Assistive Technology for Orthopedic Impairments

Instructor: Abigail Cook
Students with orthopedic impairments may require the use of assistive technology to have full access in a classroom setting. Read on to learn more about options for students with orthopedic impairments.

Orthopedic Impairments

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) protects students with orthopedic impairments that adversely affect their educational performance. This includes 'impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease, and impairments from other causes.' Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Paralysis, and Muscular Dystrophy are all examples of diseases covered under orthopedic impairments. Due to challenges with mobility, many students with orthopedic impairments may benefit from the use of assistive technology. Assistive technology is any object or device that gives an individual more access to the general curriculum and classroom environment. A wheelchair or adjustable table are examples of assistive technology that may be used by a student with orthopedic impairments. This lesson will look at assistive technology for students with orthopedic impairments in greater detail.

Orthopedic Impairments in the Classroom

Orthopedic impairments affect different areas of functioning depending on a student's specific condition. Some impairments affect the spinal cord and brain, which may impact learning. Other impairments do not directly affect learning, but may make movement, transportation, and fine and gross motor skills a challenge. Every student with an orthopedic impairment is different and will require their own plan of services and accommodations. Students with this disability may struggle with:

  • Transportation to and around school
  • Maneuvering around the classroom, lunchroom, and hallways.
  • Communicating effectively

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