Abstract

Objective. The purpose of this study was to examine educational participation and accommodations for children with spinal cord injury (SCI) or disease in primary, secondary, and postsecondary educational settings.

Method. Written surveys were developed for students with SCI and their teachers. Fifty-three participants had SCI onset before age 18 years, were at least 4 years old and enrolled in a school program, and had residual motor disability without cognitive–behavioral impairments.

Results. Nearly all participants were enrolled full time in regular education classrooms. Seventy-five percent of primary-level participants and 32% of secondary-level participants were qualified for special education and related services, receiving teacher aide assistance as well as occupational and physical therapy services. Most participants were graduating from high school and pursuing postsecondary education. Classroom performance and grades were reported as average or above average, but curriculum modifications were commonly made, and many participants required human assistance and assistive technology in functional and classroom tasks. Access barriers were often reported by participants using wheelchairs, and those using augmentative writing aids were not fluent with these devices.

Conclusion. Accommodations in schools for students with SCI appear to support completion and advancement to higher levels of education, but these accommodations appear to be geared toward participation rather than levels of performance and productivity that may be realistic for work and other community settings.

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