Evidence-Based Special Education Curriculums & Programs.

Special education (i.e., special ed, SPED) plays an important role in our schools.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 15% of all public school students in the United States currently receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). One-third of these students have a specific learning disability, which means that they learn and think differently from their peers.

Teaching this subset of your students requires particular resources. You need a program that recognizes the unique value of each student.

Enter Positive Action, a complete curriculum from Pre-K through high school that provides academic, physical, social, and emotional guidance in a safe, supportive environment, as well as promoting partnerships between school, home, and community.


How Does the Positive Action Program Work with Special Education?

The Positive Action system is a research-backed program designed specifically to give students with special needs a skill set that will help them succeed in their other subjects, including math, reading, writing, grammar, science, and social studies. While the curriculum doesn't directly address these subjects, children's test scores improve with the program, particularly in the math and reading assessments.

Positive Action strengthens core educational programs by:

  1. Teaching skills for learning
  2. Incorporating state standards
  3. Developing intrinsic motivation
  4. Reducing classroom disruptions

It helps special needs students integrate into mainstream classrooms and achieve academically and otherwise.

Our special education curricula can help schools assess special education students’ needs and create a strategy for meeting them with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). A Positive Action committee provides the school's leadership with helpful tools, including:

  • A committee handbook
  • Surveys
  • Calendars
  • Templates for meeting logs and agendas
  • Behavior management forms
  • “Dear Parents” letters.

🔢 Discover our Program Structure

Positive Action Works for Students with Special Needs of All Types

Positive Action Special Education Curriculum by Grades

Preschool (Pre-K)

The Pre-K program helps young children develop important communication abilities, social skills, and concepts like self-concept and self-control. The curriculum uses interactive materials like hedgehog puppets to make the learning process fun.

Elementary School

From kindergarten through fifth grade, each lesson helps the students learn new interpersonal skills. By reading and acting out stories of characters in different scenarios, each student learns vital skills such as how to solve problems or form meaningful friendships.

Middle School

During their pre-teen and early teenage years, students in the Positive Action program develop critical thinking skills that they use to analyze a variety of scenarios. The curriculum also involves group activities and journaling. Through writing in a journal, students with special needs may benefit from learning how to express their thoughts and emotions.

High School

As students prepare to enter the real world, Positive Action focuses on helping them develop the skillset they’ll need going forward. Assignment formats like creative projects, community service, and peer leadership accommodate different learning styles. By the end of the program, each student should have the resources they need to lead a productive life.

📚 Discover our Curriculum Kits

Free Sample Lessons

Each of Positive Action's kits includes the materials for two free, downloadable sample lessons from Positive Action's special education curriculum.



As an evidence-based curriculum, the Positive Action program results in tangible improvements that special education teachers can see among their students, including:

  • 9% improvement in standardized reading tests
  • 51% increase in math achievement (Hawaii)
  • 13% increase in language achievements (Nevada)
  • 19% decrease in disruptive behaviors
  • 22% improvement in self-concept
  • 18% increase in social bonding

📈 See all Outcomes

Success Stories

See the ways that teachers and communities all over the country are using the Positive Action curriculum to address their special education students' needs:

“We focus on giving each student lots of support and attention. Our philosophy is to teach the whole child, and the Positive Action program helps us teach social and emotional skills—the part of our curriculum not covered by our academic subjects.” -Margaret Carvajal, school counselor at Noonan Elementary School in Alice, TX

“Due to the daily reinforcement, my students’ behavior has improved immensely and, therefore, has made a positive impact on their academic achievement.” -Mr. Watkins, teacher in Compton, CA

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Program Comparison

Compared to other special education curriculums, Positive Action provides the most content, meets the most state and national standards, and offers the most support, training, teaching, and learning resources.

🆚 See All Programs Compared


What is the importance of special education in the curriculum?

A special education student often has a different starting point from their peers. For instance, maybe they're reading at a lower grade level, struggling with math concepts or grammar, or lacking basic social skills. Unfortunately, general education standards typically don't address this type of student's needs.

By targeting specific areas where these learners need extra help, bringing special education instruction into the curriculum can level the playing field.

What can educators do to support their special needs students in the classroom?

As a teacher, you want to help all learners succeed, including your students with different grade-level abilities. When you can, try teaching subjects at your student's cognitive level. For the most part, though, you want to help your special needs students join the other kids in general instruction.

Use helpful technology like text-to-speech readers or on-board writing tools to help them access the curriculum and participate. You should also strive to make your curriculum as interactive as possible to give students who learn differently some new ways to engage with the material.

Is your curriculum suitable for homeschooling?

Yes, you can definitely use the Positive Action curriculum if you teach your special needs child at home. This program supplements all general curriculum areas, including math, reading, grammar, science, and more. Parents can always modify Positive Action's pre-packaged curriculum to make any group activities work in a homeschool setting.

Ready to take the next steps?


If you want to see how the Positive Action SpEd curriculum can help your special needs students thrive, let us know when you're available for a webinar. Or simply contact us to learn more.