Mobility Disorder

Orthopedic / Mobility Disorders


A variety of orthopedic/mobility-related disabilities result from congenital conditions, accidents, or progressive neuromuscular diseases. These disabilities include conditions such as spinal cord injury (paraplegia or quadriplegia), cerebral palsy, spina bifida, amputations, muscular dystrophy, cardiac conditions, cystic fibrosis, paralysis, polio/post polio, and stroke. Functional limitations and abilities vary widely even within one group of disabilities. Accommodations vary greatly and can best be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Characteristics may include:

  • Pain, spasticity, or lack of coordination
  • Flare-up of intensity of symptoms
  • Periods of remission during which little or no symptoms are visible
  • Inability to walk without crutches, canes, braces, or walkers
  • Inability to stand or walk and may use wheelchair to conserve energy or gain speed
  • Limited lower body use but full use of arms and hands
  • Impairment of speech or hearing
  • Limited head or neck movement
  • Decreased physical stamina and endurance
  • Decreased eye-hand coordination

Accommodations may include:

  • Accessible location for the classroom and place for faculty to meet with student
  • Extra time to get from one class to another, especially in inclement weather
  • Special seating in classrooms
  • Note-takers, use of tape recorder, laptop computers, or photocopying of peer notes
  • Test accommodations: extended time, separate location, scribes, access to word processor
  • Special computer equipment/software: voice activated word processing, word prediction, keyboard modification
  • Extra time for assignments due to slow writing speed
  • Adjustable lab tables or drafting tables for classes taught in lab settings
  • Lab assistance
  • Accessible parking in close proximity to the building
  • Customized physical education class activities that allow the student to participate within her/his capabilities
  • Taped textbooks
  • Advance planning for field trips to ensure accessibility (if the College provides student transportation, it must provide accessible transportation on a field trip)


Eligibility for Disability Services at the College of Saint Elizabeth is dependent upon the nature of the disability and its impact on learning. A person might meet eligibility requirements of vocational rehabilitation, disabled veterans or any other rehabilitation agency; however, she/he may not meet eligibility at the College of Saint Elizabeth.

One of the reasons that the College has developed these guidelines is to ensure consistency throughout the institution. These guidelines are fairly consistent with those used by agencies administering standardized assessments.

The ultimate decision for eligibility on campus is a judgment that must be made by the Coordinator of Disability Services based upon the guidelines developed for each type of disability. Once a student has been verified as disabled by the College of Saint Elizabeth Office of Disability Services, a disability eligibility form should be completed and placed in a confidential file with the determining documentation.


The following guidelines are provided to assist the service provider in collaborating with each student to determine appropriate accommodations. Documentation serves as a foundation that legitimizes a student's request for appropriate accommodations. Required documentation includes:

  1. A clear statement of medical diagnosis of the orthopedic/mobility disability.
  2. Documentation for eligibility must reflect the current impact the physical disability has on the student's functioning (the age of acceptable documentation is dependent upon the condition, the current status of the student, and the student's request for accommodations). Therefore, disabilities that are sporadic or degenerative may require more frequent evaluation.
  3. A summary of assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis and a narrative summary of evaluation results, if appropriate.
  4. A description of present symptoms that meet the criteria for diagnosis.
  5. Medical information relating to the student's needs to include the impact of medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the post-secondary environment.
  6. A statement of the functional impacts or limitations of the disability on learning or other major life activity and the degree to which it impacts the individual in the learning context for which accommodations are being requested.

Further assessment by an appropriate professional may be required if co-existing learning disabilities or other disabling conditions are indicated. The student and the disability specialist at the institution collaboratively determine appropriate accommodations.