Immobility Statergies

Educational Strategies/Accommodations

The self-esteem of a physically challenged student has a critical effect on learning. To enhance self-image, the education team must be constantly mindful of ways to involve these students in classroom activities. Maximum socialization must be promoted to ensure a positive mainstreaming experience. In order to accomplish this objective, however, teachers must first be comfortable with their own understanding of immobility as a whole. Peer Socialization is key. As a result, teachers need to promote an inclusive learning environment that is centered on community building to allow smooth transition of students that are immobile. Peer acceptance will be strengthened by involving the disabled student in all daily activities (academic classes, art, music, physical education, lunch, playground, extracurricular events) as much as possible. Teachers should adapt situations to facilitate active participation and increase chances of success for these students. For example, a student with a physical disability could hit the ball, but not run, during a baseball game.

• Modifications in the structure and daily routine of the classroom may be necessary to accommodate students that are physically disabled. In terms of scheduling, specialized equipment should be integrated in a manner that does not detract from the existing learning centers, equipment, furniture and routine of the classroom. Some physically disabled students may receive health care services at regularly scheduled times throughout the day, while others will require services as the situation demands.

• In terms of spatial requirements and mobility, the school building must be accessible in its entirety to ensure maximum normalization. Students with orthopaedic impairments need lowered shelves and hooks for easy storage and retrieval of instructional materials and personal belongings. Lowered water fountains and handrails in bathrooms facilitate the acquisition of personal hygiene and self-help skills. Lowered doorknobs and ramps allow the student to achieve independence in mobility.

• Use of activities promoting motor skill development (stamina and endurance, mobility, motor planning, range of motion) should be planned in conjunction with the physical therapist, occupational therapist and/or adaptive physical education teacher.

• Whenever possible, students with physical disabilities should use the same types of desks as other students; this will foster uniformity and self-esteem.

• Teachers should maintain an easy access to replacement equipment, should a breakdown/failure occur, as wheelchairs, braces and walkers may need repair on a moment's notice.

• When engaging with a student in a wheelchair, kneel down to their level so that you're more at a face to face level. Wheelchair users appreciate same level dialogue.

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