Principles of Instructional Planning

Designing meaningful and effective instruction for students with significant disabilities requires intentional planning that considers the strengths and needs of individual learners and takes into account best practices that work for all learners.

To hear more about effective instructional practice, view this two-minute video of Dr. Caroline Musselwhite discussing why Good Literacy Instruction is Good for All Students.

The following six principles for instructional planning provide a framework for thinking about, choosing and designing learning goals, activities and materials:

  • Personally meaningful
  • Age respectful
  • Promotes autonomy
  • Social relevant
  • Opportunities for social interaction
  • Developmentally appropriate


These principles hold true for all students—are we keeping them front of mind in the day-to-day planning for students with significant disabilities?

To hear more about the idea of age-respectful instruction, view the one-minute video of Dr. Caroline Musselwhite discussing the importance of age-respectful instruction in the video segment Engaging Older Students.

To learn more about instructional planning, visit Learning for All.