The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, defines an orthopedic impairment as "a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by a congenial anomaly, impairments caused by disease, and impairments from other causes." idea.ed.gov
Different Categories/types within the disability
The term 'Orthopedic Impairment' encompasses a very wide variety of disabilities. There are three main areas of disorders:
Neuromotor impairments are an abnormality of, or damage to the brain, spinal cord, or nervous system that sends impulses to the muscles of the body. These are acquired at or before birth, and frequently result in complex motor problems that can affect body systems. These motor impaiments can include limited limb movement, loss of uninary control, and loss of proper alignment of the spine.
Examples: Cerebral Palsy and Spina bifida
Degenerative diseases affect motor development.
Example: Muscular Dystrophy
Musculoskelatal disorders result in various levels of physical limitations.
Examples: juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and limb deficiency.
The two most common neuromotor impairments are cerebral palsy and and spina bifida. Cerebral palsy refers to several nonprogressive disorders of voluntary movement or posture that are caused by malfunction of or damage to the developing brain that occurs before or during birth or within the first few years of life. Individuals with cerebral palsy have abnormal, involuntary, and/or uncoordinated motor movements. The four most common types of cerebral palsy include:
Spastic: very tight muscles occurring in one or more muscle groups that result in stiff, uncoordinated movements
Athetoid: movements are contorted, abnormal, and purposeless
Ataxic: poor balance and equilibrium in addition to uncoordinated voluntary movement
Mixed: any combination of the types
Cerebral palsy is also classified by which limbs are affected. Major classifications include hemiplegia (left or right side), diplegia (legs affected more than arms); paraplegia (only legs), and quadriplegia (all four limbs).
Spina bifida is a developmental defect of the spinal column. Spina bifida is characterized by an abnormal opening in the spinal column and frequently involves some paralysis of various portions of the body. It may or may not affect intellectual functioning. Spina bifida is usually classified as either spina bifida occulta or spina bifida cystica. Spina bifida occulta is a mild condition while spina bifida cystica is more serious.
Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited diseases characterized by weakness and wasting away of muscle tissue, with or without the breakdown of nerve tissue.
Orthopedic impairments also include amputations, fractures or burns that cause contractures, and clubbed feet. The term included bone diseases such as Fibrous dysplasia, osteoporosis, Paget's Disease, Osteogenesis imperfecta, and Primary hyperparathyroidism. It includes Brachial Plexus Injury, Hydrocephalus, Poliomyelitis, and spinal cord injuries.