What is SDI?

      • In 2018 the IDOE put out a briefing on the importance of SDI, Specially Designed Instruction. In this article they described SDI as:
        The individualized instruction provided to a student receiving special education services. In other words,
        “What does a student need that special education can provide?”

        • SDI is the instruction applied to address academic and functional deficits.
        • SDI is instruction intended to close the academic gap between a student with a disability and peers.
        • SDI is what makes special education “special.”

        SDI strategies address the needs of the student and fall into five main categories:

        • Academic: Phonemic awareness strategies, multi-sensory teaching strategies, modeling, instruction in the use of organizers, small group instruction, direct instruction, guided practice, word problem strategies  
        • Communication: Auditory discrimination training, environmental prompts, social scripts, mirror training, guided responding, video self-modeling, system of least prompts, direct instruction, verbal/guided repetition, computer assisted instruction  
        • Physical: Hand over hand guidance, modeling, one-on-one instruction, instruction in the use of equipment or assistive technology, direct instruction and support for specialized software and equipment  
        • Behavior: Explicit social instructional skill instruction, relaxation strategies, deescalation strategies, direct teaching of replacement behaviors 
        • Vocational: Task analysis, differential reinforcement, direct instruction, verbal prompts/ cues, graduated guidance, self-monitoring, corrective feedback/re-teaching 

      Who can help?

      • Stepping into the world of SDI can be daunting! With so many different areas of focus, it is hard to know who to ask. If you find yourself getting lost in all of the options and need a guide, reach out to us at Earlywood. You can always email teamearlywood@earlywood.org 


        Together we can help you identify the right SDI to support your learner and elevate your practice to the next level! 

      SDI IS

        • In addition to core instruction (supplemental)
        • A service or support
        • What an educator/staff/school personnel does
        • Teaching specific skills identified as learning barriers
        • Important features of a program and/or unique instruction 
        • Specific to the student (individualized)
        • Maintaining high expectations and supporting students in the general education setting
        • Promiting independence 
        • Presumed competence 

      SDI is NOT

        • In place of core instruction (supplant)
        • LRE placement 
        • What a student does
        • A restatement of the academic content standards being taught
        • Naming a specific program that replaces a special education services
        • Driven by programs or schedules 
        • Lowering expectations and/or removing students from the general education setting
        • Promoting dependence 
        • Presumed incompetence 


      • IDOE SDI "Spread the Word" (2018)
      If you are having trouble viewing the document, you may download the document.
      • Don't forget GoalBook! Member District Special Educators have memberships to GoalBook. Check out GoalBook today for ideas on how to individualize your SDI for your unique learners. Need help? Just let us know!
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