Our Curriculum

Understanding Disabilities offers a comprehensive grades 1-8 disability awareness and inclusion curriculum in the Reading Public Schools that helps build school cultures and student interactions based on a foundation of mutual respect and understanding. 

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 the social tools students need to foster healthier and more respectful interactions and relationships, especially with people who seem to be different from them. Read testimonials from students, teachers, and parents.

The cornerstone of our elementary curriculum is our classroom lesson, comprised of short informative bites interspersed with discussion, read-alouds, videos, and hands-on activities. Additionally, in 5 out of our seven lessons, we bring in speakers with disabilities to share their stories with students. Speakers allow students to connect with a person with a disability and we provide a structured space in which they can ask frank questions of adults who are equipped to answer them honestly.

Our Lessons

First Grade:
Food Allergies (October)
Physical Disabilities (March)

Second Grade:
Hearing and Vision Disabilities (May)

Third Grade:
Autism Spectrum Disorder (February)

Fourth Grade:
Learning Disabilities (November)
Developmental Disabilities (January)

Fifth Grade:
Emotional and Behavioral Challenges (December)

Middle School:
Featured Speakers (Winter or Spring)

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.