What do I need to know about my student's culture, values, and attitudes to ensure that an appropriate classroom environment is established for my student who has a disability?

It is critical for all teachers to have cultural competency as it relates to students who have disabilities. It is helpful for classroom teachers to understand a student's disability within the student's cultural context and understand the issues of overrepresentation of students from diverse cultures in various disability areas.

Factual Information

According to the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University, the definition and conceptual framework for cultural competence requires that organizations:

  • have a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, policies and structures that enable them to work effectively cross-culturally.
  • have the capacity to (1) value diversity, (2) conduct self-assessment, (3) manage the dynamics of difference, (4) acquire and institutionalize cultural knowledge and (5) adapt to diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities they serve.
  • incorporate the above in all aspects of policy making, administration, practice, service delivery and involve systematically consumers, key stakeholders and communities.

The Center also suggests that cultural competence requires individual providers at a minimum to:

  • Acknowledge cultural differences
  • Understand your own culture
  • Engage in self-assessment
  • Acquire cultural knowledge & skills
  • View behavior within a cultural context

You can increase your awareness and sensitivity to the importance of cultural diversity and cultural competence by engaging in practices that promote a competent classroom for students who have disabilities.

Classroom Activities

Download and complete the Promoting Cultural Diversity and Cultural Competency Self-Assessment Checklist from the Georgetown University Center for Child & Human Development's Center for Cultural Competence.


No collaborative activities are available at this time.

Resources and Links