A pupil’s physical disability or disabilities may be a result of illness or injury which may have short or long term consequence or it may arise from a congenital condition. Some pupils with physical disabilities may also have sensory impairments, neurological problems, behaviour problems and/or learning difficulties.
Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus
There is a wide range of physical disabilities affecting pupils across the whole ability range. Pupils with Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida and/or hydrocephalus will all have a medical diagnosis.
Significant Accidental Injury
Pupils in this category include those who have physical disabilities as a result of significant accidental injury. They are being provided with special educational provision on a long term basis to assist then in accessing the curriculum and the school facilities.
- Gross motor skills
- Fine motor skills
- Communication skills
- Emotional well-being
- Social skills.
- If a pupil has difficulty moving about, the school will need to assess the extent to which classrooms and corridors are wheelchair friendly. Issues to consider include:
- the layout of the classroom (aim to maximise space);
- the position of the learner in the classroom – are resources accessible to him or her?
- the best route from one area of the school to another (the shortest route may not be the easiest);
- the time the learner needs to get from one area to another;
- whether another learner should be asked to help push a wheelchair (if the user does not control it) or be available to lend a hand or carry a bag, etc; and
- if the learner has a wheelchair, if he or she can transfer in and out of it – e.g. to sit at a desk, or lie on a PE mat.
- Unless you have been properly trained, do not risk injury by lifting a pupil. Make sure you always have sufficient help on hand if lifting is necessary.
- If a pupil’s hand control is weak, consider using:
- jumbo pencils, wax crayons, thick felt pens, paintbrushes held in the teeth or velcro-ed to the hand;
- non-slip mats or even sticky tape to hold paper, books, plates etc in place;
- foam rubber around cutlery handles;
- rimmed, rather than flat plates;
- specially-adapted computer switches and concept keyboards; and
- different ways of recording work, such as word-processing, talking into a tape-recorder, and dictating to a friend.
- Give the pupil time and opportunity to initiate and/or complete an activity he or she is carrying out as independently as possible.
- Use a buddy system.
- Make use of ICT aids.