Benchmark Assignment


Students with physical or health impairments need support in almostevery aspect of their lives. This high level of dependency makes itmore challenging for them to learn like other students thus requiringspecial attention from the teachers and educators for learning tooccur successfully. The physical challenges amongst such students attimes lead to low level of functioning and a high level of dependencywhich is different from people with milder or no disabilities. Thepurpose of this assignment is to investigate education implicationsfor students with physical and health disabilities. It will be donethrough developing suitable teaching strategies that will helpphysically challenged students learn more efficiently.

Reading, writing and Math are three learning objectives that are abasic requirement for any student. Learning standards establish studyguidelines aligned with ELA (English Language Arts) for literacy andMath standards (Common core, 2015). To accomplish the learningobjectives three separate learning activities will be developednamely reading, writing and math to teach a student with physicalhealth impairment. Reading, writing and math activities align tocommon core ELA in that they are basic and standard learningrequirements that every student needs to be taught.

Evidence based teaching strategies and accommodations are frequentlyused to help students with physical learning disabilities learn.According to Ryan et al. (2008), researchers have classifiedfrequently used learning interventions with physically disabledstudents as

  • peer-mediated intervention

  • Self-mediated interventions

  • Teacher mediated intervention

Appropriate teaching strategies like detecting the al ability,auditory and cognitive ability are also crucial for teachers toemploy the most suitable strategy for such students. The creativityof the teacher is also highly required for learning to take place.Employing a method like hands on learning for example is a good wayof ensuring that students retain learnt information and understandthe concept more.

Developing a scoring tool that will effectively capture all studentactivities is imperative as it helps determine the progress oflearning. The assessment tool should measure performance and scoresaccurately and sum up the total score for a good evaluation on thestudent. Selecting an appropriate accommodation for the student helpsthe student feel included in the learning activity. It should be doneaccording to the student’s physical disability to avoid strainingthem and overloading their capacity to learn. Employing accommodativelearning for special students like use of sweets to learn how tocount numbers or blowing balloons to add numbers is a practical wayof ensuring that physically challenged students have fun learning andnever forget the lesson. Other accommodations for special studentsinclude allowing them to take naps, breaking learning sessions andgiving room for rest. Students with disability need longer breaks tobe able to concentrate and learn properly.

The implementation of this assignment was done after being Lisa’steacher for one term. After teaching her for three months, I realizedthat Lisa was fighting her physical challenge at all odds and wantedto stand out despite her disability. I learnt a lot about her throughfilling data forms for her and documented her student performance asgood for a physically challenged student. Lisa is six years old andin the first grade. The young girl suffers from a genetic metabolicdisorder a physical condition that hinders metabolism from occurringnaturally. Metabolism, which is imperative for body functions likegrowth, waste disposal and energy, is very important for chemicalprocesses like break down of toxins and movement of nutrients throughthe blood stream (Layne, 2009).

Abnormalities in the genetic metabolic system are associated tosevere multiple disabilities which cause a dysfunction in theproduction of necessary enzymes. When the enzymes are not convertedinto useful substances, they accumulate toxic levels and damage thefetal mental and physical development in the womb. Phenylketonuria isan example of the inherited metabolic genetic disease that Lisasuffers from. According to Turnbull (2004), PKU is caused by lack ofessential amino acids to convert different amino acids. Signs andsymptoms of PKU include mental retardation if not treated at birthand slow learning and physical abilities.

As a result, of the mental challenge, Lisa has behaviour problemsmanifested in hitting herself continuously at times or attackingother students and throwing tantrums if she does not get what shewants. Lisa’s disability is not as extreme and one can barelynotice that she suffers from it unless they see her going through aphase of throwing tantrums and hitting herself. She tries tocommunicate though at a slower rate. My rationale for selectingpeer-mediated intervention, self-mediated interventions and teachermediated intervention and accommodations for Lisa were driven byseveral factors. For peer mediation, employing cross age and classwide peer tutoring which is placing Lisa together with her age matesand allowing them to teach each other has been useful in helping herget friends and interact with other children. This interaction has apositive impact on her as she enjoys learning, listening and gettinga chance to tell other children what she knows. It also promotesmemory as she remembers more about what she heard her peers say ascompared to what the teacher said.

Self-mediated intervention has not been very applicable in her caseas she is still very young and not able to be responsible for herself-evaluation. Teacher mediated theory interventions has been oneof the most appropriate techniques of learning for Lisa. Throughtelling her stories, encouraging her to ask questions, usingillustrations and giving her time to respond to questions she is ableto learn simple sounds, letters, words and count few numbers. Whenemploying these intervention strategies I consider the speed ofteaching Lisa because she is not like the other students. To ensurethat she is not left out I repeat the topic many times and ensurethat I maintain visual contact with her to grasp her attention more.Unlike other students, Lisa also has special accommodation thatallows her to have direct permission for breaks and rest whenexhausted.

As a teacher, I understand that Lisa may experience behaviorproblems and have a role to control her when she starts beating otherchildren or hurting herself. Donna et al argue that teachers play acrucial role in ensuring that physically challenged students are safeand ready for learning. Her inability to communicate coherently abouther needs also requires me to observe her body language and maintainclose contact with her. The constant breaks are to control herboredom and avoid getting her unresponsive, as she will not be ableto learn when bored (Layne, 2009). When she sleeps before time, Iwake her up and give her a snack to keep her alert. I have alsolearned to reinforce her positive behaviors through rewarding her.

The outcomes of the lessons taught have been rated as good for Lisa.Her grade is not similar to those of other students due to hercondition. She attempts to read though slowly in a sluggish way shemanages to do it. Patience is thus a virtue that I have learnt toexercise as a teacher. Lisa’s learning outcomes are positive format as well based on counting numbers with objects and blowingballoons. Based on the GMD of assessing mental ability to linknumbers and the goal of adding blown balloons to give me four andfive sweets, Lisa tried her best to complete the exercise missing toblow one balloon only. The learning objective was to see if she canadd and total objects to give a specific number. For writing, itwhereby she was supposed to draw spiral lines and waves then colorthem, she scored 63%. One could see that she was struggling to writebut was not able to do it perfectly due to her mental disability.

Observation method is the most appropriate one for data collection.Based on the learning objectives given for physical healthimpairments, she had really worked hard and met the learningobjectives.

The effectiveness of the lesson was its applicability to Lisa. Usingsweets and balloons to count bring the real picture for her and giveher another activity to do which she views as fun. Through blowingthe balloons and counting them, it is easier for Lisa to believe andmemorize counting. The ineffectiveness of this strategy is that whendoing it in a class set up, it consumes more time as the teacher hasto look out for all students and help them perform the practicalactivity before starting to count the number of balloons available.It may also be costly as the teacher has to buy many sweets andballoons for all pupils. Peer mediated and teacher mediatedstrategies worked very well for this class. Constant breaks minimizedboredom and eating snacks was a successful accommodation for Lisa.

The next step to take with Lisa is introducing her to usingassistive technology. Through learning, how to use assistivetechnology, it will be easier for her to let her needs known. Thiswill also create more opportunities for her to learn new things in anexciting way. It will reduce boredom and increase her concentrationas well as promote alertness. Academically, there is a lot of work tobe done to help Lisa catch up in reading, writing and counting.Although I do not expect her to be like her fellow students, she cancatch up and learn how to write with tutorials and practice. I alsoplan to take extra hours after class to help her go through what welearn.

In conclusion, it is fulfilling to watch students with physicaldisabilities work hard to achieve what other student withoutdisabilities can do. Donna et al (1999) argue that though it ischallenging to teach such students together with other students, itmotivates teachers to implement creative teaching strategies thathelp all students learn more effectively.


Common core (2015). English Language Arts standards, Statestandards initiative, preparing America’s student’s for collegeand career, from Literacy/

Donna, F. Dugger, W. &amp Diane, K. (1999). Preparing theinclusion classroom for students with special physical and healthneeds, Intervention in school and clinic, Hamimill Institute on disabilities, Vol34, No.3, Sage

Layne, S. (2009).Teaching toolbox, from

Ryan, J. Pierce, C. &amp Mooney, P.(2008). ‘Evidence basedteaching strategies for students with EBD, Effective teachingstrategies,’ Beyond behavior from achins%20strategies%20-EDC.pdf