Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Imagining Inclusive Play — A UDL Approach to Ensuring ALL Students Have FUN!

Times and dates are displayed based on your device's time zone setting.

Explore and create : Playground

This is presentation 2 of 3, at station "Early Learning Network Playground Station 4" within the playground "It’s Center Time with the Early Learning Network!"; scroll down to see more details.

Other presentations in this group:

Susie Blackstien-Adler  
Leanne Husk  
Christy McDonald  

Incorporating symbols (with text) within play can support the development of early language skills and play a fundamental role in ensuring ALL children are actively involved and successful during playtime. Participants will be introduced to materials — developed through a UDL lens — that support early language, communication and self-regulation.

Audience: Teachers, Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials: The presentation will be mentioning the use of Widgit software for the creation of all materials; specifically, Widgit online and/or Communicate InPrint.
Topic: Equity & inclusion
Grade level: PK-2
Subject area: Language arts, Special education
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
For Coaches:
Teaching, Learning and Assessments
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using a variety of research-based, learner-centered instructional strategies and assessment tools to address the diverse needs and interests of all students.
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

In this presentation, participants will:
* understand how a UDL approach to designing play opportunities can provide much needed support for children "on the edges" but benefit everyone
* understand how symbol supported language materials can support children with communication challenges in speech development
* understand how providing materials that support self-regulation and making materials accessible in a variety of ways facilitate independence and foster feelings of personal success in children, thereby increasing confidence and interaction
* learn about specific design elements that can reshape the classroom, how they can be effectively implemented and the materials, software and tools that can be used to support these strategies


1. What is UDL? (3 min)
* why is universal design important for students with significant challenges?
* which principles of UDL do symbol supported materials address?
2. What are symbols? (3 min)
* what do we know about symbols?
* how do visuals support vocabulary development?
* what are best practices for using symbols?
* how can we use symbols to support communication and self regulation?
3. Short interactive activity - how to introduce symbols. (3 minutes)
4. Sharing of sample materials - Dramatic Play Center (8 min)
* a variety of sample activities will be shared
* design elements that support students with overcoming barriers will be emphasized
* supplementary tools used to create materials will be highlighted
5. Collaborative group sharing to generate ideas for supports that could be created to support other areas of play. (3 min)

Supporting research
“(PDF) The Role of Symbols in the Mainstream to Access Literacy.” Researchgate.Net, 2021,
“How Signs & Symbols Support Language Development – BabySparks.” Babysparks.Com, 2021,

More [+]


Leanne Husk, Bridges Canada

Leanne Husk has a background as an educator for students who have complex needs and has certification as a Learning Disabilities Specialist. As a lead instructor for Bridges, she designs and leads workshops and works directly with students and teachers to help them create and implement dynamic and inclusive learning experiences with technology across the curriculum. Leanne first experienced the need for scaffolded instruction and adapted materials when introducing coding to normally developing students. These experiences have been invaluable as she works, in collaboration with OCAD University, supporting Bridges' current initiative - creating inclusive and accessible coding experiences for ALL.

Christy McDonald, Bridges Canada

Christy McDonald is an educator, curricular and assistive technology consultant, supporting people with special needs and those supporting them. She leads a professional development project for teachers, implementing educational curricula for students with complex needs. She has developed a series of on-line courses to support teachers and parents in supporting the use of AT features in reading and writing. She is part of a team that develops and delivers summer technology camps to students who have special needs, which include experiences in coding. Christy is involved in a project developing accessible coding experiences for ALL students, using a UDL approach.

People also viewed

CANCELLED: Game-Based E-Learning in the Classroom
Digital Centers in Early Learning
Take a Look at Canvas LMS