Disabilities and Education

As individuals reenter the community following an injury, most evaluate the possibility of attending school.

A 1999 study, which focused on people age 18 and under with spinal cord injuries, looked at the time between discharge from a rehab program and return to school. The median time for people with paraplegia was ten days; with tetraplegia, 62 days. Although the students reported transportation and architectural barriers, the problems weren't serious enough to prohibit their return.

People who were attending school when injured should be encouraged to return as quickly as possible. However, it is important to evaluate the appropriateness of the pre-injury educational institution. The evaluation can take different forms. It might consist of meetings with teachers or school administrators to discuss the need for assistive devices. For others, it may mean re-evaluating the college plan to see if it makes sense in terms of vocational planning.

It is helpful to have a good understanding of the services available within the public school system to students with disabilities. These services are largely the result of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Public Law 105-17, which contains modifications to IDEA. These acts provide guidelines for special education and for accommodating disabilities in regular classrooms.

The Americans with Disabilities Acts also influenced institutions of higher learning, which are now more accessible.


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