• Students who have complex support needs and qualify for special education services in the areas of Life Skills Support and Multiple Disabilities Support demonstrate significant difficulties in acquiring academic and functional daily living skills.

    Students with complex support needs have significant cognitive disabilities and require intensive instruction to learn. The instruction that is provided for students with complex support needs requires extensive adaptation and support in order to perform and/or participate meaningfully and productively in the everyday life activities of school, home, community and work. In addition, students with complex support needs require substantial modifications of the general education curriculum and their participation in the general education curriculum differs substantially in form and/or substance from that of most other students (i.e., different objectives, materials and/or activities).

    Classrooms for students with complex support needs may include students who have intellectual disabilities and/or may need life skills support, multiple disabilities support, autistic support and/or physical support. These students may require augmentative communication systems and assistive technology in order to access, participate and progress in learning.

    Programming for Students with Complex Support Needs in a Multiple Disabilities Curriculum

    When IEP Teams are considering multiple disabilities support, they should reflect on the following general descriptions:

    • Expressive Communication: Student uses understandable communication through such modes as gestures, pictures, objects/textures, points, etc., to clearly express a variety of intentions or student communicates primarily through cries, facial expressions, change in muscle tone, etc., but no clear use of objects/textures, regularized gestures, pictures, signs, etc., to communicate.
    • Receptive Language: Alerts to sensory input from another person (auditory, visual, touch, movement) BUT requires actual physical assistance to follow simple directions or uncertain response to sensory stimuli (e.g., sound/voice; sight/gesture; touch; movement; smell).
    • Motor: Uses wheelchair, positioning equipment, and/or assistive devices for most activities or needs personal assistance for most/all motor activities.
    • Engagement: May or may not alert to others and/or does not sustain their attentiveness.
    • Reading Skills: Follows directionality, makes letter distinctions, tells story from the pictures that is not linked to the text or no observable pre-reading or early reading skills.
    • Math Skills: Counts with 1:1 correspondence to at least 10, makes numbered sets of items or no observable awareness of numbers or numeracy.
Last Modified on January 31, 2013