In the past, I have taught a contained unit of emotionally disturbed students and currently I have a "mainstreamed" class with 16 special ed kids out of a class of 27, many of which are cognitively disabled. I have also had HH kids and students who are legally blind. Maybe consider the following:
short term projects
very tactile activities
mostly hand-on work
with my legally blind student, he had only slight vision. I blew everything up huge and purchased some construction paper that smelled. He said he could differentiate it better and all of the other kids made him feel good because they all wanted to use it.
peer work/cooperative learning and integrate their life skills. Talk about how to positively interact with others.
Give opportunities within your lessons for "branches" so that students have some choices in where they want to go with their work.
Talk about what it means to express yourself and how they observe others doing so. People communicate through speech, body language, written word, visual art, etc.
you could do something with media.........video, commercials, something they could have fun with while they learn.
a project where they are positively contributing to the school and they would receive recognition for it. I received a grant this year for a program I wrote to work with the CD kids. We are creating murals for the school based on character education, our city's history, music integration, and one that will be "commissioned" and placed in a business in the community. The more these students feel a part of the school, the more successful they will be. Not to mention the life skills they learn along the way (writing press releases as a group- they talk, I scribe- presenting it to their peers, etc.) I have them working on these longer types of things on rotation with another project, so that they don't get bored.
I hope this helps and keep me posted on what you come up with. If I think of anything else, I'll let you know! Take care.
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