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TEACHING STUDENTS WITH OTHER DISABILITIES

There are many other conditions that may interfere with a student's academic
functioning. Some of their symptoms, like limited mobility or impaired
vision, and the types of intervention required may resemble those covered
elsewhere in this handbook. The general principles set forth in the Overview
section apply, particularly the need to identify the disability and to
discuss with the student both its manifestations and the required
accommodations. Below are brief descriptions of some of the more prevalent
disabilities among students as well as recommended accommodations.

HIV/AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)

HIV/AIDS is caused by a virus that destroys the body's immune system. This
condition leaves the person vulnerable to infections and cancers that can be
avoided when the immune system is working normally. The virus is transmitted
primarily through sexual contact or needle sharing with intravenous drug
users. It is not transmitted through casual contact. Although manifestations
of HIV/AIDS are varied, depending on the particular infection or disease the
individual develops, extreme fatigue is a common symptom. Because of the
different manifestations, classroom adaptations will likewise vary.

Students with HIV/AIDS may be afraid to reveal their condition because of
the social stigma, fear, and/or misunderstanding surrounding this illness.
It is, therefore, exceptionally important that confidentiality be strictly
observed. In addition, if the issue should arise in class it is important
for faculty to deal openly and nonjudgmentally with it and to foster an
atmosphere of understanding.

For general classroom considerations, please refer to the Overview section.
If cancer is involved, see the section below. For particular impairments,
please see the applicable sections on specific disabilities.

Cancer

Because cancer can occur in almost any organ system of the body, the systems
and particular disabling effects will vary greatly from one person to
another. Some people experience visual problems, lack of balance and
coordination, joint pains, backaches, headaches, abdominal pains,
drowsiness, lethargy, difficulty in breathing and swallowing, weakness,
bleeding or anemia.

The primary treatments for cancer (radiation therapy, chemotherapy and
surgery) may engender additional effects. Radiation therapy can cause
violent nausea, drowsiness and fatigue, thus affecting academic functioning
or causing absences. Surgery can result in amputation, paralysis, sensory
deficits, and language and memory problems.

For general accommodations, please refer to the Overview section. For
particular impairments, please see the applicable sections on specific
disabilities.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is caused by an injury to the brain, which may have occurred
before, during or shortly after birth. The injury results in disorders of
posture or movement. Manifestations may include involuntary muscle
contractions, rigidity, spasms, poor coordination, poor balance or poor
spatial relations. Visual, auditory, speech, hand-function, convulsive
disorders and mobility problems might also occur.

For appropriate classroom accommodations, refer to sections on speech and
visual impairments, physical disabilities and handfunction impairments.

Traulmatic Brain Injury

Students with traumatic brain injury (TBI) are becoming increasingly more
prevalent. These students often exhibit one or more of the following
symptoms: short-term memory problems, serious attention deficits, auditory
dysfunction, cognitive deficits, behavior problems, problems of judgment and
serious anxiety attacks.

For general classroom considerations, refer to the Overview section and the
sections on learning disabilities and,/or seizure disorders.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease of the central nervous system,
characterized by a decline of muscle control. Symptoms may range from mild
to severe: blurred vision, legal blindness, tremors, weakness or numbness in
limbs, unsteady gait, paralysis, slurred speech, mood swings or attention
deficits. Because the onset of the disease usually occurs between the ages
of 20 and 40, students are likely to be having difficulty adjusting to their
newly diagnosed condition.

The course of Multiple Sclerosis is highly unpredictable and individual.
Periodic remissions are common and may last from a few days to several
months, as the disease continues to progress. As a result, mood swings may
vary from euphoria to depression.  Striking inconsistencies in performance
are not unusual.

For appropriate class room accommodations, refer to sections on speech and
visual impairments, physical disabilities and handfunction impairments.

Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophy refers to a group of hereditary, progressive disorders
that most often occur with young people, producing degeneration of voluntary
muscles of the trunk and lower extremities. The atrophy of the muscles
results in chronic weakness and fatigue and may cause respiratory or cardiac
problems. Walking, if possible, is slow and appears uncoordinated.
Manipulation of materials in class may be difficult.

Respiratory Problems

Many students have chronic breathing problems, the most common of which are
bronchial asthma and emphysema. Respiratory problems are characterized by
attacks of shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing, sometimes
triggered by stress, either physical or mental. Fatigue and difficulty
climbing stairs may also be major problems, depending on the attacks.
Frequent absence from class may occur and hospitalization may be required
when prescribed medication fail to relieve the symptoms.

For appropriate classroom accommodations, refer to the section on physical
disabilities and Overview.

Seizure Disorders

Students with epilepsy and other seizure disorders are sometimes reluctant
to divulge their conditions because they fear being misunderstood or
stigmatized. Misconceptions about these disorders, that they are forms of
mental illness, contagious and untreatable, for example, have arisen because
their ultimate causes remain uncertain. There is evidence that hereditary
factors may be involved and that brain injuries and tumors, occurring at any
age, may give rise to seizures. What is known is that seizures result from
imbalances in the electrical activity of the brain.

Type of Seizures

Epileptic seizures can be classified according to several different
criteria.

Partial seizures begin focally with a specific sensory, motor, or psychic
aberration that reflects the affected part of the cerebral hemisphere where
the seizure originates. Generalized seizures usually affect both
consciousness and motor function from the outset.  The seizure itself
frequently has a genetic or metabolic cause.

Simple partial seizures begin with specific motor, sensory, or psychomotor
focal phenomena without loss of consciousness.  Complex partial seizures are
characterized by a variety of patterns of onset. In most instances, the
patient has a 1 to 2 minute loss of contact with the surroundings. He may
first stagger, perform automatic purposeless movements, and utter
unintelligible sounds. He does not understand what is said and may resist
aid. Mental confusion continues for another 1-2 minutes after the attack is
apparently over.

Generalized seizures can be major or minor in their motor manifestations.
Absence (petit mal) attacks are brief, primarily generalized seizures
manifested by a 10 to 30 second loss of consciousness, with eye or muscle
flutterings at a rate of 3/sec., and with or without loss of muscle tone.
Tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures occasionally begin with a partial "aura"
of epigastic discomfort, followed by an outcry; the seizure continues with a
loss of consciousness; falling; and tonic, then clonic, contractions of the
muscles of the extremities, trunk, and head.

Management and Treatment

General principles: treatment is primarily control of seizures. A normal
lifestyle should be encouraged. Moderate exercise is recommended. Movies,
dancing and other social activities should be encouraged. Alcohol is
contraindicated.

In the event of a grand mal seizure:

	1. Keep calm
	2. Remove nearby objects
	3. Help lower the person to the floor.
	4. Turn the head to the side.
	5. Loosen tight clothing. 
	6. Do not force anything between the teeth.
	7. Do not try to restrain bodily movement.
	8. Call Health Services immediately.

After a seizure, faculty should deal forthrightly with the concerns of the
class in an effort to forestall whatever negative attitudes may develop
toward the students.

Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle Cell Anemia is a hereditary disease that reduces the blood supply to
vital organs and the oxygen supply to the blood cells, making adequate
classroom ventilation an important concern.

Because vital organs are affected, the student may to also suffer from eye
disease, heart condition, lung problems and acute abdominal pains. At times,
limbs or joints may be affected. The disease is characterized by severe
crisis periods with extreme pain, which may necessitate hospitalization or
absence from class. Completing academic assignments during these periods may
not be possible.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a condition of physiological and/or psychological
dependence on any of a variety of chemicals, such as illegal drugs, some
prescription drugs and alcohol. Students who are recovering from drug or
alcohol abuse or who are in treatment programs to assist their recovery are
covered by federal anti-discrimination legislation and are eligible for
services for students with disabilities. These students may experience
psychological problems such as depression, anxiety or low self-esteem. Refer
the Overview and the section on psychological impairments for additional
classroom considerations.

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