Teaching Core Content Instruction With Students With Moderate Disabilities

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Teaching Exceptional Children





Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



Many students identified as having moderate and severe disabilities (MSD) benefit from a curriculum that includes instruction on the functional skills that they will need to successfully transition to adulthood. In particular, this includes students with cognitive disabilities who are most likely to qualify in the 1% who are eligible for the alternate assessment developed by states in compliance with the requirements of No Child Left Behind. Because of the need to teach both functional and core content, teachers of students with MSD may find themselves in a quandary when prioritizing skills and designing instruction. Although functional skills may be prioritized by the team developing the individualized education program (IEP), teachers also need to balance these skills with core content that must be addressed. Core content and functional content can be addressed in the same lesson which is especially beneficial when teaching secondary students with moderate and severe disabilities. This article provides guidelines for teaching core content with meaningful applications to facilitate successful transitions for secondary students with MSD using two approaches. The first approach consists of a teacher identifying core content that can be embedded in instruction while teaching life skills; the second approach consists of a teacher identifying functional applications that can be added as nontargeted information when teaching required core content. (Contains 3 tables and 2 figures.)

This document is currently not available here.