What is a Multiple Disability?

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), multiple disabilities refers to simultaneous impairments such as intellectual-blindness, intellectual disability-orthopedic impairment. The combination of which causes such severe educational needs that cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments, meaning a student has more than one or multiple impairments. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 2.0 percent of students currently are diagnosed with multiple disabilities.

The term multiple disability is a broad term and can include a number of disabilities. For example, a person diagnosed with cerebral palsy may also have a diagnosed of epilepsy, intellectual disability  and ADHD. The Center for Parent Information and Resources explains that from the term, your cannot tell how many disabilities a child has, which disabilities are involved or how severe each disabilities are involved or how severe each disability is. It is important to know the following in orde to support the child:

  • which individual disabilities are involved;
  • how severe (or moderate or mild) each disability is; and
  • how each disability can affect learning and daily living.

Support should include the following areas:

  • caring for oneself;
  • performing manual tasks;
  • seeing, hearing, eating, and sleeping;
  • walking, standing, lifting, and bending;
  • speaking and communicating;
  • breathing;
  • learning;
  • reading;
  • concentrating and thinking; and
  • working.
Resources

Parent Center Hub

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