Best Practices

Training and Technical Assistance Center » Main » Intellectual Disabilities » Best Practices


 photo of student in wheelchair using a switch to access computer with teacher looking on  photo of student using an eye gaze communication system


Students with intellectual disabilities represent a diverse group of learners. Like many students, they bring unique challenges, skills, preferences, and experiences. Included in this area are resources, websites, research and practical ideas from teachers to improve the educational outcomes for students with intellectual disabilities.

Library ResourcesWeb ArticlesHighlights from the Classroom

Library Resources

Our VCU T/TAC Library and AT Lab contain many up to date resources that can assist you and your students.

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Web Resources

The VCU T/TAC Tac it Up wiki provides a web space where resources on assisting teachers of students with intellectual disabilities are shared and posted.

Tacitup Wiki

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Research Based Articles


Wehmeyer, M. L. (2006). Beyond access: Ensuring progress in the general education curriculum for students with severe disabilities. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 31(4), 322-326.


Erickson, K.A., Clendon, S.A., Abraham, L., Roy, V., Van de Karr, H. (2005). Toward positive literacy outcomes for students with significant developmental disabilities. Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits, 2(1), 45-55.


Field, S & Hoffman, A. (2002). Preparing youth to exercise self-determination: quality indicators of school environments that promote the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and beliefs related to self-determination. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 13(2), 113-116.

Secondary Transition

Neubert, D., Moon, M.S., & Grigal, M. (2002). Post-Secondary education and transition services for students age 18-21 with intellectual disabilities. Focus on Exceptional Children, 24, 303-305.

Supported Employment

Wehman, P. (2006). Integrated Employment: If not now, when? If not us, who? Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 31(2), 122-126.
Walgreens rocks! Watch this video to see how Walgreens has designed their plant in SC to level the playing field allowing people with disabilities to be employed.
Positive Vibe Café. Our local Richmond restaurant is making a difference. Check out the story on MSNBC.


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Highlights from the Classroom

Record Keeping Forms

On this site you will find a variety of documents for printing and use within your classrooms: data sheets, planning matrices, and documents.

Daily Communication Log

Communication between schools and families plays a large role in students' success at school. For students with intellectual disabilities, it is of extreme importance. This communication log (pdf) is an example, shared by a teacher, that she uses on a daily basis to inform families about the students' day at school. Consider how you might use or adapt something like this in your classroom.

This file is also available in Microsoft Word format.

Examples of classroom design and instructional activities

Functional Activities
Tips From Teachers
UNC Center for Literacy and Disability Studies Deaf-Blind Model Demonstration Project. Click on this link to view classroom videos and instructional resources.

Success Stories

These success stories have been shared by teachers who are working with students with intellectual disabilities. Click below to read their inspirational stories.

Story #1‌ Mary, a middle school student who expresses her love of family through a simple purchase on a community based outing.
Story #2‌ Thomas, a 2nd grade student who learns to use his communication system through literacy activities.
Story #3‌ Anna, a high school student who develops a love of literacy following a year long literacy program in her classroom.
Story #4‌ Amy, a middle school student who improves her motor skills so she can help out on family shopping trips.
Story #5‌ Annie, a middle school student who has a wonderful overnight camping experience.
Story #6‌ Robert, a middle school student who learns to use his Tobii communication system to give his dog commands.

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