seats, waiting for the professor to enter the small lecture seminar; a common scenario at colleges and universities across the county.  In this case, these are college freshmen at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and they are all SUCCESS stories.  Students United for Campus-Community Engagement for Post-Secondary Success (SUCCESS) is a partnership between UMBC and the Maryland Department of Disabilities.  Its focus is to offer a 4-year college experience for students with intellectual disabilities with a focus on promoting employability, independent living, critical thinking, and problem solving.

  • Click here to visit the Shriver Center.
  • Click here to view a news clip from WBAL-TV.

End the R-Word

View this public service announcement from the Valley Down Syndrome Association which discourages any use of the R-word with children with disabilities. Click here to view the video.

Key Words for Educators

  • Demonstrate
  • Experience
  • Practice

According to IDEA

  • Involves substantially below-average intellectual functioning and deficits in adaptive behavior
  • Negatively impacts a student’s educational performance


Many local Maryland schools have developed partnerships with other community colleges and universities to provide post-secondary experiences to individuals with intellectual disabilities through age 21. Inquire with your school system’s Department of Special Education for more information.

by The Johns Hopkins University School of Education Center for Technology in Education