Physical disability is a broad term that can include any condition that has a lifelong impact on a person’s ability to move or control their body movements. Physical disability may impact a child’s ability to complete everyday tasks independently and participate in activities.
There are many different types and causes of physical disability. Physical disability can include things like paralysis (e.g. inability to move one or more limbs), problems with muscle tone, reduced balance or steadiness, reduced gross motor control (e.g. challenges with walking, running), and reduced fine motor control (e.g. challenges with writing, doing up shoe laces). Common causes of physical disability include acquired brain injury (e.g. after a stroke), spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, loss of limbs and muscular dystrophy.
Sometimes people may assume that kids with physical disabilities have difficulties with thinking and understanding. This is often not the case. Teachers should speak with the child’s parents or guardians if they are unsure about how much they say is being understood.