Supplementary & Functional Curriculum: Selection & Implementation

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  • 0:03 Special Education
  • 0:52 Supplementary Curriculum
  • 2:19 Functional Curriculum
  • 2:48 Selecting &…
  • 3:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Students with disabilities may benefit from adaptations to the traditional curricula. This lesson will discuss the selection and implementation of supplementary and functional curriculum in special education.

Special Education

Collin is a sixth-grade student with a disability, a physical or mental issue that impairs normal and regular functioning. Due to Collin's disability, he qualifies for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 (IDEA). This law mandates that students with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate education designed to meet their unique needs.

IDEA is an updated version of the original Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (EHA), which set the bar for meeting the educational needs of disabled students. Curricula must be adapted for special needs students to make it equally accessible to them. These adaptations may require supplementary and functional curricula. Let's take a closer look at what these are.

Supplementary Curriculum

Let's revisit our student, Collin. His disability severely limits his intellectual functioning. Despite being in sixth-grade, Collin completes simple assignments that are usually found in a kindergarten classroom. Collin's disability makes it unlikely that he will ever reach the level of cognitive functioning that we would expect to see in an adult.

As a result of these limitations, Collin may require supplementary curriculum. Supplementary curriculum is required in special education when the needs of the student are not met by a traditional or existing curriculum. For example, Collin would probably struggle with pre-algebra, a subject that's usually taught to sixth-graders. Thus, he would benefit from supplementary curriculum.

Supplementary curriculum is usually specified on the student's Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), a plan for the education of the special needs student based on his or her unique needs.

Supplementary curriculum can include accommodations and modifications to traditional education, or it can be a direct service, such as therapy, provided to meet the needs of the student. An accommodation is a special tool or device designed to support the needs of a disabled individual. Modifications are changes in the level or method of instruction that a student receives as a result of his or her specific disability. For example, one-on-one instruction may be a modification employed as one part of supplementary curriculum.

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