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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O_x8G6PwDM and his Ramp Project http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/12/01/f-vp-fatah.html
Also, visit Ricky Tsang from Ajax, Ontario
On his new book – youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1rmxNMU9aI
On TV, talking about being an author – youtube (he did the subtitles himself!)
and his website http://www.rickytsang.ca/
Information about Multiple, Neurological and Physical Exceptionalities:
Brock University & Ontario Brain Injury Association (2003) Educating Educators about Acquired Brain Injury www.abieducation.com
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital http://www.hollandbloorview.ca/index.php
Government of Alberta Education (2011) Understanding Medical and Disability Information for Classroom Teachers http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/inmdict/html/index.html
Muscular Dystrophy Canada http://www.muscle.ca/
Muscular Dystrophy Canada (2011) Muscle Facts: school resource guide. (This is AWESOME!)http://www.muscle.ca/fileadmin/National/Muscular_Dystrophy/Educators/MuscleFacts_SchoolResourceGuide2011_BoldHeadings.pdf
Motion Specialties – this commercial website has an excellent resource page on specific medical conditions (ALS, DMD, etc) http://www.motionspecialties.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=346&Itemid=281
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov/index.htm http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/spina_bifida/spina_bifida.htm
Ontario Brain Injury Association http://www.obia.ca/
Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy http://www.ofcp.ca/
Play 2 Podium magazine http://play2podium.com/
Special Needs Computers http://www.specialneedscomputers.ca/index.php?l=product_list&c=18
Treat NMD http://www.treat-nmd.eu/
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!