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Many students will integrate very well at school. Others may have various difficulties from time to time. Common sense and experience will see you through most of these, but we hope this page will help address a few specific difficulties that may crop up.
School ethos and attitudes are also critically important. The student will find it much easier to cope with both physical and learning difficulties if he or she feels secure and integrated in school life.
Ongoing problems can also, of course, be talked through with the student and his or her parents. They have probably been coping with hemiplegia for many years, and may have developed strategies for dealing with most problems.
Having hemiplegia means having limited use of one arm and hand and possibly poor balance and co-ordination. This can cause difficulties in various areas.
In addition some students have visuo-spatial problems and may have initial difficulties finding their way around school. Clear signposting of rooms, laboratories, etc. (with teachers’ names) will help them.
The student may feel more self-conscious or clumsy during practical work and may need encouragement to participate.
Because of their physical limitations, most students with hemiplegia experience some difficulty and frustration at school and may need a little more time and attention to achieve their full potential.
However, some young people with hemiplegia have general or specific learning difficulties which may be slight or severe, and which can be more frustrating and disabling than their obvious physical ones.
Many of the learning problems outlined above can be alleviated by the use of a computer.
Using a keyboard may:
Physical fitness is, if anything, more important for people with disabilities than for their able-bodied peers.
In general, support from the whole school, from teachers and fellow students is vital if the student is to fulfil his or her potential.
It is important to strike a balance between under- and over-reacting, to create a safe environment where the student can ask for help without losing face, or, equally, be challenged to reach heights he or she may not have dreamed of. Success even in one area can be an enormous boost to confidence.
Many parents will be only too happy to discuss any difficulties their child might be experiencing. Similarly, some schools have found it helpful for a parent to come and talk to staff before their son or daughter comes to the school.
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