Physical Impairment

Physical impairment is a dysfunction of the musculoskeletal and/or neurological body systems, which affects the functional ability of a student to move or coordinate movement.

Physical impairment is recognised as:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions – involving the joints, limbs and associated muscles and/or
  • Neurological conditions – involving the central nervous system i.e. brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves which affect the ability to move or to coordinate the control movement.

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

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spina bifida
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Arthritis
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • Congenital malformation of the limbs
  • Some acquired brain injuries
  • Some orthopaedic conditions.

A physical impairment may be present from birth (congenital) or acquired later (e.g. through an accident or illness). It can be progressive or non-progressive (this refers to whether or not the condition increases in extent or severity).

There are many organisations that can provide support to people with physical impairments.  Below are links to some of these organisations:

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