A physical disability is a physical condition that affects a person’s mobility, physical capacity, stamina, or dexterity. This can include brain or spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, respiratory disorders, epilepsy, hearing and visual impairments and more.
A physical disability can be temporary, short–term or long term. Some conditions may go into remission; others may come and go with no particular pattern, or there may be gradual deterioration.
A person may be born with a physical disability or acquire it later in life through accident, injury, illness or side effects of medical treatment. Special education is the practice of educating students in a way that addresses their individual differences and special needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, and accessible settings.
Students with disabilities who require minimal intervention often receive “push-in” services as a first step in the special education process. A specialist, such as an occupational therapist or SLP, will come into the classroom to assist the teacher during regular lesson plans for the day.
Students who need a bit more focused help from a speech-language therapist, occupational therapist, or another specialist may be pulled out of the classroom for work in a one-on-one or group setting. Students who struggle in reading, writing, or speech are often placed within these types of programs.
Inclusive classrooms will have a mix of children of varying abilities and co-teachers within the room that allows those who have special needs to get the additional help they require while remaining in a traditional classroom setting. Often, some of the students within the classroom may receive some pull-out services in addition to their assisted learning.
Some students benefit from being placed in a smaller classroom of students who have similar educational needs. Though they may remain within a traditional school setting, the lower student to teacher ratio can help them to grasp educational concepts and overcome challenges that would hold them back in other classroom formats.
Speech therapy is the assessment and treatment of communication problems and speech disorders. It is performed by speech-language pathologists (SLPs), which are often referred to as speech therapists.