Complex Support Needs 2011-12

Community of Practice Schools 2011-12

This section contains excerpts from interviews with teachers and parents as well as classroom lessons of teachers educating students with complex cognitive and/or physical support needs. These video segments also illustrate the effective application of supplementary aids and services, including assistive technology and alternative/augmentative communication (AAC) devices.

Teacher Interviews and Conferences


What do you see as the benefits of including students with complex support needs in general education classrooms?

How do you plan collaboratively with Special Education teachers and/or paraprofessionals? How did you plan/collaborate with special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and/or supervisors to develop this particular lesson? Can you briefly review the content and organization of the lesson that you planned?

Standards-Based Lesson Plans. Click on the links below to view the lesson plans prepared for standards based classroom instruction for all students, including students with complex support needs. (See Classroom Instruction Video Clips section on this page.)

Language Arts, Kindergarten (Michelle Follett, Cassandra Doggrell; Rowan Elementary School)

Mathematics, Kindergarten (Meghan Shupp, Jessica Adamski; Roslyn Elementary School)

Describe the composition of your class and the students with complex support needs. What instructional strategies and resources do you incorporate in your lessons to accommodate the specific learning needs of the students with complex support needs?

What instructional accommodations, supplementary aids and services do you provide in order for students with complex support needs to meet learning objectives for the grade level standards addressed in the lesson as well as their IEP learning objectives ?

What progress have you seen in the learning and achievement of students with complex support needs as a result of including them in your classroom?

How do other students assist students with complex support needs in your classroom?

What kinds of professional development experiences have you engaged in to help you implement inclusive practices, and work with students with complex support needs in your classroom?

What advice would you give to teachers in working with students with complex support needs?

What is your general assessment of the lesson you facilitated? Did the students achieve the learning objectives as you had planned? What, if anything, would you do differently if you replicated this lesson?


Classroom Instruction Video Clips

The student is included within the same seating structure as the other students in the classroom.

The general education teacher is the main provider of the instruction/assessment or shared teaching is evident. (A paraprofessional or other adult may be available to assist the student when necessary, but the student is viewed as attentive to the teacher, and the teacher is attentive to the student.)

Students with complex support needs are engaged in the same grade level standards-aligned curricular activity as the other members of the class.

The general education teacher checks for the student’s understanding of the concept.

Peer interactions between the student and peers are encouraged and comparable to other students in the class.

The student is actively engaged in the activity and demonstrates understanding of the concept or the application of skills being addressed.

The student’s IEP supplementary aids and services, accommodations, and modifications are applied as appropriate to the curricular activity.

The student communicates orally and/or uses AAC systems to express wants and needs, to exchange information and to interact with those in his/her environment.

Paraprofessional, if applicable, assists the student without interfering with appropriate peer assistance or developing an overdependence of the student on the assistance of the paraprofessional.


Parent / Guardian Interviews


Please describe your child’s specific disability/disabilities for which accommodations and/or supplementary aids and services are provided by the school/school district.

How do you plan and communicate collaboratively with school administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, and health services personnel to ensure that these supplementary aids, services and accommodations are being provided?

What progress/growth (academics, social interactions, confidence level, etc.) have you seen in your child as a result of being included in general education classrooms? How is this progress reported? Does your child receive a school district report card?

How do other students support your child in school and/or outside of school (if applicable)?

Based on your experiences in working with your child’s school/school district, what advice or suggestions would you offer to parents in order to ensure that children with complex support needs are educated successfully in the Least Restrictive Environment?

Are there any other comments or observations that you would like to share?


Click here to access Professional Development Resources that complement these videos.