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The IDEA Definition is as follows, concomitant (simultaneous)

impairments (such as intellectual disability/blindness, intellectual

disability/orthopedic impairment, etc.), the combination of which causes
such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a
special education program solely for one of the impairments. (This term
does not include deaf-blindness).

Common characteristics of children with Multiple Disabilities-
Children typically share deficits in five distinct areas of development:
Intellectual functioning
Adaptive skills
Motor skills
Sensory functioning
Communication skills.

Learning Strategies:
There are two types of useful assistance for children with Multiple Disabilities:
1). Technological Assistance-
Most students with Multiple Disabilities have some deficits in cognitive
processing. But the ability levels can vary widely.
There are various assistive technologies that can help students with
communication deficits. These aids include amplification (through handheld
personal devices and hearing aids), and hand held personal computers to help
aid the students communication.
Also Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is any system designed
to support the communication of any individual, this includes sign language,
tangible and tactile symbol systems, choice boards, object prompts and symbols,
physical modeling and prompting, and numerous computer assistive programs.
2). Peer Assistance-
The usefulness and mutually beneficial process of peer tutoring, if done well,
cannot be understated. Both the child with Multiple Disabilities and the child
without a disability can gain from a relationship.

Best Advice:
Treat each child as an individual and do not have preconceived expectations about what
a child can and cannot do. Speak to the child, the childs parents, and anyone else who
has worked with and interacted with the child.

Additional Resources: This website is a treasure trove of information and
ideas for assisting children and families of children with Multiple Disabilities (and
other learning impairments). This is a very comprehensive site
for information. This guide has resources for school and some
general life aspects for helping families and children with Multiple Disabilities

There are various Parent Support Groups for children with disabilities. These
groups would be eager to welcome educators looking for tips to support a child
in his or her classroom.

Many Disabilities are represented in resource websites: Website for information & resources regarding Muscular Dystrophy Website for information & resources regarding Cerebral
Palsy Website created for
teachers introducing orthopedic impairment