• My child is eligible for special education services under the category of Orthopedic Impairment. What does this mean? 

    According to the Operating Standards for Ohio Educational Agencies Serving Children with Disabilities (2008), orthopedic impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations and fractures or burns that cause contractures).

    Because the eligibility team at your child’s school agreed that he/she meets the criteria of the Ohio Operating Standards, your child will have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that will address his/her unique needs and allow him/her to access the grade-level curriculum to the greatest extent possible.

    What specialized instruction will my child receive?

    Goals and instruction for children with orthopedic impairment vary widely, based on the student’s needs. Academic goals in reading, written expression, and mathematics are common. Occupational therapy and physical therapy help students improve in their gross motor and fine motor skills so they can safely navigate their environments and perform academic tasks.

    Can a student with an Orthopedic Impairment attend any CMSD school?

    Every school in CMSD is staffed with at least one Intervention Specialist to support students in all disability categories with access to the general education curriculum along with specially designed instruction in academic areas. All schools also have access to related services (speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy) and postsecondary transition services.  Many school buildings have elevators and other accessibility features.

    There are also specialized single classrooms in every Cleveland neighborhood. Orthopedic impairment (OH) classrooms focus on grade-level curriculum in a small, physically accessible setting, for students who may have difficulty in larger groups. Low incidence classrooms focus on a functional curriculum based on Ohio Extended Standards, and have the lowest student-teacher ratios. A few schools have medically fragile classrooms that focus on daily living needs and life skills. These classrooms are housed in buildings with at least one full-time nurse on staff. The type of setting in which a student receives services is a decision of the IEP team.

    My child has a medical diagnosis, but the team determined that my child does not qualify for special education services. How can this be true?

    The needs of children with an orthopedic impairment vary widely. Some children with a medical diagnosis do not qualify for special education services under IDEA, because their disorder does not negatively impact their academic performance. They are able to be successful in school with accommodations but do not require any specially designed instruction beyond what is offered in a general education setting. These children may qualify for accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

     Additional Resources

    MyChild - Cerebral Palsy

    Spina Bifida Association