Student Profiles: Mobility Impaired

Definition: Students who are only restricted in their ability to walk such as those requiring wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, etc. Generally speaking, physical disabilities involve either orthopedic (skeletal system) or neurological (nervous system) impairments.

Equipment considerations for students with mobility and dexterity impairments should include:
• ergonomic designs of adjustable chair, desks, monitors, printers and keyboard locations
• other hardware and software for keyboard and mouse operation such as one-hand typing, wrist rests, key guards, special software to control key strokes
• input alternatives such as joysticks mouse, trackball, touch pad, puff device, mouth wand and voice input devices such as Dragon Dictate products and Via Voice
• scanners with matching software
Diagnosis: Mobility Impaired (Student "G"):

Student "G" is a 22 year old female, recently graduated from secondary school. She has Cerebral Palsy, a neuromuscular impairment that resulted from trauma at birth. Paralysis and lack of coordination is evident and her speech is slow and understandable. Student "G" has been accepted into the Clerical Services Program. Already determined, is that student "G" has had a classroom attendant throughout her education and has written all final exams in the school's resource classroom. She has utilized adaptive technology (computer hardware or software), although she knows it exists. She has always completed written assignments independently or by dictation to a scribe. Student "G" reports that frustration escalates with writing activities because of the time required for her to complete these tasks. She has always limited her course enrollment to 2-3 courses as a result. Student "G" has agreed to explore technology alternatives and is referred to an appropriate source.


Relevant Accommodations:

Teaching Tips:

• paralysis on one side

• able to walk

• uncoordinated muscle movements

• memory deficits

• average intelligence

• emergency consideration of time to physically navigate in the environment

• adapted keyboard, mouse for side dominance and one-hand operation

• extended time to complete in-class assignments and tests

• note-takers• reduced load study (3-4 courses per semester)

• training in effective learning strategies for memory; receiving, storing, manipulating and retrieving information to be learned

• counselling support

• equipment and materials need to be accessible

• field trips should consider physical access issues prior to initiating

• multi-sensory approach in teaching activities

• effective pace

• provide a structured introduction of the lesson; what and how of information to be learned

• repetition of material to be learned

Mobility Impaired (Student "H"):

Student "H" has Multiple Sclerosis; a degenerative neurological disease. He is 24 years of age and has not completed secondary school. His application and acceptance to college is based on his status as a mature student. Student "H" resides at home and his family are very involved in decision-making. Recently, a community social worker has become involved in residential planning for a move into accessible housing. "H" schedules public transit (adapted bus) for transportation, and can operate his motorized wheelchair slowly, but independently. The current semester is exploratory for "H". He is unsure about continuing and has selected a General Arts Program for registration purposes. He is also unsure about potential careers and wants intellectual stimulation in the short term. In the most recent years of secondary school, "H" registered for 2 courses per semester. He had a male attendant with him at all times and completed all tests and exams in the school's resource centre.


Relevant Accommodations:

Teaching Tips:

• paralysis of lower extremities

• limited range of movement in neck, shoulders, arms and hands due to muscle weakness

• weak grasp; functional use

• visual impairment

• slow, slurred speech

• afternoon fatigue

• attendant care

• individualized emergency evacuation plan

• reduced course load

• extended time, oral tests, scribe

• note-takers• scribes as needed

• adapted time table---morning classes enlargement software and word processing

• counselling support

• accessible classroom, barrier-free furniture

• close proximity to professor and all visual materials

• provide a set of overheads and similar materials for desk reference during class

• when communicating directly, allow for adequate response time

• adequate opportunities to discuss and make proper extenuation arrangements for in-class assignments

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