Behind the Label: The Functional Implications of Disability

This document describes the functional implications of disability for students with disabilities nationally. It addresses a broad range of issues including health, movement and mobility, vision, hearing, communication, self-care skills, functional mental skills, social functioning, and student strengths.


The differences in general health between students from households with different levels of income were dramatic. 34% of students in households with incomes of $25,000 or less had excellent health, whereas half of those in households with incomes between $25,000 and $50,000 did.

It was found that it was not just children with orthopedic impairments who had movement and mobility limitations. 43% of the students with multiple disabilities, 45% of the autistic students and 55% of those with mental retardation and traumatic brain injuries indicated movement and mobility limitations.

A consistent pattern of limited communication abilities was found for students with autism, multiple disabilities, and deaf-blindness.

It was found that students with learning disabilities who had speech difficulties were most likely to communicate and converse as well as others, but they did not excel in understanding what others said to them.

Findings indicate that it was common for students to have difficulties in more than one of the domains addressed (general health, movement and mobility, vision, hearing and communication), with many combinations of limitations for students with each primary disability classified.



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Last Updated 04/03