The Individuals With Disabilities Act, also known as IDEA, includes specific disabilities and others that are known simply as other health impairments. IDEA allows younger students and those up to the age of 21 seek additional help and assistance while in school. Medical conditions like asthma, ADHD and even autism can affect the way a student acts and learns. The government created IDEA as a way to ensure that all students get the education they deserve, including those who have impairments and disabilities not listed in the actual act itself.
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The most important thing to know about the term health impairments is that it refers to symptoms and conditions that occur because of a specific disease or condition. One example is the way a student diagnosed with diabetes might feel. Diabetes occurs because the body cannot properly digest the sugar that an individual eats. A student with high blood sugar may experience headaches, stomach cramps, nausea and event vomiting. If the student’s blood sugar drops, he or she may feel weak and tired. Low blood sugar can even lead to a coma.
Tourette Syndrome is a disease characterized by ticks and an inability to control one’s speech. A student may shout out inappropriate words in the classroom or get stuck on a word and keep repeating it constantly. Some also experience both facial and body ticks. Facial ticks can include moving the jaw to one side of the face or moving an eyebrow, while body ticks often look like muscle spasms. These symptoms can make it hard for students to concentrate in their classes.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of epilepsy may include confused thoughts, movements that the student cannot control and intense focusing on a specific object or spot in the room. These symptoms can all occur immediately before a student suffers a seizure. IDEA consider epilepsy as one the major health impairments because of the symptoms associated with the disease. Though a seizure may last for only a few short minutes, that seizure can disrupt a child’s ability to learn and interfere with the student’s ability to focus on his or her classes.
Leukemia is another of the other health impairments both because of its symptoms and because of the symptoms associated with its treatments. Children diagnosed with leukemia will often go through chemotherapy. This treatment option can lead to hair loss and cause intense nausea and vomiting. It may interfere with a child’s ability to eat and keep down food too. Doctors often recommend that children take time off school when battling the disease, but once they go back to school, they need administrators willing to adjust their education plans based on their symptoms.
Though you may not think of lead poisoning as a health impairment, it affects a number of children every year. Lead poisoning often affects those who live in older homes because of the lead paint found on those walls. As that paint chips off, kids can inhale or ingest the flakes and eventually experience symptoms like weight loss, feeling tired all the time, stomach cramps and irrational thinking. It may also lead to concentration problems and developmental delays that can leave children struggling to keep up with their peers.
IDEA is a government act that helps all children get access to help with their education. It allows administrators to create individual lesson plans based on the conditions the students have and the symptoms they experience. Diabetes, lead poisoning, epilepsy, Tourette Syndrome and leukemia are a few examples of the other health impairments listed in this act.
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