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Jordan Shurr
Associate Professor of Special Education, 
Queen's University, Canada


Dr. Jordan Shurr is an Associate Professor of Special Education and Founding Director of the ADD*Ed (Autism and Developmental Disabilities- Education; Research Group in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. He has worked for the past 20 years in various roles toward successful outcomes and inclusion of individuals with disabilities. His work in schools has included teaching students with significant support needs at the preschool and elementary levels in both inclusive and specialized settings. Additionally, Dr. Shurr served as an assistive technology consultant for students with a range of disabilities from preschool to high school. In this role, he collaborated with families and various specialized school-wide team members to assess, plan, and support the delivery of appropriate instruction and professional staff development. As a professor, Dr. Shurr has worked in both the USA and Canada. His university-level teaching for pre- and in-service teachers and graduate student mentorship has included a range of topics in special education such as assessment, instructional methods, disability characteristics, intersectionality, universal design for learning, research methods, post-school transition, and early intervention. In terms of research, Dr. Shurr is focused on improving the opportunities and outcomes for individuals with disabilities through innovative academic supports and understanding the experiences and needs of teachers who support students with disabilities. He has published work on interventions for increased access to math and literacy skills for students with autism and intellectual disability, strategies for teacher self-development, as well as co-edited a volume of texts on research-based practices for the classroom. He is engaged in local, national, and international service through school training and research partnerships, his work as associate editor of Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, board leadership in the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children, and cross-national collaborations in Ghana, Denmark, and Sweden.

Special Considerations for Special Education with Differentiated Instruction

While no two students are alike, some require more learning supports than others. Research indicates that effective instructional planning and support can make all the difference in student learning and success. However, educators often find it difficult to understand learning barriers for students with disabilities. This creates subsequent difficulties in teaching and learning. Increased understanding of special education needs has been linked to advances in instructional assessment, planning, and instruction as well as subsequent growths in student access and success. This keynote will highlight essential elements in understanding special educational needs with specific emphasis on communication, behaviour, physical, and intellectual disabilities and their impact in the classroom.  Additionally, key considerations for assessment and planning for students with special education needs, within the differentiated instruction framework will be addressed.  

Expert Workshop
Taking the Extra Step- Planning and Delivering Differentiated Instruction for Students with Special Education Needs

Educators are constantly adjusting and adapting their instruction and supports to meet students' needs. However, for students with special education needs, teacher flexibility is often not sufficient to promote educational growth. Centering on basic considerations for students with communication, behavioural, physical, or intellectual disabilities, this session will dive into the specifics in research and practice for using differentiated instruction to meet student needs. Through the use of case studies, modeling, and practice examples, participants will experience a scaffolded approach to understanding educational impacts of disability and integrating approaches for appropriately supportive instruction in the classroom.


Following this workshop, participants will be able to: 

  • Identify basic learning barriers for students with communication, behavioural, physical, and intellectual disabilities. 

  • Describe unique considerations for differentiated instruction with students who have special education needs.  

  • Name at least three practices to increase the success of students with special education needs with differentiated instruction in mind. 

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