Curricular Areas in Which Students with Intellectual Disability Receive Instruction

Julia E. Snider, Stacy K. Dymond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Students with intellectual disability (ID) tend to have different experiences than their peers without ID as it pertains to the curriculum they receive, the locations where they are taught, and the amount of time they are provided instruction. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the curricular areas and contexts in which high school students with ID receive instruction. A survey was conducted with 57 special educators from Pennsylvania who had at least one high school student with ID on their caseload that qualified to take the state’s alternate assessment. Descriptive and statistical analyses were utilized. Results indicated that all students received instruction in academic curricular areas, most (93.0%) in functional curricular areas, and slightly fewer (77.2%) in specialty curricular areas. Instruction in academic and functional curricular areas was primarily provided in the special education classroom. In contrast, most specialty content was taught in the general education classroom. Students with severe/profound support needs were more likely to receive functional instruction in the community setting than students with mild/moderate support needs. Finally, students from urban/suburban high schools were more likely to receive instruction in the school building (i.e., outside the student’s classroom, but still within the confines of the school campus) than students in rural schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-315
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Classroom setting
  • Curricular areas
  • Intellectual disability
  • Secondary curriculum
  • Urbanicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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