Category Archives: Action – People with Exceptionalities in Action

Physical Exceptionalities

Physical disabilities are defined by the Ontario Ministry of Education as follows:

Physical disability: a condition of such sereve physical limitation or deficiency as to require special assistance in learning situations to provide the opportunity for educational achievement equivalent to that of pupils without exceptionalities who are of the same age or development level.          Special Education Companion (2002)

This is pretty depressing – for a better definition check out the Push Girls!

Also from the Special Education Companion (2002):

.All students, including exceptional students, have their own unique set of learning strengths and needs. It is as important to identify a student’s strengths as it is to determine his or her needs. Many factors – physical, intellectual, educational, cultural, emotional, and social – influence a student’s ability to learn. The student’s strengths can be used to address his or her weaknesses. Understanding and noting them is critical to appropriate program development.

Students who have physical disabilities exhibit a wide range of conditions. These conditions generally fall under the categories of nervous system* disorders, musculoskeletal* conditions, and/or chronic health conditions. Students with these conditions may experience limitations to their strength, speed, endurance, and motor function. Some students may have a combination of conditions. Students with physical disabilities must be given opportunities to integrate into the whole school environment. [*Note: the term neuromuscular may be more accurate]

While no list is complete, the following conditions and traits may be found in varying degrees in a student identified as having physical disabilities: nervous system disorders, musculoskeletal conditions, chronic health conditions, hydrocephalus, speech impairments, visual impairments, spasticity, and seizures.

These conditions and traits may affect the student’s: strength, energy,  endurance/stamina, motor functioning, balance and coordination, reflexes, dexterity, speech, sensation and sensory skills, and regular attendance at school

The student’s needs and strengths can be affected by changes in both the environment and his or her physical condition. If such changes are identified, then a review of the student’s Individual Education Plan is warranted. This review would be in addition to the regular reviews.

Check out the video by Toronto’s Luke Anderson and his Ramp Project

Also, visit Ricky Tsang from Ajax, Ontario

On his new book –  youtube 

On TV, talking about being an author –  youtube (he did the subtitles himself!)

and his website


Information about Multiple, Neurological and Physical Exceptionalities:

Brock University & Ontario Brain Injury Association (2003) Educating Educators about Acquired Brain Injury

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Government of Alberta Education (2011) Understanding Medical and Disability Information for Classroom Teachers

Muscular Dystrophy Canada

Muscular Dystrophy Canada (2011) Muscle Facts: school resource guide. (This is AWESOME!)

Motion Specialties – this commercial website has an excellent resource page on specific medical conditions (ALS, DMD, etc)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Ontario Brain Injury Association

Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy

Play 2 Podium magazine

Special Needs Computers

Treat NMD

Also, check the

The Special Education Companion, 2002 (do you sense a theme here?)

Possibly the BEST and most under-used document in Special Education!  This document lists countless ways to help students under each Exceptionality Category.  If you look at ‘Speech and Language Impairment’ you have 10 pages of characterisitics of these students, issues, general teaching and learning strategies, program ideas, subject-specific strategies (reading, spelling, mathematics) and assessment strategies!

Do NOT write an IEP without reading this document! Parents and Teachers should use this resource to determine appropriate accommodations, modifications, and strategies for the classroom.  Parents, please bring this to your teacher meetings to advocate for your child!


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Filed under Action - People with Exceptionalities in Action, How to Teach Students with Special Needs, Neuromuscular, Physical Exceptionalities

Action – the Push Girls in Action!

Check out the Push Girls!

Photo from NY Times.
Link below

Push Girls on Sundance: they’re pretty, normal and in wheel chairs

Youtube video: Hot Wheels & Amazing Hip Hop Dance

Roll with the punches


Filed under Action - People with Exceptionalities in Action