What Is An Adapted Curriculum, And Who Is It Appropriate For?

what is adapted curriculumTrue or false: All students regardless of ability have strengths, weaknesses and traits that make them who they are.

The answer is, of course, true.

For example, while Kate thrives when learning numbers and data, John, the polar opposite, flourishes when presented with writing tasks. Strengths and weaknesses are not equal to right or wrong, or better or worse. Instead, this is what makes each person unique!

In special education, students with moderate to severe disabilities may benefit from an adapted curriculum, which tailors instruction to their individual learning needs.

Let’s take a closer look.

What is an Adapted Curriculum?

Every student deserves equitable and inclusive access to the general education curriculum that complies with state standards. How does an adapted curriculum play a role in accomplishing that for students with disabilities? An adapted curriculum does not change the what when it comes to learning, it simply redefines the how.

Adaptations make provisions for special education students to adapt to the learning environment without actually modifying course curriculum standards. With an adapted curriculum, like TeachTown’s enCORE, the delivery of instruction adjusts to best accommodate students with moderate to severe disabilities.

Who Benefits?

An adapted curriculum can be incredibly beneficial for learners with extensive support needs, including autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities.

For example, here’s how Mrs. Jones students benefit from an adapted curriculum:

Mrs. Jones teaches a 9th grade self-contained classroom. Before her special education director got approval to purchase an adapted core curriculum with ESSER Funds, Mrs. Jones was piecemealing different resources together for her students. While she was trying her best, she was met with a lack of material and was well aware that her students were suffering because of it.

Now, with access to a new curriculum, her students with moderate to severe disabilities have equitable and inclusive access to the general education curriculum, just like their typically developing peers. This means that when general education students in 9th grade are reading To Kill A Mockingbird, so are Mrs. Jones’ students. The difference? Mrs. Jones’ lesson plans and literary titles are differentiated with 3 levels of support to meet the learning needs of all students. Her lessons break down each objective into bite-sized skills that are accessible to students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Based on student response, a technology-driven adapted curriculum can help indicate the level of support or understanding of content, essentially guiding personalized instruction for students.

How Is An Adapted Curriculum Different From The General Education Curriculum?

The general education curriculum focuses on a one-size-fits-all approach to learning. An adapted curriculum takes into consideration the individual learning needs and abilities of each student. An adapted curriculum can be adjusted to include different instructional strategies, materials, and assessments that cater to the specific strengths and weaknesses of students.

An adapted curriculum can provide a meaningful education for students with disabilities that helps them best prepare for success now and in a post-secondary setting.

What Are The Key Features?

Adapted grade-aligned content, high-quality, differentiated literature, integrated technology, personalized instruction, and automated data collection are key components of an award-winning adapted curriculum.

Adapted grade-aligned content that includes high-quality, differentiated literature ensures that students with disabilities receive instruction that is aligned with their age and developmental level. The integration of technology into an adapted curriculum enhances personalized instruction through the use of adaptive software and tools that can adjust based on specific needs.

Differentiated literature honors the chronological age and developmental needs of every learner. Technology-driven instruction ensures students get “just right” learning every time. They are practicing new skills within their zone of proximal development and gradually moving from exposure to mastery.

When you add in automated data collection, teachers can be provided with real-time feedback on student progress, allowing them to make data-based decisions about instruction and support. The combination of these elements creates a comprehensive, tailored learning experience that helps students with disabilities thrive.

What Are The Next Steps?

Implementing an adapted curriculum in the classroom is an efficient and effective way to ensure that every student’s learning needs can be met.

An adapted curriculum not only brings ease and efficiency to educators but also allows students with disabilities to play an active role in their own education.

If you’re on the hunt for an adapted curriculum, explore TeachTown’s K-12 standards-based, adapted core curriculum, enCORE.

With automatic data collection, access to the general curriculum, and embedded supports, enCORE is designed to meet the needs of every learner.

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