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Los Angeles Unified School District Division of Special Education. Schools for All Children. Development and Learning Characteristics of Students with Orthopedic Impairment. Donnalyn Jaque-Antón Associate Superintendent. Orthopedic Impairment.

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Los Angeles Unified School District Division of Special Education

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Los Angeles Unified School District

Division of Special Education

Schools for All Children

Development and Learning Characteristics of Students with Orthopedic Impairment

Donnalyn Jaque-Antón

Associate Superintendent

Orthopedic Impairment

  • A student has a severe orthopedic impairment which adversely affects the student’s educational performance. Such orthopedic impairments include impairments caused by congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease, and impairments from other causes.

    Section 3030(e), Title 5, CCR


A severe orthopedic impairment is persistent and significantly restricts an individual’s normal physical development, movement, and activities of daily living. Accompanying sensory, intellectual, behavioral, learning, and medical problems often occur that may impact the student’s ability to access his/her educational program. Students may need support to pursue the District’s Core Curriculum (with or without adaptations) or the Alternate Curriculum.

—Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, § 300.(7)(c)(8)

Eligibility Criteria

Orthopedic Impairment:

  • must be documented

  • adversely affects educational performance

  • requires special education to meet the student’s needs

Who is Rebecca Moore?

  • She is a very social and engaging, 12-year-old girl in a gifted and talented education program.

  • She uses a power wheel chair for mobility, and requires special devices to help her breathe and to receive nutrients.

  • She has a very limited range of arm motion and significantly reduced finger strength.

  • She has a condition called spinal muscular atrophy, which is degenerative.

Who is Jose Gonzales?

  • He is a 7-year old boy, with a great sense of humor, in a second grade general education classroom.

  • He uses a manual wheelchair for mobility, and is able to maneuver and transfer in and out independently.

  • He has significant cognitive challenges, and is not expected to meet grade level standards.

  • He has a condition called spina bifida.

Who is Jonathan Yee?

  • He is a 16-year old student just returning to his comprehensive high school.

  • He has a large circle of friends, most of which he has known since elementary school.

  • He has difficulty recalling information, retaining facts, and expressing himself verbally.

  • Although he had been a student athlete, he now has gross coordination issues.

  • He has significant traumatic brain injury following an automobile accident.

Levels of Intervention

  • Student Study Team (SST)

  • 504 Plan

  • Referral for Special Education Assessment

    *Assessment plan must consider the unique needs of student

What level of intervention does the student require?

  • Rebecca Moore?

  • Jose Gonzales?

  • Jonathan Yee?

    (Chart your groups decisions)

Educational NeedsConsiderations

  • Decreased physical stamina

  • Prolonged absences

  • Longer response times

  • Accompanying sensory impairment

Educational Needs Access to Standards-based Instruction

  • Exposure to core curriculum and rigorous instruction

  • Implementation of differentiated instructional strategies

  • Adaptations to facilitate accessibility

    • Accommodations

    • Modifications

  • Use of Alternate Curriculum and/or Life Skills

What educational supports does the student require to access standards-based instruction?

  • Rebecca Moore?

  • Jose Gonzales?

  • Jonathan Yee?

    (Chart your group’s decisions)

Educational Needs Specialized Materials and Equipment

Low Tech

  • Dycem

  • Slant Boards

  • Book stands

  • Page fluffers

  • Pencil grips

  • Specialized writing paper (e.g. larger lines, raised lines)

  • Audiotapes of printed materials

Educational Needs Specialized Materials and Equipment

High Tech

  • Computer

  • Specialized keyboards (e.g IntelliKeys)

  • Software programs (e.g. word predict, print to voice, math applications)

Dreamwriter 400


Reading Edge

Digital Notebook

Ballpoint Mouse

Educational Needs Augmentative/Alternative Communication

Low Tech

  • Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

  • Single switch voice output device

  • Picture schedules

  • Conversation Books



Pocket Talker

Magnifying Glasses

Educational Needs Augmentative/Alternative Communication

High Tech

  • Multi-level voice output communication device

  • Computers

  • Print to voice computer software

4 Talk

E Talk Animation

Go Talk1

What assistive devices may be required by the student?

  • Rebecca Moore?

  • Jose Gonzales?

  • Jonathan Yee?

    (Chart your group’s decisions)

Unique NeedsSocial Emotional

The psychological needs of the physically disabled are identical to those of their typical peers.

  • Physiological or survival needs

  • Safety needs

  • Belongingness and love needs

  • Esteem needs

  • Self-actualization


Unique NeedsSocial Emotional

Encourage maximum independence!

  • Ecological Assessment

  • Natural Supports

  • Self-Advocacy

Unique NeedsMobility and Access

Assist the student in developing motor skills to their maximum utilizing a variety of aids:

  • Wheelchairs

  • Braces

  • Walkers

  • Canes

Unique NeedsTransition and Career Planning

Opportunities to explore careers should be provided as often as possible. The exploration should identify careers that are realistic, available in the community, and compatible with the individual’s personal interest and abilities.

What other unique factors need to be addressed in order to support the student?

  • Rebecca Moore?

  • Jose Gonzales?

  • Jonathan Yee?

    (Chart your group’s decisions)

School Site Preparation/Training

Prior to enrollment:

  • Discuss specific student needs with classroom teacher

  • Share factors relating to disability of incoming student with new classmates; such as, means of:

    • Communication

    • Mobility

    • Support

Share your vision for…

  • Rebecca Moore?

  • Jose Gonzales?

  • Jonathan Yee?

    (Chart your group’s decisions)

"Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day."*Sally Koch {American Educator}

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