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Universal Design for Transition,
A Roadmap for Planning and Instruction
By Colleen A. Thoma, Christina C. Bartholomew and LeRon A. Scott
Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc. 2009
Reviewed by Amanda Green
Parent Training and Information Project

Universal Design for Transition book coverIf you have a child with disabilities who is 14 – 22 years old, you know it can be difficult for your school to find the right balance in teaching academic, independent living, work, and community participation skills. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day, for example, to work on both reading comprehension and job skills, or math computation and social skills.

A brilliant answer to this dilemma is found in a new book entitled Universal Design for Transition: A Roadmap for Planning and Instruction. This book could and should be the Transition guide for every teacher, parent, service provider, and advocate. Universally designed classrooms and lessons are not retrofitted with accommodations and modifications. Instead, they are designed from the beginning to make education accessible for every student. In the same way that curb cuts make sidewalks accessible not only to wheelchairs but to baby carriages, delivery dollies, and roller skates, a universally designed classroom makes education available to every student.

Universal Design for Transition walks the reader through the curriculum planning and lesson design process in a clear and stepwise fashion, illustrating that any given academic subject – from history to meteorology – can be universally designed to address different learning styles and to teach real academic content, living, work, and community skills, as well as self determination. Although the students used as examples in this book are taught in a substantially separate classroom, these universal design principles could be utilized in any setting.

Universal Design for Transition is a highly readable and easy-to-use book, with charts and checklists, and stories about actual students. If you have a child in middle or high school, buy a copy for yourself and for your child’s teacher.