A new project will help students with disabilities and special education needs have better access in the classroom.

The Walla Walla school district will work with the Washington Association of School Administrators on the project which will start this year.

The Director of Special Education at the Walla Walla School District, Barb Casey, said the universal design for learning works to make the way things are taught accessible to all students.

"Inclusionary practice is the answer to helping all students reach their full potential..." she said. "UDL isn't about lowering the bar for any student it's about keeping the bar high, right, but ensuring that what we're teaching kids is able to be received."

Casey also said the district is working with staff to build a plan that will give all teachers and students more tools to work with in the classroom.

Speech and Language Pathologist and assistive technology coordinator, Holly Anderson, said giving access to all students in the classroom helps those with disabilities avoid feeling out of place.

"Ideally the vision is that they're not having to use a tool that stands out and makes an individual look different or anything but just be who they are and use the tools that are available."

She said those tools include picture boards that help students communicate that have trouble communicating with words and a pen that can read to students and scan text to provide definitions or scan it into a notes document.

Anderson also talked about making text to speech and speech to text another more commonly used tool in the classroom for all students.

The project is in the planning phase right now as the district works to get feedback from teachers and students about what they want to see.