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Special Education Characteristics, Accommodations and Strategies

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Orthopedically Impaired


The term orthopedic impairment refers to a severe physical impairment that adversely affects a child's learning and/or educational performance. This includes impairments caused by:

  • Congenital anomaly; clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.
  • Disease; poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.
  • Other causes; cerebral palsy, amputations, fractures or burns that cause contractures, etc.

A physical impairment frequently is identified in combination with other disabling conditions that often cause or contribute to the significant adverse effect on learning.  (


  1. May have limited mobility
  2. May have difficulty writing if upper extemities are involved
  3. May have speech difficulties
  4. May have limited social interaction skills
  5. May have limited ability to perform activities of daily living


  1. Preferential seating
  2. Flexible time limits
  3. Reduced assignments
  4. Larger desk, lap tray or table
  5. Special grips, pens or pencils
  6. Assistive technology
  7. Reduced assignments
  8. Alternative grading scale


  1. Build an accepting environment in your classroom
  2. Provide summaries, notes, study guides
  3. Use visual aides
  4. Allow for hands-on learning
  5. Make every activity accessible to the student
  6. Teach classmates to help only when asked by the student with OI
  7. Build on the child's strengths
  8. Ensure accessibility in and out of classroom



This site was created by Ann Kuehnel who is
a classroom teaching in the
Springfield School District,
Springfield, Illinois.