Severe Physical Handicaps By Andrea Opel, Sondra Deurloo, Caitlin Robles, and Danielle Harrington
IDEA Definition/Eligibility • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): “a person is considered physically handicapped if he or she has an impairment that substantially limits one or more of life’s daily activities.” • IDEA 2004: • A person with an orthopedic impairment, brain injury, or other health impairment who, by reason of that impairment, needs special education and related services is considered to have a physical disability. • The condition must interfere with or substantially limit the child’s ability to take part in routine school activities. • A physical disability or health condition need not limit activity; instead, it may involve other restrictions, such as a special diet (i.e. celiac-disease) or the student’s need to use medical equipment.
Special Education Eligibility (cont.) • When physical disabilities adversely affect academic performance, the following special education eligibility categories may be considered: • Orthopedic Impairment • Other Health Impairment • Multiple Disabilities • Traumatic Brain Injury
The Nervous System • A network of specialized cells (neurons) that coordinate the actions of an animal and transmit signals between different parts of the body • Facts to know: • Peripheral nervous system,the • sympathetic nervous system : “fight or flight” • parasympathetic nervous system : “rest and digest” • Ventricles: open spaces in the brain which are filled with Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) • The left half of the body is controlled by the right side of the brain and vice versa. • Sodium and Potassium are vital to neural operations.
Occipital Lobe Occipital Lobe Parts of the Brain Frontal Lobe The ability to concentrate and attend, elaboration of thought, abstract reasoning, problem solving, judgment, muscle memory. Also includes Broca’s area. Parietal Lobe Touch perception and goal directed voluntary movements Temporal Lobe Hearing ability, memory acquisition and long-term storage (hippocampus), sense of identity, behavior and emotions (amygdala). Also includes Wernicke’s area. Occipital Lobe Primary visual reception area Brain Stem Involuntary responses and actions (breathing, heart rate, swallowing, startle response). Damage here can affect level of alertness and ability to sleep. Cerebellum Regulation and coordination of movement and balance
Neurological Disorder Terms • Aphasia – Language impairment usually due to left hemisphere damage to Broca’s (impairing expression) or Wernicke’s (impairing understanding). • Agnosia – Can’t recognize every day objects • Ataxia – lack of gross motor coordination • Apraxia– inability to carry out directed motor functions even though directions are understood
Musculoskeletal System • Composed of bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and other connective tissue • Provides form, support, stability and movement to the body
Musculoskeletal System (cont.) Elements of the musculoskeletal system: • Bones – provide support for the body, protect body organs, produce blood cells, store minerals • Cartilage – a firm substance that prevents bone to bone contact • Tendons – attach the muscle to the bone • Ligaments – attach bone to bone • Skeletal Muscles – attached to the bone by tendons; move bones through contracting • Type 1: slow/endurance • Type 2: fast/sprint
Causes of Severe Physical Handicaps • Physical disabilities and health conditions are classified as either congenital or acquired. • Congenital : either are born with physical difficulties or develop them soon after birth • Acquired : developed through injury or disease while the child is developing normally. The age at which a condition develops often determines its impact on the child.
Convulsive DisordersDefinition • Characterized by having seizures • Seizures occur when a burst of electrical impulses in the brain escape their normal limits. They spread to other areas and create an uncontrolled storm of electrical activity. The electrical impulses can be transmitted to the muscles, causing jerking or convulsions. • Though seizures can be concomitant with other disorders, but when it occurs alone, it is considered epilepsy
Convulsive DisordersCauses • In 70% of cases, the cause of epilepsy is unknown. • When the cause is known it is usually due to a brain injury of some kind. • Other possible causes: hypoxia, stroke, abnormal levels of substances (e.g., sodium, blood sugar) that temporarily deprive the brain of required nutrients • About 30% of those with epilepsy are children
Convulsive Disorders Types • There are two main categories of seizures: Generalized Seizures and Partial Seizures • Two most common types of seizures*: • Grand Mal seizures (loss of consciousness, collapse, violent jerking) Video Clip • Absence seizures (mostly in children, brief loss of consciousness, no jerking, may occur several times a day) Video Clip * There are other types of seizures; however, these two are the most common
Convulsive DisordersRecommendations • Social Skills Groups • Structure and consistent schedule • Frequent breaks • Clear and consistent rules at home and at school with consequences for behavior • Check for understanding frequently • Be aware absence seizures may be occurring throughout the day, which may affect memory
Cerebral PalsyDefinition and Causes • Cerebral palsy is a condition, sometimes thought of as a group of disorders, that can involve brain and nervous system functions such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing, and thinking. • Caused by injuries or abnormalities of the brain • Usually occurs during pregnancy • Risk Factors: premature birth, infections, severe jaundice, hypoxia, traumatic brain hemorrhage, toxicity
Cerebral PalsySymptoms • Most common symptoms: • Muscles that are very tight and do not stretch. • Abnormal walk (gait) • Joints are tight and do not open up all the way • Paralysis • May affect one arm or leg, one side of the body, both legs, or both arms and legs
Cerebral PalsySymptoms • Other Symptoms: • Speech problems • Seizures • Cognitive Impairment (around 50% have ID) • Hearing/vision problems • Difficulty swallowing
Cerebral PalsyAcademic Implications/ Recommendations • Due to physical limitations and speech problems, the following accommodations/modifications are usually necessary : • Physical therapy • Occupational therapy • Speech therapy • Communication devices/computer technology • Special Day Classes, depending on the cognitive and communication level of the student • Video clip
Fredreich’s AtaxiaDefinition and Causes • Genetic disorder caused by a defect in the gene Frataxin (FXN), which causes the body to produce too much of part of the DNA called trinucleotide repeat (GAA). • Symptoms are caused by the wearing away of areas of the brain and spinal cord that control coordination, muscle movement, some sensory functions, and may also affect the heart.
Fredreich’s AtaxiaSymptoms • Common symptoms include: • Abnormal speech • Changes in vision, particularly color vision • Hearing loss - occurs in about 10% of patients • Jerky eye movements • Loss of coordination and balance, which leads to frequent falls • Muscle weakness • Unsteady gait and uncoordinated movements (ataxia) • Muscle problems (can lead to scoliosis) • Heart disease • Diabetes (later stages)
Fredreich’s AtaxiaAcademic Implications/ Recommendations • Speech therapy • Physical therapy • Occupational therapy • Walking aids or wheelchairs • Access to keyboard or computer • May need to alter PE requirements • Longer time for tests and in class assignments • Use of a scribe • Letting the student leave a few minutes early for lunch or between classes to miss crowds
Neural Tube DefectsDefinition and Causes • Neural tube defects are birth defects of the brain, spinal cord, or vertebrae. • Causes: environmental (e.g., diabetes, obesity, drugs), nutritional components (e.g., folic acid deficiencies
Neural Tube DefectsTypes • Anencephaly: Most of the brain does not develop. Most fetuses spontaneously abort and those that are born rarely survive. • Encephalocele: The bones of the skull do not completely close and a sac like formation with brain tissue and spinal fluid protrudes outside the head skull. • Spina bifida: the fetal spinal column doesn’t close completely during the first month of pregnancy. There is usually nerve damage that causes at least some paralysis of the legs.
Neural Tube DefectsTypes of Spina Bifida • Spina bifida occulta: The bones of the spine do not close but the spinal cord and meninges remain in place and skin usually covers the defect. Mildest form. • Meningoceles: The tissue covering the spinal cord sticks out of the spinal defect but the spinal cord remains in place. Rarest form. • Myelomeningocele: is a birth defect in which the backbone and spinal canal do not close before birth. Most severe form.
Neural Tube DefectsSymptoms/Academic Implications • Symtpoms: • Varying degrees of paralysis of the lower limbs • Most children will have some form of a learning disability • Possible bowel and bladder complications • May have hydrocephalus • Academic Implications: • May need a bladder management program • Difficulties with attention • Trouble expressing or understanding language • Problems with reading or math • Depending on cognitive level, may benefit from more intense services such as placement in an SDC class
Muscular DystrophyDefinition and causes • Also called Inherited Myopathy or MD • Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited disorders that involve muscle weakness and loss of muscle tissue, which get worse over time. • Incidence: about 1 in 651,450 persons in the United States. • May occur in childhood or adulthood • The more severe forms tend to occur in early childhood.
Muscular DystrophyTypes • There are many different types of muscular dystrophy. They include: • Becker muscular dystrophy • Duchenne muscular dystrophy • Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy • Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy • Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy • Myotonia congenita • Myotonic dystrophy • Duchenne’s and Becker’s muscular dystrophies affect males almost exclusively. • Severity depends on type. Duchenne MD is deadly, while others can cause little disability.
Muscular DystrophySymptoms • Different types of MD present different symptoms and affect specific muscle groups. • All of the muscles may be affected (including the heart). Or, only specific groups of muscles may be affected, such as those around the pelvis, shoulder, or face. • Reading disabilities are common • Mental retardation is present in some types of the condition
Muscular DystrophyAcademicImplications/Recommendations • There are no known cures for the various muscular dystrophies. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. • In some cases, surgery on the spine or legs can improve functioning • Treatment may include: • Physical therapy • Orthopedic appliances such as braces and wheelchairs • Corticosteroids (especially for children) • Maintaining an active lifestyle
Traumatic Paraplegia and QuadriplegiaDefinition and Prevalence • “Traumatic” injury: Characterized by damage to the bones of the spine that surround the spinal cord, often resulting in damage to the nerves inside the spinal column. • Traumatic quadriplegia: Spinal cord or nerve root deficit not involving the cranial nerves above and including C8, T1 roots. • Traumatic paraplegia: Spinal cord or nerve root deficit below and including T2. • Complete: Complete motor and sensory deficit below the level of the injury. • Incomplete: Any sensory or motor sparing below the level of injury including perianal sensation.
Traumatic Paraplegia and QuadriplegiaCommon Causes • Broken neck or back neck caused by: • Vehicular accidents 37% • Violence 28% • Falls 21% • Sports-related 6% • Other 8% (e.g., complications following surgery) • SCI can also be caused by so-called ‘non-traumatic’ cord injury, such as: • Infection of the spinal nerve cells • Cysts or tumours pressing on the spinal cord • Interruption of the blood supply to the spinal cord • Congenital medical conditions (e.g., spina bifida)
Traumatic Paraplegia and QuadriplegiaSymptoms Common symptoms include: • Loss of sensation and motor function • Dysfunction of the bowel and bladder • Impaired or lost sexual functioning • Men may have their fertility affected, while a women's fertility is generally not affected. • Low blood pressure • Reduced control of body temperature • Inability to sweat below the level of injury • Chronic pain.
Traumatic Paraplegia and QuadriplegiaAcademic Implications & Recommendations • Functioning will vary based on location of damage and severity of symptoms • Many require assistance for personal care • Physical therapy • Occupational therapy • Counseling • Adapted power wheelchairs • Tape recorders • Computers • Page turners • Mouth control (sip and puff) units • Voice activation, chin control, head control, eyebrow control, or eye blink • Balanced forearm orthosis (brace) for forearm and wrist stability
Connective Tissue DiseaseDefinition & Causes • Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD): uncommon autoimmune disorder that features the connective tissues as a primary target for pathology. • Connective tissues: The structural portions of our body that essentially hold the cells of the body together. • Characterized as a group by the presence of spontaneous overactivity of the immune system which results in the production of extra antibodies into the circulation. Leads to inflammation in tissues. • Classified under autoimmune disorders • Most commonly diagnosed in women in their 20’s and 30’s • Some are inherited (e.g., Marfan Syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome); others have no known cause or are believed to be triggered by infection
Connective Tissue DiseaseTypes • Causes overlapping features of primarily three connective tissue diseases — • lupus • scleroderma • polymyositis • May also have features of rheumatoid arthritis • Each can be identified by a blood test and distinctive, classic symptoms • Can be “undifferentiated” at first, as symptom onset can be gradual • Pediatric MCTD occurs in children under the age of 16. MCTD is three times more frequent in girls than boys. • 93% of children with pediatric MCTD have arthritis
Connective Tissue DiseaseSymptoms • Symptoms: • Raynaud's disease — blood vessel spasms that interrupt blood flow to the fingers, toes, ears and nose • Fatigue • General feeling of being unwell (malaise) • Muscle pains (myalgias) • Joint pains (athralgias) • Mild fever • Joint swelling • Swollen hands and puffy fingers • Shortness of breath and chest pain (uncommon but dangerous; could be pulmonary hypertension) • Often begins with fever, decreased energy, and weakness • Can range from mild to life-threatening
Connective Tissue DiseaseAcademic Implications & Recommendations • Can be treated with medication; may require only for flare-ups, or all the time • Prognosis can vary; some go into remission, and others have more serious, long-lasting symptoms but can still lead an active, productive life • Pay attention to medication side effects (e.g., nausea, weight gain, hair loss) • Recommendations will vary by symptoms
Resources • Epilepsy.com: www.epilepsy.com • Epilepsy Foundation: www.epilepsyfoundation.org • Spina Bifida Asspciation: www.spinabifidaassociation.org • The Nemours Foundation. Provides information for kids, teens, and parents: Kidshealth.org • United Cerebral Palsy: www.ucp.org • 4MyChild: www.cerebralpalsy.org • The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance: www.curefa.org • Muscular Dystrophy Association: www.mdausa.org • American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.: www.aarda.org