Using Natural Supports in the Classroom for Students with Disabilities

By: MaryAnn Demchak 

  1. Use peers to provide support as a model, helper, tutor, friend, reader, etc.
  2. Develop a circle of friends for the student with severe disabilities so that his/her friends are providing support when and as needed.
  3. Use the special education aide/assistant to help all students in the classroom. Avoid having the aide/assistant focus all attention on the student with disabilities to avoid being viewed as only that student's aide/assistant. Having the aide/assistant help with all students and class activities also helps to facilitate ownership by the classroom teacher.
  4. Have the special education teacher provide support through consultation and team teaching.
  5. Use community support such as high school students, foster grandparents, community volunteers, and parent volunteers.