Both teachers and parents will have many questions about how to best support a child with neuromuscular disease in the classroom. Available free as a downloadable booklet from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) website, The Teacherís Guide to Neuromuscular Disease will help answer these questions for both teachers and parents. This booklet more specifically targets the questions that teachers may have, however.
This booklet includes introductory letters from a couple of teachers who have been diagnosed with neuromuscular disease. Each successfully completed her education despite physical disability, and now teach children. Both teachers noted how influential their own childhood teachers were in their lives.
Sections of this booklet include both general information about neuromuscular disease and brief desciptions of specific diseases. The booklet briefly reviews treatment information, including assistive devices, cardiac and respiratory care, special nutrition needs, physical and occupational therapy interventions, medications, and surgical intervention.
The booklet covers the possible effects of neuromuscular disease on learning and the childís effect on the classroom. Another section discusses talking to other students about neuromuscular disease.
Most of the time, neuromuscular disease does not cause cognitive deficits. Students can usually be successful in mainstream classrooms with the proper support. Some diagnoses are associated with an above-average risk for learning disability. Neuromuscular disease can can cause difficulties associated with motor weakness and fatigue that make keeping up with the demands of a classroom difficult, requiring accommodations. Common difficulties and accommodations are outlined. These students may also miss days of school due to more frequent illnesses and/or surgical intervention.
Communication and cooperation between the teacher and family members remains important throughout education for every child. The Teachers Guide provides an overview of family life for children and teens with neuromuscular disease to increase teacher understanding of how families cope with the special concerns that these children and families have. The booklet pays special attention to the adjustment to use of a wheelchair. This guide also lists additional tips for teachers, as well.
The Teacherís Guide to Neuromuscular Disease will help answer many of the questions that teachers and parents will have. Working together, parents and teachers will find this booklet useful to their ongoing efforts to provide the best possible learning environment for a child with neuromuscular disease.
Muscular Dystrophy Association, (2008). A Teacherís guide to Neuromuscular Disease. Retrieved as a .pdf file from http://www.mda.org/publications/tchrdmd/ on 8/6/11.
FTC Disclosure: This booklet was obtained for free and is available as a downloadable .pdf file on the MDA website.