Supporting Physically Disabled Students

Teenage girl in wheelchair working in class
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For students with physical disabilities, self-image is extremely important. Teachers need to ensure that the child's self-image is positive. Physically disabled students are aware of the fact that they are physically different than most others and that there are certain things they cannot do. Peers can be cruel to other children with physical disabilities and become involved in teasing, casting insulting remarks and excluding physically disabled children from games and group type activities. Physically disabled children want to succeed and participate as much as they can and this needs to be encouraged and fostered by the teacher. The focus needs to be on what the child CAN do - not can't do.

Strategies That Can Help Students

  1. Find out what the child's strengths are and capitalize on them. These children need to feel successful too!
  2. Keep your expectations of the physically disabled child high. This child is capable of achieving.
  3. By the same token, ask the child what limits and boundaries they have regarding their disability.
  4. Never accept rude remarks, name calling or teasing from other children. Sometimes other children need to be taught about physical disabilities to develop respect and acceptance.
  5. Compliment appearance from time to time. (For example, notice new hair barrettes or a new outfit).
  6. Make adjustments and accommodations whenever possible to enable this child to participate.
  7. Never pity the physically disabled child, they do not want your pity.
  8. Take the opportunity when the child is absent to teach the rest of the class about physical disabilities, this will help foster understanding and acceptance.
  9. Take frequent 1-to-1 time with the child to make sure that he/she is aware that you're there to help when needed.

I hope these insights will help you to maximize the learning opportunities for the physically disabled child.

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Your Citation
Watson, Sue. "Supporting Physically Disabled Students." ThoughtCo, Feb. 9, 2022, Watson, Sue. (2022, February 9). Supporting Physically Disabled Students. Retrieved from Watson, Sue. "Supporting Physically Disabled Students." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 2, 2023).