Orthopedic Impairment

Orthopedic impairment

Any impairment to a child’s body, no matter what the cause, is considered an orthopedic impairment. One example is cerebral palsy. This condition is caused by damage to areas of the brain that control the body.

The definition of an, 'Orthopedic Impairment,' is one that includes impairments caused by congenital anomalies such as absence of a member, clubfoot, impairments caused by disease such as bone tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, or impairments for other causes to include amputations, fractures, cerebral palsy, burns, or fractures, for example:

A neuromotor impairment is one that has caused damage to or is considered to be an, 'abnormality,' of the child's spinal cordbrain, or nervous system. Neuromotor impairments are ones that are acquired either at or prior to the birth of the child and many times result in complex motor issues that may affect a number of their body systems. Neuromotor impairments may include ones such as limited limb movement, a loss of appropriate alignment of the child's spine, or loss of urinary control. Two of the most common forms of neuromotor impairments include spina bifida and cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy is a general term that refers to a number of non-progressive disorders which affect voluntary movement and posture that are caused by malfunctions or damages to a person's brain and occur prior to or during birth, or within the first few years of the person's life. People with cerebral palsy experience involuntary, and/or uncoordinated movements. Four of the more common forms of cerebral palsy include Athetoid, Spastic, Ataxic, and Mixed. Cerebral palsy may also be classified according to the person's limbs that are affected. These classifications include:


There are three main categories of orthopedic impairment:

  • Neuromotor impairment, such as from cerebral palsy. ...
  • Degenerative diseases, like muscular dystrophy, which slowly destroy the structure and/or function of tissues.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders, such as a missing limb.


In order for the student to access the general curriculum, the student may require these accommodations:

  • Special seating arrangements to develop useful posture and movements
  • Instruction focused on development of gross and fine motor skills
  • Securing suitable augmentative communication and other assistive devices
  • Awareness of medical condition and its affect on the student (such as getting tired quickly)

Students with orthopedic disabilities may also use devices for both mobility and positioning. The assistive devices they use are focused on assisting them to participate in educational activities.

The devices these students use may include: