Shauna Hanna

Responding to External Stresses with UDL


Poverty is a huge issue in the US, directly affecting more than a fifth of American families. As busy professionals we often complain about being ‘time poor’. But it takes on another meaning in low-income households where parents may be battling to hold down multiple jobs, feed young mouths and simply cope with everyday struggles to survive. Read what Loui Lord Nelson has to say ahead of UDL-IRN.




There’s solidly evidenced research indicating that this lack of engaged parental time – and money – has a profoundly stressful effect on children and their likely learning outcomes.  At this year’s UDL-IRN Summit in Orlando from March 27-29, internationally recognized consultant and UDL implementation specialist Loui Lord Nelson will challenge educators to look more closely at the impact that poverty has in classrooms – and ask how we can respond with appropriately tailored learning design.

Holder of the first known UDL Coordinator position, Loui completed her post-doctoral fellowship at CAST and has since been a member of the CAST Cadre. A widely published author, she also hosts the popular UDL in 15 Minutes podcast.

“At the Summit I’ll share anonymous vignettes of real kids who’ve experienced these chronic stresses, and the coping mechanisms they’ve deployed,” says Loui. “Session participants will link those causal factors with the effects that poverty has had on these students as individual learners.”

Building positive responses to poverty

“From that starting point we’ll look at a number of concrete things that we can all do to help as educators,” Loui notes. “From a UDL perspective, I’ll encourage session participants to investigate how these suggested supports can align with the framework of universal learning.”

Titled “Variability includes poverty: plan for it”, Loui’s breakout session takes place on Thursday March 28 at 1.15pm.

Supported by Texthelp, the annual UDL-IRN International Summit brings together educators and researchers from around the globe to share conversations, network and celebrate the transformative power of learner-focused education.

See the full UDL-IRN International Summit programme here.

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