Orthopedic Impairments In Children

Orthopedic impairments, as defined by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), are bone, joint, or muscle-related handicap that is so severe that it has a detrimental impact on the academic performance of children. Genetic abnormalities (such as those that result in a missing arm or leg) and other problems, such as cerebral palsy, are some of the causes of orthopedic impairment.

A healthcare expert often assesses a student’s orthopedic disability and its potential impact on academic performance. To gain a sense of potential issues the youngster may encounter, medical professionals may also monitor the child in the classroom.

Category of Orthopedic Impairment Disability

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Children with orthopedic impairments may be born with it or develop it later in life. Orthopedic impairments that interfere with the proper operation of the bones, joints, or muscles can be brought on by hereditary, genetic, or environmental factors.

For instance, a child could be born with muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, or joint deformities. A sickness, an injury, or surgery are examples of acquired causes. Injury or surgery may result in bone loss, muscular contractures, or limb loss, all of which can make movement challenging. IDEA defines all orthopedic impairments as disabilities, regardless of their underlying causes.

Orthopedic Impairment Potential Causes:

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  • Amputation
  • birth injury
  • Burns
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Disease (poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis)
  • Fractures
  • Genetic anomaly (e.g., the absence of a member, clubfoot)
  • Injury

Orthopedic impairments can also be categorized as “other health concerns” or as a physical disability.

Effects on Education

The cognitive capacities of students with orthopedic impairments are often comparable to those of students without disabilities. Therefore, teachers should make every effort to integrate these pupils into regular classes. According to the IDEA law, students should receive their education in a setting with the fewest restrictions.

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The degree to which a child’s handicap affects their educational opportunities varies. The type and severity of the impairment are among the important factors. While many adolescents with orthopedic impairment do not struggle academically, others may deal with linked neurological or motor impairments that might impair learning by affecting sensory processing, perception, and cognition.

For instance, disabilities like amputations and fractures can impact attendance, making it more difficult for kids to keep up academically. Other disabilities that can affect the brain, such as cerebral palsy and birth trauma, can cause sensory and cognitive problems that can affect learning.


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Orthopedically impaired students will face unique physical difficulties and necessitate unique adjustments.

In the classroom, the job, and the home, people with orthopedic impairments typically require physical modifications or assistive technologies. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, they are legally entitled to receive support.

The issues and difficulties that kids with orthopedic impairments could have are listed below.


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All subject-area teachers need to be aware of how an orthopedic handicap affects a student’s classroom behavior. For instance, students with these impairments may tire more quickly than their counterparts who do not have orthopedic conditions.


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Particularly challenging could be physical education classes. It will be necessary to excuse some pupils with orthopedic conditions from physical education. It’s possible that other students with minor orthopedic issues could take part.


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In order to support a student’s posture and movement, unique seating arrangements may be required in the classroom or in the school’s hallways. These kids’ timetables may need to be set up by schools to avoid requiring them to travel far between classes. Access via elevator is also beneficial.


Additionally, they could require communication aids that use assistive technology or programs that are tailored to their needs, like those that focus on developing their gross and fine motor skills. Wheelchairs, adapted desks, canes, crutches, communication software, or voice recognition software are some examples of the tools and technologies that might be used.

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Travel Finding transportation to and from school may be difficult for kids with orthopedic limitations. But according to federal law, school districts must offer the transportation required to make it easier for kids with disabilities to go to and from school.

To give children with orthopedic disabilities the help they require in the classroom, parents, medical experts, teachers, counselors, and other school staff can cooperate. The officials engaged in the child’s personalized education plan may need to adjust the plan if the child’s needs vary over time.

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