PoP: How might we authentically include students with severe disabilities so they are academically engaged in their classes and socially engaged in the school community through my role in SETSS?

Most of the students with Autism and ID in our school experience a level of isolation related to their disability. Two of our students with Autism are often over stimulated and cannot focus on academic content as a result. They both struggle with developmentally appropriate social interactions and do not have a community of friends. Our two students with Intellectual Disabilities desperately want to learn academic content but their processing, vocabulary, and handwriting are too slow to make sense of all the new material. Considering this fact, their persistence in the classroom is extraordinary. Although both of these students have friends, they are occasionally the butt of their friends’ jokes and may not grasp it. All five of these students are well behaved, compliant and enjoy school.

What is my role as a SETSS teacher in ensuring these students are engaged academically and socially? What skills can I help them build that will serve them in their lives living with their disabilities? What skills can I build for myself that can be generalized to future students with more severe disabilities? What practices can I introduce into SETSS class that will help me identify areas where support is needed and determine what kind of support to provide quickly and effectively?