Physical Disability


Students with a physical disability have an acquired or congenital physical and/or motor impairment such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, developmental coordination disorder, amputations, genetic disorders, etc. The disability may interfere with the development or function of the bones, muscles, joints and central nervous system. Physical characteristics may include:

  • paralysis
  • altered muscle tone
  • an unsteady gait
  • loss of, or inability to use, one or more limbs
  • difficulty with gross-motor skills such as walking or running
  • difficulty with fine-motor skills such as buttoning clothing or printing/writing

The impairment may range from mild to severe, may have minimal impact on the student or interfere substantially with functional ability. The effects of the disability may be minimized through appropriate environmental adaptations and/or the use of assistive devices.

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Students who have been diagnosed with a physical disability may require a range of school based services depending on level of need and functioning. A comprehensive assessment is required to inform program planning. Programming decisions are made by the student’s program planning team.

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