About Classroom Management Strategies for Students with Disabilities

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A classroom of disabled children frequently faces a variety of problems that make instruction difficult, especially when the students' disabilities are diverse (Wong & Wong, 2014). As a result, a number of classroom management tactics should be effectively utilized to facilitate the teaching process by boosting student participation and intrinsic desire (Scheuermann & Hall, 2012). This means that different groups of disabled students require distinct classroom management and teaching or instruction methodologies, as demonstrated in the matrix below:

Student disability classifications

Strategies for Participation

Disabilities in learning

For students with learning disability or behavioral challenge often blame other people or external factors for the choices they make, which in most cases turn out to be problematic. Hence, the strategy that can be utilized by the teacher to improve the engagement of such students would be through increased student locus of control. This focuses of discouraging bad choices they make while at the same time showing them that they are appreciated and celebrated whenever they make good choices (DuPual, Gormley & Laracy, 2013).

Emotional disability

De-escalation of behavioral crises is undoubtedly the most appropriate engagement strategy for student with emotional disability, and this is because such situations confront teachers with threatening and/or verbally abusive responses from such students. The use of selective ignoring is also appropriate in making sure the behavioral crises likely to be caused by this category of students is wisely addressed and precisely subdued without causing unnecessary disturbance to other students or posing any danger to the members of the teaching staff (Scheuermann & Hall, 2012).

Intellectual disability

Focusing on routine and structure, in addition to incorporation of classroom learning assistive methods such as discussion groups and use of teaching aids. This is a very useful strategy in the improvement of student engagement as well as promotion of their intrinsic motivation (Lemov, 2010; Zirpoli, 2012).

Autism spectrum disorder

Through creating of a classroom environment that is reinforcing has the potential to significantly promote the level of engagement as well as intrinsic motivation among this category of students. This is attributable to the fact that, the neurological disorder that these students suffer from greatly impairs their level of learning making it inevitable for teachers to devise innovative classroom management strategies in order to always make sure they learn at a rate that is relatively comparable to that of their colleagues (Scott, Anderson & Alter, 2012).

Physical disability

In the case of physical disability, the teacher can use assistive technology as well as other teaching aids and instruction materials to make sure that all the physically disabled students progress at the same rate with their colleagues (Lemov, 2010).

Other health impairments

According to Scheuermann and Hall (2012), there are other health challenges or impairments that ought to be effectively controlled through appropriate classroom management strategies in order to achieve desirable teaching outcomes. For instance, students with skin impairments or conditions as well as those with rare health conditions such as epilepsy, obesity, hypertension, among others need to be consistently shown care and love to ensure that their self-esteem is high. In addition, the teacher should make sure that the classroom environment is conducive for them in order to ensure that they are able to effectively concentrate just like their colleagues (Lemov, 2010).

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder

Limiting the use of punishment in the management of a classroom of students with attention deficit hyperactive disorder coupled with other good behavior reinforcements can play a significant role in promoting engagement (Lemov, 2010).

The rationale behind the classroom management strategies discussed in the above matrix in the promotion of intrinsic motivations as well as encouraging engagement and self-motivation among students with disabilities is inherent within the ability of the teacher to delve beyond mere preparation of academic content and focusing more on strong as well as effective classroom management strategy (Zirpoli, 2012). This is mainly because every teacher irrespective of what they teach, where they teach, or who they teach the need for the them to the effective is inevitable. As a result, for them to effectively manage their classrooms nothing else will do, and in particular during this era of teaching that is marked by significant increase in accountability. According to Lemov (2010), in order for teachers to achieve significant the promotion of intrinsic motivation as well as encouraging engagement and self-motivation among students with disabilities, they must not only demonstrate in-depth knowledge in the academic content but also possess exemplary leadership and classroom management skills. These character traits must go hand in hand with the classroom management strategies discussed in the matrix, which is an outright manifestation or rationale of why they are able to not only promote intrinsic motivation but also encourage self-motivation and engagement among students with disabilities (Zirpoli, 2012). Finally, through adoption of these classroom management strategies; the teacher is able to ensure an amicable learning environment is established for all students regardless of their disabilities in order to achieve the envisaged outcomes.


DuPual, G., Gormley, M., & Laracy, S. (2013). Comorbidity of LD and ADHD: Implications of DSM-5 for Assessment and Treatment. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 46, 43-51. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022219412464351

Lemov, D. (2010). Teach Like a Champion. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Scheuermann, B., & Hall, J. (2012). Positive Behavioral Supports for the Classroom (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Scott, T., Anderson, C., & Alter, P. (2012). Managing Classroom Behavior Using Positive Behavior Supports. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Wong, H., & Wong, R. (2014). The Classroom Management Book. Mountainside, CA: Wong Publishing.

Zirpoli, T. (2012). Behavior Management: POSITIVE Applications for Teachers (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

March 17, 2023

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