Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities

Posted: December 2nd, 2013

Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities








Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities

Disability can be defined as either a physical or mental impairment that derails or limits one or more activities in an affected person’s life. The type, number and severity of disability vary from one person to another. This implies that there are people with severe cases of disability than others, and those with more than one kind of disability. Persons with more than one type of disability are said to suffer from multiple disorders. Types of disabilities include blindness, deafness and being handicapped in the limbs.

Various aspects of a person’s life can be affected by disability. Other than the physical aspect, more areas include social and emotional aspects. It is through the social aspect that one’s education becomes affected. Going by the fact that education serves a major part in anyone’s life, nothing that affects it can be overlooked. Education is universal thus everyone is entitled to it regardless of whether they are disabled or not. It is with this notion that players in the education sector worldwide are seeking to revolutionize education to cater for students with disabilities. This service is often referred to as special education.

How Do They Define The Disorders In Terms Of Education?

With regard to education, a disorder can be described as a gap in terms of the number of years between a student’s potential and that student’s performance in a particular academic field. This means that there is a certain aspect of a student’s life that derails their capability to perform better by slowing them down. There are various types of disorders such as autism, bipolar disorder, cerebral palsy among others. In education, such students are referred to as special needs students. “Special” concerns the related services that meet the unique needs of a student with disability.



What Are The Needs Of These Students?

The needs of students with the above-mentioned disorders can be placed into different categories. The categories include physical, social, academic and types of therapy among others. Common special needs include challenges with development, sensory issues, emotional and behavioral disorders, communication and physical impairments. It is crucial to note that this needs vary with a student’s disability meaning that each is unique. Having information about the needs of each student helps in identifying how best to help them.

What Are The Characteristics Of The Special Need Students?

Characteristics of special needs students differ according to their disability and their age, just like their needs. The characteristics displayed can also be used to determine their needs. Many of these characteristics can be detected while a child is still young. In order to point out the different characteristics, one would need to classify them according to the type of disability. Physical deformities are just but an example, evident in those with physical disabilities such as visual impediments. They avoid bright lights, have trouble focusing often mistaken for inattentiveness. In the example of behavioral disabilities, characteristics would include aggressive tendencies, withdrawal, fear or anxiety and hyperactivity.

What Are The Medical Implications?

All these disabilities and disorders have varied medical implications. This refers to the way the particular disabilities affect the students’ health. Again, it is notable that each disability has its unique set of implications. However, common examples include the impact on organ health, digestion, appetite and eating, mobility and even premature death in cases of severe disorders.

What Are The Educational Implications?

Educational implications are the effects of disability on a person’s academic or educational life. Much time and effort is spent dealing with one’s disability that little time is left for the education process. For education to be effectively carried out much energy and time needs to be exerted into it. In the case of students with unique needs, there is more on their plates than being tutored. This is because of a number of reasons such as the physical and medical impact that their disability has on their lives. Little energy is left to absorb and process information from the environment that is necessary for the learning activity. It is therefore safe to say that special needs students are sometimes affected negatively by their disability. The common aftermath is that they end up not performing well even though they have a lot of potential. Other than normal human development, education has proven to be quite a challenge for students with severe and multiple disabilities.

The above educational implications need to assessed thoroughly and a way forward presented in due time. This is in order to help special needs students to acquire the same knowledge with their counterparts without disabilities. Special services should be reinforced to cater for their needs. Consideration should also be put so that these students are not alienated from the rest, rather the school should be one community. Teaching aids should be used such as typewriters, clamps, wheelchairs, computers and communication boards. This way, special needs students, are able to adapt comfortably to the learning environment.

What Are The Concerns In The Classroom?

There are various concerns associated with the classroom for both students with disabilities and their instructors. One of them is integrating with non-disabled peers. It is essential that this take place to make disabled students feel at home and for their non-disabled peers to develop an attitude change. This forms part of social acceptance and human support. Another concern is health, which is crucial when dealing with persons with a disability in a classroom setting. An instructor needs to ensure that nothing happens that will endanger the health of any student. Health therefore goes hand in hand with the concern on safety. Access to the curriculum is also a concern considering the amount of time those special needs students spend away from school. Lastly, motivation also serves as a major concern.

What are the teachers’ responsibilities?

Teachers have an exceptionally crucial role to play in the education of people with severe and multiple disabilities. They are responsible for coming up with lesson plans that will cater for individual students’ needs. In addition, they should address all the concerns that arise in the classroom other than performing their teaching duties.

Describe The Classroom, Teacher Interactions, And Activities.

 Descriptions of classrooms vary considerably especially when it comes to students with special needs. Those students with severe disabilities are hugely affected, as they may have to be put in separate classrooms or separate schools. Classroom settings are different according to whether they are in regular schools, separate schools for individual needs students or in community settings. Teacher interactions with students vary. However, they are often equipped to handle the different levels of students’ needs that they encounter in their profession. The activities carried out by teachers are defined by the curriculum, needs of students and their own initiative. These activities are mostly educational and aim at tracking student progress and helping those with troubles of performance.

With the knowledge put across about students with special needs, a lot has to be done to ensure they gain as much from education as their non-disabled peers. It is evident that they face many challenges in their pursuit of education, a fact that should inspire other people to help and support such students.








Browder, D. M. (2001). Curriculum and Assessment for Students with Moderate and Severe Disabilities. US: Guilford Press

Downing, J. (2002). Including Students With Severe and Multiple Disabilities in Typical Classrooms: Practical Strategies for Teachers. Michigan: P.H. Brookes Pub.

Falvo, D. R. (2005). Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Illness and Disability. Mississaugua, Canada: Jones and Bartlett Publishers

Sarathy, P. (2005). Serving Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities: A Guide to Strategies for Successful Learning. US: LRP Publications

Sobsey, R. (2004). Educating Children with Multiple Disabilities: A Collaborative Approach.P.H. Virginia: Brookes Pub. Co.

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