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Limited Mobility Factsheet (for Schools)

What Teachers Should Know

A student's mobility -- the ability to get around freely -- can be limited due to diseases and conditions like muscular dystrophy, arthritis, and cerebral palsy; injuries; or birth defects. Mobility might be limited in the lower body, upper body, or both.

Students with limited mobility may:

  • use splints, casts, leg braces, canes, crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs
  • need extra time or help to move around classrooms, between classes, and throughout school
  • be late to class due to problems getting around
  • miss class time to do occupational therapy or physical therapy
  • use assistive technology to help with writing and other activities
  • need extra time to complete assignments
  • need special seats and desks or tables, and extra space for wheelchairs or other equipment
  • need someone else to take notes; or have class lectures, discussions, and activities recorded via video or audio

What Teachers Can Do

Educators, therapists, parents, and students with limited mobility can work together to create an educational plan. This may include setting up an individualized education program (IEP) or 504 plan with accommodations to make getting around easier.

To support students in your classroom:

  • Make sure the classroom is easy to get around and free of obstacles.
  • Encourage students to ask for help when needed and to plan their routines and tasks ahead of time.
  • Have an evacuation plan ready in case of fire drills or emergencies so all students can leave the classroom quickly and safely.
  • Make sure students with mobility issues are included in all classroom activities and any field trips. Transportation and locations for field trips should be accessible to all students. Work with parents on ways to make activities work that could be challenging for students with limited mobility.

You also might change the classroom environment or some approaches to lessons so that your students with limited mobility can learn in the best possible way.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date Reviewed: Mar 17, 2021

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