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  /  Architecture   /  Designing Inclusive Classrooms: Accommodations for Students with Special Needs
Happy little boy with Down Syndrome playing with bubbles

Designing Inclusive Classrooms: Accommodations for Students with Special Needs

Designing inclusive classrooms is essential to ensuring all students have access to a quality education. Inclusive classrooms allow children with different abilities and needs to learn and grow together in a supportive environment. Accommodations must be made for the various needs of students with disabilities, including physical, cognitive, and sensory.

Neenan Archistruction® has decades of experience in educational building design that incorporates the different needs of students with special needs. Our team offers a Collaborative Design Process that involves our customers in every step of the design and construction process. Below are some ways schools can design inclusive classrooms and provide accommodations for students with special needs. Get in touch today!


Designing Inclusive Classrooms infographic

A boy in a wheelchair smiling while in class

Physical Accommodations

It is essential to ensure that the classroom is easily accessible to students with mobility issues. This includes having ramps, lifts, and elevators to allow students with disabilities to access all areas of the school. Additionally, classrooms should have adjustable desks and chairs to accommodate students who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments in their educational building design and construction process.

A young man with hearing aids in class

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology tools such as communication devices, magnifiers, hearing aids, and sensory equipment can be used to ensure equal participation and understanding of material for students with disabilities.

Interior of a classroom

Visual Design

Visual design is an essential part of creating a welcoming, inclusive classroom. It is important to have large, legible, and high-contrast text and images to make it easier for students with visual impairments to access the material. This can be incorporated into the interior design phase of educational building construction.

A young man with hearing aids looking at a laptop while in class

Hearing Accommodations

Students with hearing impairments require access to hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other assistive technology devices to facilitate better communication with teachers and fellow students. The educational facility design process can ensure students with hearing impairments are supported in this need.

A young student playing with sensory objects

Multi-Sensory Learning

Some students with special needs learn better in multi-sensory environments. Teachers can design inclusive classrooms that incorporate multiple teaching strategies, such as physical movement, music, or tactile materials, to meet their learning needs. During the Collaborative Design Process and pre-construction planning, our team will ensure these needs and others are met.


A young man in a wheelchair in class

Space and Furniture Arrangement

Classroom furniture and space arrangements can accommodate the needs of students with special needs. For example, having tables with adjustable heights can assist students with physical disabilities, while clear pathways and quiet areas can help students with ADHD or sensory disabilities.


A young student getting personalized attention in class

Personalized Support

Every student with special needs has a unique set of requirements, and providing personalized support is essential. Teachers can work with their students to understand what accommodations they need and create individual action plans to ensure that they receive the assistance necessary to thrive academically. Neenan Archistruction® offers wonderful educational building designs that incorporate personalized support staff rooms to facilitate this need.


A student and teacher smiling together

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a method of rewarding good behavior and progress, used to motivate and encourage students. Inclusive classrooms must use positive reinforcement to promote good work and encourage independence and self-advocacy in students with special needs.


A teacher signing in class

Communication Accommodations

Students with speech or language impairments may require alternative communication methods, such as sign language or assistive devices, to communicate with their teachers and peers effectively. This can be easily incorporated during the educational building design phase.


A modern classroom interior

Universal Design

Universal design is the practice of designing products and environments that are accessible to people with the widest possible range of abilities, regardless of age or ability. A universal design approach to educational building design and construction can make classrooms more accessible and inclusive to students with special needs.



Inclusive classrooms are essential components of creating a positive and equitable learning environment, which is crucial to incorporate at the beginning of the educational building design process. It is critical to provide students with special needs a wide range of accommodations and support to ensure that they have access to an education and the ability to thrive academically. Designing inclusive classrooms that meet the needs of all students requires collaboration with parents, teachers, and other education experts to implement the right strategies and provide individualized support to each student.

Neenan Archistruction® offers amazing educational building construction to ensure all students with special needs have the right tools and learning environment they need to succeed. We work closely with you to ensure your school or university is exactly what you envision. And, with our target costing, we ensure your educational construction project is on budget. Get in touch today!

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