Myths and Misconceptions about UDL

When creating Good Practices in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) it may be of assistance to consider some of the common myths and misconceptions about UDL
  • UDL comes in a box - If we accepted this idea of UDL came in a box, then opening and unpacking UDL would lead to effective UDL implementation every time. However, UDL is a framework and implementation is dependent on the teacher and the class and conditions. Not all situations are the same, so implementation may be different for each situation. UDL is not like something you can unpack and it starts working. UDL is a framework and requires practice and planning to implement successfully.
  • UDL is just good teaching - While the practice of UDL is good teaching, it requires an awareness that UDL is for all the individuals in the class and it is about helping to make the curriculum amenable and accessible to all the students, rather than the student becoming amenable to the curriculum.
  • UDL is only for Special Education or students with disabilities - UDL is for children and students with special needs and it is for children and students who are not diagnosed with a special need. It is about motivation of all students in the class and allowing them to interpret information in the most appropriate way express themselves in a manner that gives them the grates flexibility.
  • UDL cannot be done without computers - Technology can play a significant role in helping make the curriculum more amenable and accessible to students. However, technology is not necessary to implement UDL. UDL is only limited by the imagination of the educator.
  • UDL cannot be done in every lesson - UDL principles can be applied in all lessons. Just like all teaching some lessons can be more successful than others and implementing UDL requires practice and patience to implement successfully.
  • UDL versus Assistive Technologies (AT) - Assistive Technologies and UDL can be implemented together very effectively but one does not replace the other. For example, UDL strategies that benefit one student may benefit other students as well. While AT is specifically selected, implemented and evaluated for an individual student often based on the Individualized Education Program (IEP) to allow that student to access the general education curriculum with greater independence. Even in a well-designed classroom, some students may still require the use and implementation of AT to further enhance and demonstrate their learning. However, UDL strives to adjust the curriculum to make it accessible to all students:
    • UDL makes the general education curriculum available to students with varying needs, while AT is specifically targeted at an individual student.
    • UDL is used by all students with diverse learning needs, but AT use is for specific students to help meet the expectations of the general education curriculum.
    • UDL is implemented by general and specific education teachers, while AT is selected and monitored by special educators and also is used by general education teachers.