Problems faced by individuals with physical impairments include poor muscle control, weakness and fatigue, difficulty walking, talking, seeing, speaking, sensing or grasping (due to pain or weakness), difficulty reaching things, and difficulty doing complex or compound manipulations (push and turn). Individuals with spinal cord injuries may be unable to use their limbs and may use “mouthsticks” for most manipulations. Twisting motions may be difficult or impossible for people with many types of physical disabilities. The listed symptoms described are found in, for example:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy

Neuromuscular impairments include:

  • Paralysis (total lack of muscular control in part or most of the body)
  • Weakness (paresis; lack of muscle strength, nerve enervation, or pain)
  • Interference with control, via spasticity (where muscles are tense and contracted), ataxia (problems in accuracy of motor programming and coordination), and athetosis (extra, involuntary, uncontrolled and purposeless motion)

For more information on the types of disabilities listed above and more, see: Scope About Disability

AJ-Books-2-2400px Impact on Study:


  • Student may be unable to access lecture halls, library facilities etc. or to carry out basic every-day actions and perform required tasks such as writing, typing, field or lab work.


color-icons-BW-help-2400px How to Help:Commonly used assistive devices include:

  • Mobility aids (e.g., crutches, wheelchairs), manipulation aids (e.g., prosthetics, orthotics, reachers)


  • Communication aids (e.g., single switch-based artificial voice)


  • Computer/device interface aids (e.g., eye-gaze-operated keyboard)


  • Provide extra space in the lecture halls, for example, allocated space for wheel chair users

Additional Information: