Multiple disabilities exist when a person has more than one disability. This is probably more common than most people would imagine. The fact is, there are sometimes severe outcomes that result from having combined disabilities. What kind of outcomes?
What are the outcomes of living with several different disabilities?
Outcomes will be different for each person according to his or her disability mix. However, there are some outcomes that seem to be more universal, or that affect large numbers of people with combined disabilities.
Possible results of having more than one disability:
– Difficulties with communication skills
– Deficiencies in self-care skills
Difficulties with Communication Skills
Does a person need to be able to read, write, or speak in order to communicate? Not necessarily. Why is this? Because there are other ways to relay messages.
Still, people must be taught to relay messages in whatever style best suits them (Sign Language, communication supported by technology, “communication systems using objects,” etc).
If people are not taught an appropriate method of communication, communication deficiencies may result.
Communication-related difficulties can often be helped with “augmentative communication systems” and “assistive technology.” These will both be discussed in future posts.
Deficiencies in Self-Care Skills
These can be caused as a result of “deficits in motor development.” Poorly toned muscles can also be a culprit. Still, people with multiple disabilities can learn various competencies — “their ability to learn can help provide them with some level of independence in a number of life skills areas.”
Illiteracy in individuals with multiple disabilities can result from a variety of factors. “Children with severe and multiple disabilities struggle particularly with vocabulary acquisition and phonological awareness.”
Why is it that individuals with more than one disability struggle with illiteracy? There are a number of reasons:
– A person may not have proper access to “print materials.”
– “Home, preschool, and school environments may limit literacy learning opportunities by making literacy a lower priority than the child’s competing health, self-care, and therapeutic needs.”
– A person may not have appropriate access to “communication supports.”
– There may not be enough time to devote to learning literacy.
It is important for youths with multiple disabilities to receive education that is effective for them. Why? Because “most of these students are still quite capable of learning at their own level when provided the appropriate supports and materials.”
To read an excellent article about illiteracy and multiple disabilities, visit http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17340385.
Education is a key to reversing the negative effects of having multiple disabilities.
Having combined disabilities can certainly add obstacles to life. But appropriate teaching and education is vital for communication, self-care skills, and literacy to be taught. Without a doubt, education is a key to reversing the negative effects of having multiple disabilities.
*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority. Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.
Let’s Talk About It
What are some results of having multiple disabilities that are not listed in this post?
In your opinion, is it necessary for each and every person to be able to read and write (to the degree that they are able)?