Cerebral Palsy is disorder that can affect various systems in the body. It may make it difficult for a student to move, hear, see, and think. For the student, this condition makes it difficult to participate or directly affect the ability to learn. Students may also frequently be out of class due to doctor’s appointments for treatments, speech therapists to assist in building communication skills, or even physical therapists to help the students to exercise, stretch, and strengthen and move muscles. The teacher needs to have a basic understanding of cerebral palsy in order to best serve any students with this disorder. It also important to work together along with the student, parents, doctors, therapists, and other special education professionals to help the student to achieve learning and social goals.
Classroom Layout & Student Socialization
About.com has a great resource for teachers and parents to help prepare a student with cerebral palsy for school. Most likely, the classroom layout may need to be changed in order to make it easily accessible for the student. Aisles and desks may need to be separated further apart and computer center will need adaptations like having raised desks for a wheel chair to fit under, voice activated computer systems, or the use of switches.
Teachers should also prepare the other students to help them to understand the condition of the student with cerebral palsy. This should be done with the approval or even assistance from the parents. However, it should also be recognized that the student should be included and treated as a normal student – just with accommodations.
This site also has links to other sites to assist teachers in preparing or planning lessons for students with cerebral palsy.
Tech Tools for CP
eHow also has a great article about helping students with Cerebral Palsy. They support the ideas that I have read in many articles on this subject. They all stress the use of assistive technology – laptops, switches, specialty keyboards, or even pencil grips. They also stress the importance of working as a team with the other specialists, administration, parents, doctors, and teachers to help the student to work to achieve academic success in the least-restrictive environment. Lastly, they also stress the importance that even though the student many look different or may have difficulty communicating, it doesn’t mean that the student is any less intelligent than other students.
Videos Incorporating Technology with Students with Cerebral Palsy
- High School Student Victoria using an EasyStand
- Brycen using Switches to play computer games
- Cerebral Palsy Remix Video – student successes (will make you cry)
- Medical Expert Speaking out about Cerebral Palsy – shows therapy and technology
Article By Laura Ketcham
Picture By Extra Ketchup