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Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
Caring for Our People with Disabilities & Chronic Illness

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Picture of small child from Spirit LakeOTHER HEALTH IMPAIRMENTS

Other health impairments cover a variety of diseases and disorders. This special education category refers to people who have limited strength, energy or alertness that affects their ability to learn in a normal classroom.

Other Health Impairments can range from attention deficit disorder, or ADD, a disorder where children have trouble focusing their attention on one task for an extended time, to serious life threatening diseases like cancer or HIV. Some of these disorders are present at birth, such as sickle cell anemia, asthma, hemophilia or epilepsy. Other impairments are caused by acquired conditions such as lead poisoning or rheumatic fever.

The category is broad and a person does not necessarily need special education just because they have the condition. For example, epilepsy and diabetes are both diseases that can affect learning in some cases, but that can usually be managed by medications allowing students to lead normal lives with no effect on learning. To be considered under other health problems, the condition must negatively affect a child’s ability to learn.

Epilepsy is a disorder that makes people susceptible to seizures. Epilepsy may be present at birth or may be the result of brain injury due to accident or illness. Often, seizures can be prevented through regular use of medication. In such cases, the individual may need to take pills two or three times a day for his or her entire life. For more information on epilepsy, click here.

Less than .5% of students are diagnosed with other health impairments. This number is much higher now than in decades past because children with ADD and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are now included in this category.

In deciding if a student has a health impairment, a series of steps should be taken. A medical exam needs to be made taking into account a student’s medical history. Then the school needs to decide if a student is able to receive special education services by giving intelligence, achievement, behavior and other assessment tests as well as reviewing medical, as well as other background information. Depending on the result of these tests, the school will decide if the child is able to receive special education services. If the school decides they are not able to receive these services, it is still possible for students to receive services under the Rehabilitation Act. (For more information on services under the rehabilitation act, click here, for a page from the Special Education workshop.)

Some students with other health impairments may be facing their own death, something few schools of education have prepared teachers to discuss. Views on death of the Great Plains tribes, particularly Arikara, Mandan and Hidatsa, are discussed later in this workshop, or you can click here to go to the page on death now.

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