Monday, December 10, 2007

Health or Physical Challenges

Health or Physical Challenges
Definition - Students who have physical or health disabilities that interfere with their educational performance qualify for special services under three possible categories: orthopedic impairments, multiple disabilities and traumatic brain injury. Orthopedic impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease, and impairments from other causes. Multiple disabilities means concomitant impairments( such as mental retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment) the combination of which causes severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. Traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment or both, that adversely affects educational performance. Applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments on one or more areas. Such as cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem-solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or regenerative or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma. Other health impairment mans having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the education environment that (I) is due to chronic or acute health problems such a s asthma, ADD or ADHD, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, and sickle cell anemia; and (ii) adversely affects a child's educational performance.
Neuromotor impairments – abnormality of or damage to the brain, spinal cord, or nerves that send impulses to the muscles of the body. Often results in complex motor problems that can affect several body systems.
A. Cerebral Palsy – individuals with cerebral palsy have abnormal, involuntary and or uncoordinated motor movements.
Spastic – characterized by very tight muscles , resulting is stiff, uncoordinated movements.
Athetoid – movements are contorted, abnormal and purposeless
Ataxic – poor balance and equilibrium in addition to uncoordinated voluntary movement.
Mixed – combination of types
B. Spina Bifida – Spinal cord ins not enclosed during development, resulting in improper functioning of the spinal cord. The characteristics of spina bifida depend on the location of the defect. There is a lack of movement and sensation below the area of injury. Student will usually have difficulty in walking, requiring braces, crutched, a walker or a wheelchair. Almost always require catheterization.
Degenerative Diseases
Muscular Dystrophy – characterized by progressive muscle weakness form degeneration of the muscle fiber. Usually no disability is apparent at birth. Degeneration begins with leg weakness and continues until student is wheelchair bound.
Orthopedic and Musculoskeletal disorders
A . Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a chromic arthritic condition affecting the joints that occurs before age 16. Symptoms usually include joint stiffness after immobility, pain with joint movement, limitations in joint motion, sometimes fever.
B. limb Deficiency – arm)s) or leg(s) are partially or completely missing. Typically, a prosthetic device is fitted and used.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Refers to temporary or permanent injury to the brain from such causes as car accidents, accidental falls and gunshot wounds to the head. The effects range from no ill effects to severe disability.
Other Health Impairments: these can include seizure disorders, asthma, or AIDS,
A. Seizures – a sudden temporary change in the normal functioning of the brain's electical system as a result of excessive, ncontrolled electical activity in the brain. During an absence seizures, the person will lose consciousness, stop moving and stare straight ahead. Typically they last less than 30 seconds. The person “wakes” up and does not remember the seizure. In a complex partial seizure, consciousness is impaired and the person usually exhibits a series of involuntary motor movements. Tonic-mal seizures is a convulsive seizure in which the person loses consciousness and becomes very stiff, followed by jerkiness and will fall down. Can last from 2 – 5 minutes.
B. Asthma – The most common pulmonary disease of childhood. When triggered, the child has difficulty breathing. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, labored breathing.
AIDS – Acquired immune deficiency syndrome is a chronic illness of childhood. Poses little threat of transmission in the school setting.
Teacher/student ratio – adjust as needed
Classroom furniture – provide special furniture as needed, wheelchair access to rooms and building and bathroom facilities
Position of learning materials – within easy reach
Talk with all children about this child's needs and how to be respectful of and helpful to the child.
Establish and maintain a medication plan with the school nurse
Do not over-compensate for the child's weakness – for example, do not speak louder to him because his legs don't work
Use small group instruction and peer activities
Learn and respond to the child's form of communication
Use adapted utensils as needed, such as scissors, spoon and fork etc.
Offer alternative food choices to meet individual needs regarding health and safety.
Find alternate recess options for high-pollen days.

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