Understanding Disabilities offers a comprehensive K-8 disability awareness curriculum that helps build school cultures and student interactions based on a foundation of mutual respect and understanding. Stronger interpersonal relationships, healthier school climates, improved student well-being, and higher rates of academic excellence are only some of the measurable and quantifiable outcomes of our innovative program.
The UD Program
- Supports academic excellence.
- Shapes emotionally and socially safe learning environments.
- Helps children see beyond disabilities and other perceived differences.
- Builds positive and respectful relationships.
- Continually evolves to meet the needs of today’s classroom.
- Includes emotional and behavioral health, the fastest growing challenge that students face today.
Innovation in Social and Emotional Learning
The Understanding Disabilities curriculum is like no other. Our 30-plus years of experience, passion, and keen observation have led us to create a disability awareness curriculum that increases awareness, raises consciousness, and provides tools for students to act compassionately and respectfully at school today and in society tomorrow.
Like other disability awareness programs, UD does the important work of teaching about a range of disabilities and allowing children to meet and connect with people with disabilities.
However, the Understanding Disabilities curriculum goes further. We strive to teach more than tolerance. Our curriculum revolves around the critical concept of respect for all people. You’ll find this theme weaving through all aspects of the interactive journey on which we lead children throughout their education.
In fact, the UD method offers many opportunities for students to engage deeply with increasingly more sophisticated concepts surrounding disability and differences. Further, UD provides the social tools students need to act on their new understanding. These tools help children foster healthier and more respectful interactions and relationships, especially with people who seem to be different from them.
The UD Method
- Lessons are fresh, current, and dynamic.
- Takes children on an inviting, interactive journey through increasingly more sophisticated concepts to help them develop a way of thinking and behaving they can share with people around them.
- Emphasizes themes of respect, compassion, and dignity.
- Provides children with tools they need to act on their new understanding.
- Uses easy to follow script-based materials.
The Understanding Disabilities program can lead to higher academic success. UD helps build school environments where students feel safe, acknowledged, and respected. Student well-being is critical for higher learning.
The UD program is easy to use and all-inclusive. Lessons are provided via a script, speaker suggestions, and accompanying multimedia presentations. No specific experience is required. Our team is available to provide training, advice, and consultation.
The personal leadership qualities that students develop in UD classes will allow them to better their world when they become of age. It is our intention that students of UD will take these lessons with them to college, to work, to the families they will have. We aspire through our curriculum to give today’s children the tools they need to make disability invisible in society tomorrow.
The Evidence of Success
- Cummings Foundation awarded a 100k for 100 grant to UD’s deeper and broader disability awareness curriculum to help it lead to systemic change in how people with disabilities are incorporated into society.
- A 2013 Endicott College study shows that children in Reading have a much more positive attitude toward people with disabilities than peers without a disability awareness program.
- 2017 surveys reveal that UD learning objectives were met by 93% of 4th-grade students.
- UD graduates regularly testify to the lasting and positive impact of our program. Click here to read testimonials.