top of page

Are... severe impairments that adversely affects a child's educational performance. May include congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease, and other causes.

Orthopedic Impairments, Traumatic Brain Injury, Other Health Impairments


  • Not until the late 1600s did physicians and other professionals advocate for more information about these disorders.

  • During the 20th century the needs of war veterans forced attention to those with physical and health disabilities.

  • This focus contributed to a gradual increase in conserve about youth.

  • With IDEA and other legal causes these children who endured such disabilities were finally able to claim their rights.

  • It is important to remember that students with different disabilities will have different needs.



The academic and cognitive abilities of these students are on a large range.

Often times their abilities relate closely to the nature of their disorder.

Some physical and health disabilities are associated with the presence of behavioral issues.

Sometimes there is a a lack of proper judgement on appropriate behaviors and these students may become easily anxious and frustrated.

When inappropriate behaviors are shown by these students it often Is relate to their own discomfort within.

Socially, it is seen that sometimes these students have trouble interacting with peers, and low self-esteem.

Causes of Orthopedic Impairment
1. Genetic abnormalities
2. Birth trauma
3. Disease
4. Injury / amputation
5. Contractures from burns
Well-known conditions including spina bifida, scoliosis, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy.



To identify is a student has a physical or health disability, there is usually a medical assessment that is completed outside of a school setting.

During a school setting there are assessments of medical condition and physical functioning, intellectual functioning, academic achievement, language, behavior, and other related areas.

The most important question after the assessment process is whether the student's disability has a significant negative effect on educational performance.


  • Previously, students with physical and health disabilities were to be put in a separate classroom, but today we know that these decisions should be based around the student.

  • In early childhood lots of services are offered at home with specialists.

  • In elementary and secondary school there are several factors that are based around the students needs that decide what kind of classroom setting the student will be in.

  • Oftentimes these students will go to a classroom with specific resources for part of the day and then back into the general education setting for the rest of the day.

  • In more and more communities we see students with these disabilities being places with their peers and in a general education classroom.

  • In a postsecondary education setting for most students this decision is based on academics and other outside interests, other that their disability.


Recommended Practices

  • Having a desk/ spot in the classroom where that student feels the most comfortable.

  • Keeping the room clean, and creating a path large enough for the student. (Potentially if they have a wheelchair).

  • Be patient and give student(s) time to respond.

  • Letting student(s) make-up for missed school work without penalty.

  • Incorporate curriculum overlapping.

  • Assistive technology.

bottom of page