The Understanding Disabilities program helps build healthy school cultures and student interactions based on respect and understanding. Good relationships, healthy school climates, student well-being, and academic excellence are but some of the outcomes of this highly innovative program that benefits all students.
Understanding Disabilities offers a comprehensive K-8 Disability Awareness Curriculum that motivates students to act compassionately and respectfully at school today and in society tomorrow.
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.
- Are fresh, current, and dynamic.
- Take 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.
- Treat themes of respect and disability awareness equally.
- Provide children with tools they need to act compassionately.
- Use easy to follow script-based materials.
Understanding Disabilities, like other disability awareness programs, does the important work of teaching children about a range of disabilities, allowing children to personally connect with people with disabilities, and leading students to understanding through activities.
However, the Understanding Disabilities journey is one that engages children deeply, and inspires them with increasingly more sophisticated, real-world concepts to consider. These thought-provoking challenges about society’s definition of disability provide direction to students as they develop personal leadership qualities they will take into the world when they become of age.
Understanding Disabilities has created a new standard for disability awareness education. Students of UD learn respect and compassion for the dignity and importance of all people.
Importantly, we provide children with social tools that will help them act on their new understanding. These tools help foster healthier and more respectful interactions and relationships, especially with people who are seemingly different from themselves.
Further, 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 necessary for higher learning.
The UD program is easy to use and all-inclusive. Lessons are provided via a script and accompanying multimedia presentations so that no specific training is required. Scripts, activities, multimedia presentations, and speaker suggestions round out the curriculum. Training, advice, and consultation are available.
UD’s curriculum is designed to create sustainable and long-term systemic change in a school’s culture, for positive attitudes toward others to become woven into the fabric of a child’s character and a school’s culture.
UD’s vision of a deeper and broader disability awareness curriculum that can lead to structural changes in how people with disabilities are incorporated into society was made possible by a financial seal of approval from Cummings Foundation’s 100k for 100 grant program.
The Evidence of Success
- 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 classroom exit slips show that 93% of 4th-grade students learned at least one primary lesson objective.
- UD graduates regularly testify to the lasting and positive impact of our program.