Victoria Graf is a Professor of Educational Support Services at Loyola Marymount University.
University of California: Ph.D, Special Education
University of California, Riverside: M.A, Special Education
DePauw University: B.A., Elementary Education
Areas of Expertise (4)
Industry Expertise (3)
On November 29, 1975 then President Ford signed the "Education of All Handicapped Children Act" (EAHCA) into law, mandating for the first time that children and youth with disabilities be afforded the right to a free and appropriate public education, individualized programming, parental participation in the decision making process, nondiscriminatory identification and evaluation, instruction in the least restrictive environment, while ensuring families due process rights and responsibilities. One challenge has been ensuring adequate access to the general education curriculum for an increasingly diverse group of learners within general education classrooms. One approach to making general education curriculum more accessible to diverse learners regardless of ability, learning style, language, or culture is the application of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Grounded in research of learner differences, the capacities of new media, and the most effective teaching practices and assessments, UDL provides a framework for creating more robust learning opportunities for everyone. By using a UDL approach in the classroom, teachers design their instruction to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners rather than make ongoing adjustments for individual students with special needs. Highlighting the importance of UDL as a fundamental instructional approach has the potential to benefit students and teachers in both general and special education programs. In this article, the authors review the historical background regarding the movement toward greater access for students with special learning needs, the development of UDL as a method for providing access, and discuss supporting the implementation of UDL within school sites and institutions of higher education. (Contains 1 note and 2 tables.)
While research has documented the predominance of boys in US special education programmes, similar attention to girls’ under‐representation has been rare. Recent research suggests that there may be just as many girls in need of these services, but for various reasons they are less likely to be identified through the referral process. Girls who fail to receive services are more likely to become teenage mothers, less likely to become employed and more likely to require public assistance. This article explores this pressing equity issue through a content analysis of recent US studies on gender and disability, examines current reasons for this phenomenon, and what it means for the lived school experiences of girls with disabilities. Suggestions on how theory, policy and practice can better serve this under‐represented population are presented.