K-8 Disability Awareness Curriculum
Why is this work important?
Awareness is the foundation of empathy. For learners of all ages to achieve a greater sense of empathy, they must first develop an awareness and appreciation of differences. Changing Perspectives curricula aim to reduce bullying and social isolation in schools by teaching about differences and supporting educators’ work to build inclusive communities within their classrooms and schools. The goal is to help each child recognize his or her uniqueness and challenges and, in doing so, to promote a deeper understanding, respect, and acceptance of all people.
In addition to programs for K-8, Changing Perspectives offers a High School Disability Awareness curriculum and a PreK Kindness & Empathy curriculum.
How does the program work?
All of our programs are designed to be flexible so educators can create, structure, and implement a program that supports your school’s goals for essential social-emotional learning.
Our flagship K-8 program is divided into three learning levels: grades K-2, grades 3-5, and grades 6-8. Lessons and resources are linked to Common Core Standards and align to the eight disability categories outlined in IDEA and represent both visible and invisible disabilities. The categories include Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cognitive Differences, Hearing Loss/Deafness, Learning Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, Social/Emotional Impairments, Speech/Language Disabilities, and Visual Impairments.
The K-8 program has three parts:
Learn: This section of the curriculum is divided into the eight IDEA disability categories. Students explore concepts related to visible and invisible disabilities through literature, class discussions, videos, and hands-on activities.
Experience: To bring learning to life, Changing Perspectives will work with your school to design an awareness event that helps students understand what living with a disability is truly like. Events usually include a combination of guest speakers and simulation activities.
Reflect: Through writing prompts, role playing activities, art projects, and class discussions, students reflect on their experiences, make connections, and show evidence of their growth in understanding.
One thing that sets Changing Perspectives apart from other curriculum-based programs is the availability of technical assistance and coaching for our partner educators (e.g., teachers, schools counselors, other adults facilitating the program). This support helps ensure that partner schools are able to implement Changing Perspectives in a way that makes sense for their student populations. In addition, it gives educators opportunities to gain or hone the skills and strategies that support respect and inclusivity in their school communities. Learn more about Technical Assistance & Coaching.