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Chronic Health and Physical Exceptionalities

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Claire Hage

on 30 November 2015

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Transcript of Chronic Health and Physical Exceptionalities


Access and barriers to educational services for canadian children with disabilities (2010). In Kohen D. E., Canadian Council on Learning. and Canadian Electronic Library (Firm). (Eds.), . Ottawa, Ont.: Canadian Council on Learning.

Better Health Channel. (2015). Chronic illness- coping at school. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/chronic-illness-coping-at-school

Hutchinson, N. L. (2014). Inclusion of exceptional learners in canadian schools : A practical handbook for teachers (4th ed. ed.). Toronto: Pearson Canada.

Shaw, S. R., Glaser, S. E., Stern, M., Sferdenschi, C., & McCabe, P. C. (2010). Responding to students' chronic illnesses. Principal Leadership, 10(7), 12-16.






Case Study:
Xander, Grade 3
In the Classroom
Chronic Health and Physical Exceptionalities
Implications for the Classroom

Physical Disabilities
Thank You for Listening & Participating!
Ashira, Marianne, Stephanie,
Melissa and Claire

& Recent Research
1. Please put in your ear plugs.

2. Turn to an elbow partner(s) to discuss what you know about chronic illness and physical disabilities.

3. Take note of how you felt during this activity. What daily challenges might you face as a student in an elementary classroom?
The terms "chronic illness"
and "physical disability" encompass a wide array of conditions and challenges faced by students in contemporary classrooms.

For the purposes of this presentation, we will focus on a select few. In doing so, we will discuss challenges and teacher strategies that are applicable in a multitude of situations.
- Missed Work
-Lack of knowledge base in new areas
- Unfocused student
- Classroom management issues
-Low self esteem
- Modification of physical activities
-Monitoring students closely in structured and unstructured settings
-The physical room may present a challenge to the student
-Classroom routines may be limiting to the student
Canadian Statistics
Ontario Specific (2001)
Minds On:
Legal Obligations
as Teachers
- Absenteeism
- Behavioral difficulties
-Academic difficulties
-Social interactions
-Illness/pain management
-Medical apparatus
-The need for specific accommodations

Chronic Illness
Physical Exceptionalities
-Mobility issues
-Participation in school activities
-Social issues
- Different view of world and physical environment

How might these manifest in the classroom?
-The student may have limited access or mobility within the room
-The student may need access to specific food items or medications during class time
-In the event of an emergency, a student may need specific assistance from a teacher or other student to ensure safety
-The student may feel isolated or disconnected from other students
-A student may have a flare up or triggered episode during class hours
-The student may avoid completing school work

As a teacher..
You should consider
Personal risk
Your obligation
Professional Development
Educating the whole class
Staff support
Chronic Illnesses
-decreasing or increasing amount of work

-consider student interest and preferred learning style
flexible due dates
providing time to catch up on work
review missed lessons
flexible pacing vs fixed schedule
document (pictures, videos)
share with family
Learning Environment
classroom schedule
strategic seating
profile, information, and/or emergency protocol posted
communication system
How to access the information:

consider the location of the spaces and materials a students uses
on their level
clean, safe and tidy
colours and sounds are appropriate
all environments that the students participates in are accessible

make it clear that you as an instructor are open to products being presented in multiple ways
alternative timing or space
completion is important for self-esteem

finding a way to make participation easy (eye contact, signal etc.)
breaks and making sure the student is comfortable
inclusive group work
assistive technology that teachers use

Health Challenges:
How would you modify/accommodate for Xander in your classroom? Using the Pirate Pad, work with a partner to contribute your thoughts here:
What is a "Physical Exceptionality"?
Some Common Physical Exceptionalities
-Xander is a student with Muscular
Dystrophy. The muscles in his lower body are very weak and he requires assistance when he needs to be mobile (getting up from seat, going up/down stairs etc.).

-Xander requires a wheelchair to be mobile, especially on field trips.

-Xavier suffers from asthma.

-This means that he often has a hard time when breathing and is only able to walk short distances.

-He is often absent and has trouble developing strong relationships with other students.

-You have noticed that Xander is rarely happy and has recently told you how sad he is about his lack of friends in the class.
"A condition of such severe physical
limitation or deficiency as to
require special assistance in learning situations
to provide the opportunity for educational achievement equivalent to that of pupils without exceptionalities who are one of the same age or developmental level."
What is a "Chronic Illness"?
Some Common Chronic Illnesses
A Look at the Numbers
Before We Begin...
-Cerebral Palsy
-Spina Bifida
-Tourette Syndrome
-ABI (Acquired Brain Injury)
-FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders)
-Muscular Dystrophy
-Juvenile Arthritis
-Blind and Low Vision
-Cystic Fibrosis
-IBDs (Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis)
-Cancer & Leukemia

(Hutchinson, 2014)
People for Education/Ontario Ministry of Education
(Hutchinson, 2014; Ontario Teachers Federation)
"Chronic disease is defined as disease that is long-lasting or recurring" - (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2010)
"A medical condition of prolonged duration that impairs one's adaptive behaviour and socially defined roles." (Shaw, et al., 2010)
Just one example of what you may see in an Ontario classroom
-"20% of students prior to the age of 18 experience "serious illness or health condition."
*That's 4 children in a classroom of 20
"The condition is expected to last at least six months" - (Stats Can, 2001)
Key Resource for Ontario Teachers
OTF: Teachers' Gateway to
Special Education
Strategies & Resources - now the rest of our group will give details about these for you!
Link on Pepper!
(OHRC; 2015)
-Academically, Xander struggles with communicating due to delayed language development. Because of this, he is often frustrated when confronting spelling tests or mathematics questions.

-Due to frequent absences and difficulty completing work during class time, Xander is behind the class and struggles to complete work independently.
Cerebral Palsy: The Facts
Cystic Fibrosis: The Facts
School Board
-Fluid in lungs that is difficult to remove (leading to infection)

-Results in lung and digestive problems

-Prolonged hospitalization

-Reduced life expectancy (mid-thirties)

*Physical, social and academic impacts as a result
(Hutchinson, 2014)
-2001: Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS), 155, 000 children between ages 4-14 had an "activity limitation".

70% chronic
-Cause: damage to brain that happens from
birth to age 3

-Umbrella term for a group of physical conditions which have an impact on "body movement" and "muscle coordination"

-Can impact:
-muscles - resulting in muscle tightness/
-movement that is involuntary
-fine-motor (talking and writing)
-gross-motor (running and walking)

*Think about how this might impact these students academically, emotionally and socially

(Hutchinson, 2014)
*Can have profound impacts on home life
Having a student in the class with physical exceptionalities or chronic illness may seem challenging. However the student can bring many strengths to the class and provide your students with an important learning experience.
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