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Supporting Students with Differing Abilities

Inclusive education policies and practices ensure all of our students have the skills they need to thrive in their schools, careers, and communities.

Our goal as educators is to make sure that all students gain the knowledge and skills they need to be college- and career-ready at graduation, regardless or learning style or needs. 

Achieving this goal means taking an inclusionary approach to supporting students with differing abilities, from adjusting curriculum to intentionally discussing differences to explicitly teaching tolerance and kindness. 

These practices allow students to learn how to build relationships and empathize with others, advocate for themselves and others, and build bridges among diverse groups. 

None of this work would be possible without the skilled work special education teachers, paraeducators, and SISPs (Specialized Instructional Support Personnel) do, including: 

  • Co-teaching and supported instruction 
  • Adapting curriculum materials
  • Developing and managing Individual Education Programs
  • Consulting with parents and general education staff
  • Coordinating with other service providers

NEA offers several microcredentials to help members gain new skills and tools to support their students, such as “Functional Behavior Assessments and Intervention Plans” and “Introduction to Universal Design for Learning.” We encourage you to browse our library and join us on EdCommunities to trade ideas, advice, and best practices for creating school cultures that celebrate and support all students. 

Get Involved

Want to be an agent for social justice in your school? Start with these resources, trainings and recommended actions.

How to Identify Bullying

Bullying isn't just child’s play; it's a frightening experience many students face every day. Learn to spot the signs.
Johanna Eager at conference table

How to Create Welcoming Schools

This series helps elementary school educators embrace diversity, create LGBTQ and gender-inclusive schools, prevent bullying, and more.
Poster making: No excuse It's time for major change

Protect Students' Civil Rights

Join educators and students who are pushing back against federal civil rights rollbacks that threaten existing student protections.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.