What DO you teach? Unwritten Sped Curriculum

I'm joining Karla over at Life in Special Education who is hosting a linky party for special education teachers to list the skills we teach constantly that will never be on any standardized test, but are so essential for our students to be successful! Some times I get strange looks for others in our school who don't understand why I'm not "helping" my students complete certain tasks, or when I sit in my student's desk just to see if they will ask for me to move.

Yes, I teach language arts, math and others...but  there's a lot more to those classes than meets the eye!
Here's some of the unwritten curriculum that I teach daily:

1. How to greet individuals
2. Appropriately interrupting conversations
3. Saying "I'm finished" and ask for more work
4. Knocking on closed doors instead of walking away
5. Delivering handwritten messages
6. Pushing the handicapped button for the door to open
7. How to do google/youtube searches for entertainment
8. Using a kleenex
9. Asking to go to the bathroom
10. Walking to the lunchroom independently
11. Dealing with changes in a schedule
12. Self-management strategies
13. Independently going through the lunch line
14. Not stealing food
15. Waiting in line.
16. Personal space
17. Saying "No" if someone wants to take something that is yours
18. Asking someone to move if they are in your seat.
19. Asking relevant questions in a conversation
20. Answering questions with a reasonable answer
21. Choosing a preferred activity during breaks
22. Getting pencil and paper when needed to do work
23. Asking for help
24. Making eye contact
25. Following simple directions (motor planning)

25 seems like a good place to stop, but I'm sure I could keep going! My job might not fit into the "normal" teaching category, but I LOVE it and wouldn't trade it for anything!

What else do you teach that doesn't fit into the standard curriculum?

And I just had to borrow this picture from Kara! Love it! 

Feel free to add to my list below or create your own post and add it to Karla's linky!


  1. Thanks so much for linking up! I also do things that cause other teachers to look at me like I'm crazy, such as intentionally getting in my students' way when they are trying to complete a task or interrupting them when they are trying to have a conversation with someone else! It's amazing all the things we do each and everyday besides teach the standards!

  2. Great list! It's interesting...your students need to learn to knock because they walk away at a closed door...mine need to learn to knock because they just walk in!


  3. I sorta dated a guy that was a SPED teacher at one of the middle schools in our area (I'm going to be a high school English teacher.. if I can find a job. haha) and I have a deep admiration for the things that you guys do. One of the things that I think regular (bad term) teachers should do is really incorporate some of the skills that SPED teachers use in their classes into everyday curriculum. *small bows repeatedly*

  4. I appreciate your work so much! My husband is a special ed teacher. He taught Functional Life Skills for 4 years (I don't know if you have that... his student's had to have IQ's lower than 70... bottom 1% of the population)... I can't imagine spending a day in his class. He burnt out, though. Now he co teaches science and had no idea how easy his day could be!

    As a pre-k teacher, I need patience, too. Every year I have at least one student who is undiagnosed sped. So I like to call myself a "nearly sped" teacher. Everything you've pointed out is right now. Teaching is HARD. Non-educators have a hard time understanding. I surely didn't before I became a teacher! :)

  5. This is my first year teaching in a high school with both Autistic CA classrooms and general CA classrooms. Your list hit the nail on ... the nail I guess and I also flip lessons when I see one of my students having difficulty that week with an issue. It's not like you follow a set of rules, you might think you are going to teach facial expressions on a certain day and end up teaching empathy because of a circumstance just presented itself to your student..
    I'm looking for any other high school lesson ideas for the college bound Autistic/ADHD student who has heard all of the lessons before but needs practical practice. Thanks


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