Physical & Other Health Impairments

In Special Education

What are they according to Special Education?

Physical Disabilities: Students with conditions such as cerebral palsy, spin bifida, or other conditions that affect their ability to walk or use their arms or legs.


Other Health Impairments (OHI): Students with chronic health conditions such as asthma, epilepsy, and HIV/AIDS, which may or may not be terminal, that cause weakness or fatigue or in some other way adversely affect school performance

(Rosenberg, 2008)


Both of these conditions must adversely affect a child's educational performance in order to qualify them for special education services.

Major Characteristics:

Physical Disabilities: Wide range of severeness as well as body parts affected


OHI: Sometimes weak or in pain, have lack of stamina, may miss school due to condition. Students with ADHD can qualify for Special Education services under this category.

Additional Resources

What are some major issues related to teaching and providing services to students with physical disabilities or other health impairments?

1. Determining the divide between the responsibilities of the educational system and educators and the medical field and health-care professionals

2. Providing appropriate assistive technology devices

Special Education for Today's Teachers

Rosenberg, M., & Westling, D. (2008). Special education for today's teachers: An introduction. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Merill/Prentice Hall.