How to teach adults with developmental disabilities? – 5 important tips!

A memo about the demands of people with unique needs is necessary when creating a plan. Special courses, known as the day habilitation without walls program OPWDD, are designed to meet the need for safety and security, and the program meets the stated requirements. Academic success is influenced by the environment, which should be inclusive. The basis is concrete and clear communication. Students need to be taught in a way that takes into account their specific needs. Lessons should be adapted to improve the educational system.

Tip #1: Consider preferences

The speed of learning depends on the person’s personality. Considering this, it is possible to create conditions for learning and facilitate the process. To determine the right approach, you need to:

  • conduct an interview to learn about the specifics of each case;
  • develop ways to present information for better memorization;
  • prepare additional materials based on the information received.

Visual examples, diagrams, and visuals can help to process and assimilate information. Using the appropriate manuals and materials, you can get better results.

Tip #2: Specific instructions

Communication between the student and the teacher affects the results, as the quality of communication determines the success of learning. If you want to create the right atmosphere, you need to keep in mind the characteristics of people with developmental disabilities and prepare:

  • visual instructions with clear directions;
  • detailed recommendations for completing the task;
  • consumable materials without jargon and complex sentences.

The strategy of effectively teaching adults with developmental disabilities is based on clear communication. Direct instructions and relevant recommendations can facilitate communication and bring results.

Tip #3: Maintain consistency

Students’ comfort depends on many conditions. Predictability helps improve results. Teachers and educators who create a consistent action plan help students avoid difficulties. This way, a safe environment for adults can be created.

Changes and innovations should not come as a surprise. Inform students that you will revise the rules and structure of the lesson. This way, you support the need of adults with developmental disabilities for predictability and order.

Tip #4: Stimulate interest in learning

The method of positive reinforcement works when teaching adults. A system of rewards and encouragement based on the learner’s needs helps improve results. Positive feedback on any work increases self-esteem and interest in learning.

Reinforcement of positive changes is designed to enhance the experience. Students who are rewarded and encouraged are more interested in class. By using the reinforcement method, it is possible to improve learning outcomes.

Tip #5: Adaptive lessons

The complexity of tasks affects the level of interest. It is essential to create a safe environment for students with special needs. For this, divide complex tasks into smaller ones and gradually increase the complexity, starting with simple tasks and examples. 


A supportive environment is made up of the little things that lead to better results. To make lessons productive, you should use the advice of specialists. This way, teaching adults with developmental disabilities will be enjoyable for students and effective for the teacher. The secrets of creating an inclusive space from the Gateway Counseling Center team will help improve the learning process with special requirements.