21. Special Education Overidentification 2011: Orthopedic Impairment

“…means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and impairments from other causes (e.g.,cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).

Categories of Disability under IDEA Law

No immediate information is available for overidentification of orthopedic impairment in schools.  Children who have visible anomalies present more concrete evidence of disability than emotional disturbance, for example.  However, there is no guarantee that orthopedic impairment leads to functional deficits and /or reduced educational performance.  There is always a tendency to over-attribute deficit to the physically handicapped.  A gifted child with a missing leg would not be expected to have a school disability unless he or she qualified as an emotionally handicapped child, for example.  And is there a prosthesis?

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