Course 1 Overview

Teacher and students walking in the corridor at school including a child with disability and complex needs


This course is designed to introduce the evolution of inclusive practices for supporting students with multiple disabilities and complex needs. You will be presented with the foundations to guide the development of meaningful educational programs to help you include these concepts into your professional practice.

Course Goals

What you will learn:

  • How historic practices have shaped the way support is provided to students with complex needs
  • The evolution of the term and practice of inclusion
  • Principles of inclusive practice
  • How using the Quality of Life Indicators can facilitate inclusion and create meaningful educational program outcomes
  • The roles and responsibilities of the team members who support students with complex needs
  • The benefits of collaborative practice

What's in Course 1?

The course is divided into five modules. Each module builds on the information provided in the previous module, which is why you are asked to complete them in order. Below is a brief description of the content of each module.

Module 1: History of Disability

In Module 1, you will explore the history of disability. You will be encouraged to think about how historical practices have helped and harmed students with complex needs and how those practices might have influenced the work you do today.

  • How people with disabilities have been treated throughout history
  • How discrimination persists to the present day
  • Explore the lessons learned from history and how they guide the development of inclusive practices in schools

Module 2: Defining Inclusion

In Module 2, you will develop an understanding of current inclusive practices and consider how to include the principles of inclusion into your practice.

  • Explore the evolution of inclusive practice
  • Explore Inclusion Outreach’s four principles for inclusion

Module 3: Quality of Life as a Context for Developing Meaningful Education Programs

In Module 3, you will explore Inclusion Outreach’s (IO) philosophy of practice and the Quality of Life Indicators which are the foundation of IO practice.

  • Understand an educational philosophy based on quality-of-life as an outcome
  • Understand the need for an intentional commitment to develop educational programs that reference community presence, choice, competence, respect, and inclusion

Module 4: Enhancing an Inclusive School Culture for Students with Complex Needs

In Module 4, you will explore the elements that contribute to creating a positive and inclusive school culture. You will reflect on your own practice by identifying the beliefs and values that guide your practice, the language you use, and addressing ableist practice. You will also be encouraged to share your knowledge with opportunities for facilitating inclusion with other educational team members.

  • A Self-awareness Model
  • The power of language
  • Identifying and addressing ableist practices
  • Ways to recognize opportunities to facilitate inclusion in the classroom, school, and community for students with complex needs

Module 5: Roles and Responsibilities—Inclusion and the Educational Team

In Module 5, you will explore the varied roles and responsibilities that are required to support the inclusion of students with multiple disabilities and complex needs. You will be asked to share with your team members what your role is in supporting students and encourage your colleagues to know and understand their roles as well.

  • Understand individual roles and responsibilities of each member of the educational team
  • Know your specific role as a member of the educational team
  • Explore models of collaboration to support students with multiple disabilities and complex needs