Spinal Cord Injury (Includes Paraplegia and Quadriplegia)
Observing Spinal Cord Injury (Includes Paraplegia and Quadriplegia) in the Classroom
Faculty might observe the following characteristics in students with spinal cord injuries:
- May need assistance in finding a place for their wheelchair
- May have difficulty reaching or handling heavy or cumbersome objects
- May not have the use of their hands
- May have scheduling conflicts due to having to rely on wheelchair accessible transportation
- May take longer to navigate between places
- May have trouble attending class when snow and ice are not cleared
- Are more susceptible to viruses or infection
- National Institutes of Health - Spinal Cord Injuries
- National Spinal Cord Injury Association
Related Functional Characteristics
Bodily Function Control : Students with a spinal cord injury may have bodily control difficulties due to nerve damage in the spinal cord.
Breathing Difficulty : Students with spinal cord injuries may have breathing difficulties due to an inability to breathe deeply.
Climate Sensitivity : Students with spinal cord injury have difficulty with regulating body temperature in hot and cold weather which can cause muscle spasms, heat stroke and frost bite.
Fatigue (Physical) : Students with spinal cord injuries may experience physical fatigue due to breathing issues, mobility issues, low blood pressure, or chronic pain.
Motor Skill (Fine) : Spinal cord injuries can lead to decreased fine motor skill ranging from some lack of strength and control to full paralysis of fingers.
Motor Skill (Gross Lower) : Students with a spinal cord injury may experience muscle spasms, especially in the heat.
Motor Skill (Gross Upper) : Students with a spinal cord injury may have difficulty with muscle control or experience spasms in their arms, neck or upper torso.
Numbness : Injury to the spinal cord can cause numbness when the nerve impulses are interrupted; the extent of the numbness is dependent on the location and severity of the injury.
Personal Care/ Medical Equipment Needs : Students with spinal cord injuries may require medical staff or home health aides to administer medications, maintain medical equipment such as feeding tubes or nebulizers, or provide support and assistance with daily living.
Reach Restriction : Students with spinal cord injuries may use wheelchairs which may restrict their ability to reach forward, up and down.
Service Animal Needs : Students who have difficulty with grip strength or fine motor coordination may use a service animal to retrieve objects or open doors.
Susceptibility to Infection : Students with spinal cord issues may be vulnerable to viruses and infections as a result of an impaired respiratory system.
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