Course 2 Overview

A caregiver is playing with a young boy with a disability. She is reading him a book


This course will provide you with information and an opportunity to reflect on a range of issues that face students with multiple disabilities and complex needs.

What's in the Course?

The course is divided into eight modules. Below is a brief description of the content of each module.

Module 1: Intellectual Disabilities

In Module 1, you will learn basic information about intellectual disability, including definitions:

  • Common characteristics of intellectual disabilities
  • How intellectual disabilities impact students’ learning

Module 2: Movement

In Module 2, you will develop an understanding of how movement impacts students’ learning:

  • How movement typically develops
  • How movement disabilities can impact body structures and function
  • The implications at school for students with movement disabilities

Module 3: Vision

Module 3 explores the visual system and how visual impairment impacts learning for students with complex needs:

  • How the functioning of the eyes, visual pathway, and brain enable seeing
  • How disruptions to the visual system can affect vision
  • External factors that may impact functional vision

Module 4: Hearing

In Module 4, you will learn about hearing loss and the interconnection between our hearing and our cognitive function:

  • The three main types of hearing loss
  • Some causes of hearing loss
  • The consequences of hearing loss for students, including those with complex disabilities

Module 5: Regulation and Sensory Processing

In Module 5, you will explore how regulation and sensory processing affects students with complex needs:

  • How co-regulation practice best supports students with complex needs
  • How levels of arousal and stimulation impact the success of co-regulation
  • A general understanding of various sensory inputs and their impact
  • The key to co-regulation is to know the student well

Module 6: Medical Complexities

Module 6 describes the co-occurring medical conditions that affect a student’s participation at school:

  • Develop an awareness of some medical conditions often experienced by students with complex needs
  • Understand the implications of medical conditions for learning and participation for students with complex needs at school
  • Understand the importance of demystifying medical interventions for other students in the class

Module 7: Communication

In Module 7, you will explore how communication develops and how this impacts the learning of students with complex needs:

  • To understand the development of communication
  • That everyone, including students with complex needs, communicates in many ways, not just by speaking
  • How much more complex communication is for children with disabilities
  • How communication differences can impact a child’s learning

Module 8: Complexity

Module 8 explores a variety of factors that may add complexity for students with complex needs:

  • Understand how individual learning differences can interact in complex ways
  • Consider the student holistically when planning for their learning 
  • Explore how a student’s inclusion is impacted not only by their disability (or disabilities) but interpersonal and cultural factors as well
  • Build awareness that a student’s cognitive and physical disabilities do not negate their ability to learn