Universal Design: Products/Environments vs. Learning

Design for Access to Product/Environment

Design for Access to Curriculum
(Universal Design for Learning)

Means of Access/Engagement

Means of Access/Engagement

Product or environment must be usable by all people (to the greatest extent possible) without need for additional adaptation; e.g., curb cuts provide access to those in wheelchairs and all other pedestrians. Curriculum must be usable by all students (disabled and non-disabled) without need for additional adaptations ("add-ons") by teacher; e.g., electronic encyclopedia offers visual and auditory supports, differing levels of detailed information, cross-referencing.



User controls all access, needs little or no help from others to use; design of product/ environment enables self-sufficiency and independence. Student controls means of access but teacher monitors progress and may activate certain features; curriculum design enables student's self-sufficiency, but teacher remains active in teaching, facilitating, and assessing student's work.



Minimized, if not eliminated. Barriers to access are broken down as much as possible. The best designs provide the easiest and broadest access. Some cognitive challenge must remain. Barriers to access are broken down but right kinds and amounts of challenge must remain so that each student must push him- or herself. If access is too easy, no learning will take place.

Council for Exceptional Children

Provided in partnership with The Council for Exceptional Children.

If you need to teach it, we have it covered.

Start your free trial to gain instant access to thousands of expertly curated worksheets, activities, and lessons created by educational publishers and teachers.

Start Your Free Trial

Follow us on:

Follow TeacherVision on Facebook
Follow TeacherVision on Google Plus


Happy Halloween! Students love this fall holiday; take advantage of it! You'll find everything from costume patterns and printable Halloween masks to counting activities and vocabulary lessons.

2016 Presidential Elections
Election season is here! Help your students understand the process of our national elections (held on Tuesday, November 8), from the President down to local representatives, with our election activities. Read short biographies of presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R), explore mock election ideas, create presidential trading cards, learn election vocabulary, play election bingo and more!

October Calendar of Events
October is full of events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum! Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Chemistry Week (10/16-22), Make a Difference Day (10/22), Black Tuesday (10/29/1929), and Halloween (10/31). Plus, celebrate Bullying Prevention Month, Computer Learning Month, Diversity Awareness Month, Family History Month, Fire Prevention Month, International Dinosaur Month, Learning Disabilities Month, and School Safety Month all October long!