Supporting the Whole Student with a Disability – It Takes a Village

By: Rethink Ed

blog featured image backup2
Share with your community

In today’s world, we are required to think and act quickly and efficiently.  We are exposed to massive amounts of information and are expected to communicate well, work effectively, and act responsibly.  Learning these skills in school paves the path to a productive, healthy adulthood.  To better prepare students for independence, college, employment, and healthy relationships, it’s important to think beyond academic outcomes.  Students who have good health and good relationships are far more likely to succeed in school, and succeed after graduation.  Focusing on the whole student leads to better outcomes.  While this is important for all students, it is even more essential for students with disabilities.

Special education students need a safe and inclusive environment that provides appropriate accommodations and encourages growth.  Their diverse needs in areas such as: communication, behavior, safety, social interactions, health, and cognitive/academics, must be supported. Focus should be placed on their strengths and their contributions to the group, rather than on their disability.  This whole-student approach requires all those interacting with the student to be engaged in promoting positive outcomes; this is not just teachers- it is the entire village. 

To truly serve the whole student, everyone needs to be on board including educators, school support personnel such as bus drivers and school safety officers, administrators/leadership, families, and community members.  Collaboration, communication, and consistency are the 3 key ingredients for the whole-student approach.

Disability Awareness

To promote collaboration, communication, and consistency with all the student’s support team, it is important to provide professional learning for everyone that interacts with that student.  Training can be brief and inexpensive but it’s essential that everyone, including other students, have access to basic training about awareness, understanding, and interactions with students with disabilities.  Research supports the fact that improving awareness in others (adults and other students) can improve safety, interactions, and outcomes for students with disabilities. Rethink Ed understands this need and is developing a comprehensive online training series to provide disability awareness training for the whole village.  Training modules will be available for School Support Personnel such as bus drivers, cafeteria and playground professionals, school safety officers, and school office staff.  Training will also be available for educators, peers, administrators, family members (including siblings), and introductory modules for community members or anyone wishing to have some basic understanding of students with disabilities.  These modules will cover the needs of students and all of the people that support them to reach their highest level of success.  The training series is time and cost efficient and provides flexibility via online videos.

For more information on our training series contact

Sign up for our Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter on the latest industry updates, Rethink happenings, and resources galore. Simply follow the link to the footer and enter your email.

Learn more about Rethink

Take care of your people with RethinkCare’s evidenced-based solutions that support the well-being your entire employee base in all aspect of their lives - from personal to parenting, and professional

Build strong school communities and healthy, safe learning environments for all your students with RethinkEd’s evidence-based strategies and technology solutions across SEL, Special Ed, Behavioral & Training

Start, grow and manage your practice with Rethink’s workflow automation and evidenced-based clinical best practice tools that help you optimize outcomes and operations

Support your members and your provider networks with Rethink’s solutions that support autism care management across your network while offering unique value-added services to your members.

logo rethinkfirst white

Together We’re Powering Potential

Transforming the Behavioral Health landscape requires scalable platforms that address a broad range of mental, emotional, and wellness needs. At Rethink First we are proud to work across the continuum of care to help individuals and the people they care about live healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives.

The leading behavioral and mental health enterprise platform to support working parents, caregivers and their families.

Award-winning solutions empower districts and their educators to improve outcomes and wellness for all tiers of students and to build healthy and safe learning environments.

Fully integrated workflow automation and evidenced-based clinical tools help behavioral health organizations optimize outcomes and operations.

Patent-pending clinical solutions and member engagement services streamline autism care management processes and support outcomes for health plans, providers, and members.