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Orthopedic Impairments

By Dinah Williams
IDEA Description
Orthopedic Impairment: Severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a childs
educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly,
impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and impairments from
other causes (e.g. Cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).
Characteristics
The IDEA category of orthopedic impairments contains a wide variety of disorders. These can be
divided into three main areas: neuromotor impairments, degenerative diseases, and
musculoskeletal disorders. The specific characteristics of an individual who has an orthopedic
impairment will depend on the specific disease and its severity, as well as additional individual
factors.
Neuromotor impairment is caused by neurological (brain/spinal cord) damage that also
affects a persons ability to move one, or more, body parts. The following are all examples
of Neuromotor Impairments: Epilepsy; Spina Bifida; Cerebral Palsy

Degenerative Diseases refer to medical problems that worsen over time and may affect
the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), bones, blood vessels, or heart, such as the
following: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrigs disease; Heart disease; Multiple
system atrophy; Cancer; Diabetes; and Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Musculoskeletal Disorders describe a variety of conditions that affect the muscles, bones,
and joints. Severity varies from person to person. Pain and discomfort interferes with everyday
activities. MSDs can affect all major areas of the body such as Low back pain, Fibromyalgia,
Gout, Rheumatoid arthritis, and Tendinitis.
Teaching Strategies
Most children with orthopedic impairments do not need any special modifications to
lessons as they are mentally capable of doing regular class work, unless you get into the multiple
impairment categories.
Accommodations
Furniture may need to be rearranged to accommodate wheelchairs, canes, and walkers.
Special desks may also be needed for these students. Some may need special writing implements
and computers for speech. Some may need a special helper for personal care skills. Some may
need extra breaks to rest, or for medication.
Sources for help in addition to the ones on the Prezi presentation
http://specialneedshandbook.wikispaces.com/Orthopedic+Impairment
Project IDEAL: Informing & Designing Education for all Learners
http://www.projectidealonline.org/orthopedicImpairments.php
National Association of Parents with Children in Special Education
http://www.napcse.org/exceptionalchildren/orthopedicimpairments.php
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
http://www.nichcy.org
Algozzine, B., & Ysseldyke, J. (2006). Assisting students with medical, physical, and multiple
disabilities: A practical guide for every teacher. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

American Academy of Special Education Professionals. (2006). Orthopedic impairments.
Retrieved April 16, 2008, fromhttp://aasep.org/professional-
resources/exceptionalstudents/orthopedicimpairment/index.html#c2738.

Baumberger, J. P., & Harper R. E. (2007). Assisting students with disabilities: A handbook for
school counselors (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Dutton, M. (2005). Orthopaedic examination, evaluation, and intervention: A pocket
handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy. (2007). Muscular Dystrophy Association. Retrieved April 16,
2008, fromhttp://www.mda.org/publications/tchrdmd/.

National Association of Parents with Children in Special Education. (2007). Exceptional children
and disability information. Orthopedic impairments. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from
http://www.napcse.org/exceptionalchildren/orthopedicimpairments.php.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. (2004). Disability fact sheet no. 2:
Cerebral Palsy. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from http://www.nichcy.org/pubs/factshe/fs2.pdf.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. (2004). Disability fact sheet no. 12:
Spina Bifida. Retrieved April 16, 2008, from http://www.nichcy.org/pubs/factshe/fs12.pdf.

Pierangelo, R., & Giuliani, G. (2007). The educator's manual of disabilities and disorders. San
Francisco, CA: Wiley & Sons.