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Understanding Specially Designed Instruction for Your Child with Disabilities


As a parent, you want the very best for your child, especially if they have a disability. You may have come across the term "Specially Designed Instruction" (SDI) in the context of your child's IEP. But what exactly does it mean, and how can it benefit your child? Let’s break down the concept of Specially Designed Instruction in simple terms, helping you understand its importance and how it can make a positive impact on your child's education.


It’s one of the most important parts of your child’s IEP!


Specially Designed Instruction, often referred to as SDI is a personalized and tailored approach to teaching and supporting students with disabilities. SDI takes into account the unique needs of each child, ensuring that their educational experience is as effective and meaningful as possible.


Key Components of Specially Designed Instruction

  • Individualization: The core of SDI is individualization. It means that the instruction is designed specifically for your child, taking into consideration their strengths, weaknesses, and learning style. No two children are the same, and SDI recognizes this fact.

  • Goals and Objectives: In collaboration with educators and specialists, specific goals and objectives are set for your child. These objectives are customized to address the areas in which your child may be struggling or need extra support. They provide a roadmap for their progress.

  • Accommodations and Modifications: Teachers make accommodations and modifications to the curriculum and instructional methods to meet your child's unique needs. This may include using alternative teaching materials, technologies, or teaching methods to make learning more accessible.

  • Progress Monitoring/Assessment: To track your child's progress and adjust instruction as needed, progress monitoring or frequent assessment is a vital component of SDI. Educators continuously evaluate how well the goals and objectives are being met and make necessary adjustments.

Why is Specially Designed Instruction Important?

  • Maximizing Potential: SDI allows your child to reach their full potential. By tailoring instruction to their unique needs, they can progress academically and develop essential life skills.

  • Building Confidence: When children receive instruction that meets their abilities, it boosts their self-confidence. They feel capable of tackling challenges and achieving success.

  • Fostering Independence: By addressing specific challenges and providing appropriate support, SDI empowers children to become more independent in their learning.

  • Inclusion and Equity: Specially Designed Instruction promotes inclusive education. It ensures that all students, regardless of their disabilities, have an equitable opportunity to learn and thrive.

  • Meeting Legal Requirements: In the United States, there are legal requirements for providing children with disabilities appropriate education through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Specially Designed Instruction helps schools meet these legal obligations.

Specially Designed Instruction is a personalized and invaluable approach to educating children with disabilities. It recognizes that every child is unique and deserves an education that caters to their specific needs. By working closely with your child's school, teachers, and special education team, you can ensure that Specially Designed Instruction is in place to help your child succeed academically and in life.

Remember, you are your child's biggest advocate, and with the right support, they can achieve, learn, and grow to the maximum extent possible! Stay tuned for the next blog post where we’ll dig deeper into how to effectively advocate for what your child needs to make learning accessible and engaging, and ultimately make school less frustrating!

If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn. ~Ignacio Edwards


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