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Teaching Disabled Students
Mobility Impairments

Mobility impairments refer to a broad range of disabilities which limit functions of moving in any of the limbs, or in fine motor ability. Common disabilities include arthritis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and amputation. Additionally, respiratory disorders, pulmonary disease and cardiac diseases are not visible, but may consequently affect mobility. Students with mobility impairments rely on assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches and artificial limbs to obtain mobility. Mobility impairments may involve limitations in performing certain acts such as entering classrooms, sitting for long periods of time, manipulating pencils and writing. Depending on the student's individual needs, the following strategies may be helpful.

Instructional Strategies to Help Students with Mobility Impairments

  • Refer any physical barriers to classroom accessibility to the office of Services for Individuals with Disabilities immediately.
  • Permit students to use tape recorders or notetakers to adequately record course material when appropriate.
  • Team the student with a laboratory partner or assistant.
  • Allow in-class written assignments to be completed out of class when appropriate.
  • Extend deadline and/or employ "Incomplete" grades when appropriate.
  • Allow extended time on tests as recommended on support plans. Students may need to use a scribe or write answers for themselves.
  • Students who cannot write answers for themselves may need to take oral or taped exams.
  • Make occasional allowance for late arrivals to class if students are using devices such as crutches, wheelchairs, canes, or walkers.
  • Rearrange desks to allow extra space needed for wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and crutches.