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Types of impairments

A physical impairment affects the ability to move or to coordinate and control movement when performing tasks.
certain parts of the body.

Different body systems may be involved:

* musculoskeletal -- involving the joints, limbs and associated muscles;

* neurological -- involving the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves).

There is a wide range of conditions that may result in a physical impairment including:

* cerebral palsy

* spina bifida

* muscular dystrophy

* arthritis

* osteogenesis imperfecta

* congenital malformation of the limbs

* some acquired brain injury

* some orthopaedic conditions.

Some chronic health and/or medical problems such as burns or cancer may also affect a student's physical develo

A physical impairment may be:

* present from birth (congenital) or acquired later (e.g. through an accident or illness); and

* progressive or non-progressive (this refers to whether or not the condition increases in extent or severity).

2. Sensory Impairments

(a) Visual Impairment

Visual impairment represents a continuum, from people with very poor vision, to people who can
see light but no shapes, to people who have no perception of light at all. However, for general
discussion it is useful to think of this population as representing two broad groups: those with low
vision and those who are legally blind. There are an estimated 8.6 million people with visual
impairments (3.4% of the U.S. population). In the elderly population the percentage of persons
with visual impairments is very high.

A person is termed legally blind when their visual acuity (sharpness of vision) is 20/200 or worse
after correction, or when their field of vision is less than 20 degrees in the best eye after
correction. There are approximately 580,000 people in the US who are legally blind.

Low vision includes problems (after correction) such as dimness of vision, haziness, film over the
eye, foggy vision, extreme near-or farsightedness, distortion of vision, spots before the eyes, color
distortions, visual field defects, tunnel vision, no peripheral vision, abnormal sensitivity to light or
glare, and night blindness. There are approximately 1.8 million people in the US with severe visual
impairments who are not legally blind.
Many diseases causing severe visual impairments are common in those who are aging (glaucoma,
cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy). With current demographic trends
toward a larger proportion of elderly, the incidence of visual impairments will certainly increase.

(b)Hearing impairments:
Hearing Impairments make it difficult or impossible to hear lecturers, access multimedia materials,
and participate in discussions. Examples of accommodations for students who are deaf or hard of
hearing include:

* Interpreter, real-time captioning, FM system, notetaker.

* Open or closed-captioned films, use of visual aids.

* Written assignments, lab instructions, demonstration summaries.

* Visual warning system for lab emergencies

* Use of electronic mail for class and private discussions

3. Speech and language impairments

Definition of speech-language impairment

A speech-language impairment involves the neurological, cognitive and/or physical structures and
functions specific to speech-language processing. The impairment relates to a student's capacity in
speech/language comprehension and/or production that significantly impacts on the student's
educational progress compared with their age cohort.

The diagnosis and its educational impact must be substantiated by data provided by the speech-
language pathologist and the educational team. The diagnosis and impact must be verified by the
appropriate speech- language pathologist-in-charge and senior guidance officer.

It involves both speech and language disorders.

4.Specific learning disabilities-

The symptoms of learning disabilities are a diverse set of characteristics which affect development
and achievement. Some of these symptoms can be found in all children at some time during their
development. However, a person with learning disabilities has a cluster of these symptoms which
do not disappear as s/he grows older.

Most frequently displayed symptoms:

* Short attention span

* Poor memory

* Difficulty following directions

* Inability to discriminate between/among letters, numerals, or sounds

* Poor reading and/or writing ability

* Eye-hand coordination problems; poorly coordinated

* Difficulties with sequencing

* Disorganization and other sensory difficulties

Other characteristics that may be present:

* Performs differently from day to day

* Responds inappropriately in many instances

* Distractible, restless, impulsive

* Says one thing, means another

* Difficult to discipline

* Doesn’t adjust well to change

* Difficulty listening and remembering

* Difficulty telling time and knowing right from left

* Difficulty sounding out words

* Reverses letters

* Places letters in incorrect sequence

* Difficulty understanding words or concepts

* Delayed speech development; immature speech

5. Cognitive impairments- Includes memory, perception, problem-solving, conceptualisation and

attention deficits. This may result from a range of conditions such as mental retardation, autism,
brain injury, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and old age.