Muscular Dystrophy

"Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them"

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular Dystrophy is a disease that causes healthy muscles tissues to deteriorate over time. Symptoms generally start when patients are younger. MD is a genetic disease.

How to help students with Fine Motor Skills?

  • Implement school based strategies provided by Physical or Occupational Therapist
  • Use assistive devices, like pencil grips and various sizes of writing tools
  • Create an opportunity for them to do partner work with students with strong fine motor skills
  • Use assistive technology and computers
  • Use larger-lined paper
  • Teach cursive writing
  • Teach keyboarding skills or voice-to-text software
  • Provide a physical mouse rather than a touchpad
  • Use preferential seating for an easier access to assistive technology
  • Provide a larger or slanted work space
  • Use stress balls to massage a tired hand
  • Substitute a key lock for a combination lock
  • Monitor for safety at all times
  • Provide extra time
  • Provide an opportunity for an oral assessment
  • Provide choices in assignments

How to help students with Gross Motor Skills?

  • Use assistive devices as prescribed
  • Reward efforts
  • Provide frequent breaks
  • Specially teach physical education skills that are attainable by the student
  • Focus on successes and improvements
  • Use preferential seating so that the student is close to supplies
  • Ensure safety by providing enough spaces for the student to walk to his/her designated spot
  • Provide elevator if necessarily
  • Develop and practices a plan for emergency evacuations to ensure safety
  • Use assistive devices
  • Provide breaks
  • For physical education assessment, reduce demonstration expectations

Picture books for teaching Social-Emotional skills

iPad Apps for students with Muscular Dystrophy

Personal Care

  • Provide extra time for personal care needs to be met
  • Develop a scheduled for staff support for the student
  • Allow extra time for task completion
  • Privately talk to the student about self-care
  • Use preferential seating, so that the student has room to enter and exit
  • Provide access in elevators
  • Provide access to extra locker space
  • Provide extra time
  • Use computers and assistive technology
  • Use oral tests and/or a scribe
  • Allow breaks for self-care and/or to combat fatigue
  • Provide a choice in assessments

Self-Advocacy Skills


  • Role play
  • Model asking for help
  • Develop a signal for the student to use to ask for help
  • Recognize when others in the class effectively self-advocate
  • Frequently check in for understanding

  • Post steps on how to ask for help in the classroom
  • Use preferential seating, placing the student close to the teacher or to peers whom the student would be comfortable asking for help

  • Ensure the student understands the questions
  • Ensure the student has the necessary materials for tests/assignments
  • Chunk assignments into parts and provide frequent feedback



  • Directly teach strategies and vocabulary related to self-esteem
  • Focus on successes and strengths
  • Reinforce even small improvements and efforts
  • Pre-determine peer groupings to maximize chances of success
  • Provide opportunities for the student to recognize their strengths
  • Use strength profiles and personality inventories

  • Post classroom rules which encourages high self-esteem

  • Ensure that the student is in a positive frame of mind at the time of a test
  • Provide choices
  • Check that the student understands the questions

Social Skills


  • Directly teach lessons to the whole class on specific social skills
  • Determine the student's baseline of current functioning and next steps in social skill development
  • Develop an alternative programming goal for the student on an attainable social skill improvement
  • Use media/literature examples to highlight pro-social skills and positive choices made by the characters.
  • Develop "how to"charts on various social skills of need
  • Use positive reinforcement for improvements

  • Use preferential seating to pace student near others who would foster positive interactions
  • Post social skills visuals/charts with strategies
  • Provide activities for unstructured times

Hands On Music: An iPad Band for Students with Disabilities
Introducing Say Hi! AAC | An iPad communication app for those with limited movement |
Madeline's Story: Conquering Muscular Dystrophy with a Ukulele
Physical Disabilities
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