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Multiple Disabilities Marilyn Romero Chelsea Cowell Danielle Lewis Kimberly Fisher.

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Presentation on theme: "Multiple Disabilities Marilyn Romero Chelsea Cowell Danielle Lewis Kimberly Fisher."— Presentation transcript:

1 Multiple Disabilities Marilyn Romero Chelsea Cowell Danielle Lewis Kimberly Fisher

2 What are Multiple Disabilities? Multiple disabilities is a disability category under IDEA. As you might expect, children with multiple disabilities have two or more disabling conditions that affect learning or other important life functions. To qualify for special education services under this category, both of the student's disorders must be so significant that her educational needs could not be met in programs that are designed to address one of the disabilities alone.

3 Prevalence The percentage of students having severe and multiple disabilities is very low. Approximately.1 to 1 percent of the general school-age population and approximately 2 percent of the total population of school age students have severe and multiple disabilities. It is not likely that more than one student with severe and multiple disabilities would be enrolled in a general classroom at any given time.


5 Who falls under the category of Multiple Disabilities? A child with mental retardation and a sensory impairment such as a visual impairment or blindness could be served under the category multiple disability. However, the IDEA regulations include one exception. Deaf-blindness is excluded under the category multiple disability.

6 Characteristics Movement difficulties Sensory losses Behavior problems Limited speech or communication Difficulty in basic physical mobility Tendency to forget skills through disuse Trouble generalizing skills from one situation to another A need for support in major life activities (domestic, leisure, community integration, and vocational) Presence of primitive reflexes Possibly nonambulatory Individual may have one or more of the following…

7 Causes There is no identifiable cause in 40% of cases of multiple disabilities. Most individuals with multiple disabilities with known causes are due to prenatal biomedical factors. Other possible causes may be linked to genetic metabolic disorders, dysfunction in production of enzymes leading to a buildup in toxic substances in the brain, or brain malformations.

8 There are three categories: Prenatal causes: · Chromosomal abnormalities · Viral infections · Drug and Alcohol use during pregnancy · Mother`s malnutrition · Physical trauma to the mother Perinatal causes: · Lack of oxygen supply to the baby`s brain · Physical injury to the baby`s brain at birth · Contracted infections during birth Postnatal causes: · Childhood infections such as meningitis & encephalitis · Traumatic brain injury from an accident or abuse · Lead poisoning · Reactions to medication · Exposure to toxins or other environmental conditions As with other disabilities, the severity and complexity of the disability depends on the genetic abnormality, the amount of damage to the brain, and the environment in which the child is raised

9 How it May Affect Development An individual with multiple disabilities may be challenged with: Motor delays Abnormal muscle tone Muscle atrophy, contractures Problem balancing Behavioral problems For many individuals, posture and range of motion are more appropriate criteria to assess compared to strength and skills.

10 Diagnosis Students with severe and multiple disabilities are identified at birth or in the early stages of life, or after a traumatic accident or illness. These children are identified by medical professionals. Assessments performed on these students are to primarily help teachers understand the student`s needs and how they can motivate and provide the best possible services to the student. There are several different ways in which these assessments take place. They include: · Standardized Assessments · Authentic Assessments in which includes observing the student in his/her natural environment · Person-Centered Approach which includes the input of family and friends on what the student`s abilities, strengths, and goals are to create an educational plan that includes the uniqueness of the student. · Functional-Ecological Assessment which includes observations, video or digital recordings to determine the natural cues that the environment contains and how the student may react or respond to those cues around them

11 Assessment Suggestions Traditional or standardized assessments are often not practical. Authentic assessments have to be developed to suit the needs of the student. Keep in mind these assessments should be functional to skills the student will need in life. For many individuals, posture and range of motion are more appropriate criteria to assess compared to strength and skills.

12 Treatments or Therapies and Educational Considerations

13 Strategies and Modifications Early intervention is necessary - as soon as the child begins school Involvement of the appropriate professionals, i.e., occupational therapists, speech/language therapists, physical therapists, etc. The physical arrangement of the classroom will need to best accommodate this child. Consideration of special equipment. Integration among their peers is important to assist these students with social development. Ensuring that all students demonstrates respect for the multiply disabled student becomes a teacher responsibility and needs to be taken seriously with ongoing activities that develop respect from the other students in the class. An Individual Education Plan will need to be carefully planned out and adjusted on a regular basis and will need to be aligned to the child. Assistive technologies Care needs to be given in your expectations of this student to ensure the child doesn't not become frustrated.

14 Effective Teaching Strategies Maintain a small teacher to student ratio Learn from caregivers what the child likes and dislikes Use positive reinforcement Establish rapport Talk to child as if they were any other child Mirror their movements to see if they notice – assessing Obtain behavior management information – use consistently Use all forms of communication – sign, language, visual and tactile Slow instructions – avoid excess words Learn what primitive reflexes are still present Focus instruction on lifetime physical activity Teach in the pool monitor temperature of pool (most cases the warmer the water the better) learn of any allergies of chlorine Find out as much information about the child as possible – allergies and feeding procedures Use sensory integration instruction when appropriate

15 Works Cited Logsdon, A. (n.d.). Multiple disabilities. Retrieved from _disabi.htm Sherril, C. (n.d.). Multiple disabilities. Retrieved from disability.htm Peterson, V. (n.d.). Students with severe and multiple disabilities. Retrieved from %20Disabilities.pdf About Parity for disability. (n.d.). Retrieved from


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