Disability in Adolescence by E. Anderson

By E. Anderson

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3. Teenagers rated as having minor problems could run and walk but with less than usual dexterity and speed: those with moderate problems could manage only short to moderate distances with or without aids, and included those who tended to fall rather easily. Those rated as having severe problems had no useful walking, all this group depending heavily on wheelchairs. Comparing the two diagnostic groups, a much larger proportion of the spina bifida young people had moderate or severe mobility problems, nearly twothirds of them being mainly dependent on wheelchairs, compared with less than 20 per cent of the cerebral-palsied group.

Even the non-LEA ordinary schools were considerably larger on the whole than the special schools. 8 Characteristics of the schools * Overall average The day special schools were all run by LEAs, as were two of the residential schools, the others were run by a variety of voluntary organizations. Nine of the residential schools were for the physically handicapped and the others included one for the maladjusted, a Rudolf Steiner school for pupils of mixed handicaps, a school for epileptic pupils, one for deaf pupils and one for deaf pupils with additional handicaps.

The assessment had to be such that a non-medical person could rate the teenager from questions put to the mother, and from records where available, about the ways in which the disability affected day-to-day functioning; it had to provide an objective method of distinguishing between those who were mildly, moderately and severely handicapped; and it also had to allow for the possibility of comparing degrees of impairment between different functional handicaps (for example, to show whether hand control was more impaired than mobility).

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