Mobility Impairments

Mobility impairments, which may result from a health-related condition, range in severity from limitations on stamina to paralysis. Some mobility impairments are caused by conditions present at birth, while others are the result of illness or physical injury. Injuries cause different types of mobility impairments, depending on what area of the body is affected. Some of these conditions are progressive, meaning, e.g., that a student who initially has limited use of their hands eventually has no use of them.


Paralysis of the extremities and trunk caused by a neck injury. Students with quadriplegia have limited or no use of their arms and hands and often use electric wheelchairs.


Paralysis of the lower extremities and the lower trunk caused by an injury to the mid-back. Students often use a manual wheelchair and have full movement of arms and hands.

Brief Descriptions of Some Causes of Mobility Impairments


The removal of one or more limbs and is sometimes caused by a congenital condition, a trauma, or another condition.


The inflammation of the body's joints, causing pain, swelling, and difficulty in body movement.

Back disorders

These can limit a student's ability to sit, stand, walk, bend, or carry objects. They include, but are not limited to, degenerative disk disease, scoliosis, and herniated disks.

Cerebral palsy

The result of damage to the brain prior to, during, or shortly after birth. It can prevent or inhibit walking and cause a lack of muscle coordination, spasms, and speech difficulty.

Neuromuscular disorders

These include a variety of diseases, such as muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and ataxia, that result in degeneration and atrophy of muscle or nerve tissues.