Like other students, children with neuromuscular diseases show a range of mental abilities, and many have higher-than-normal intelligence.
However, muscle weakness and fatigue can make it hard for students to keep up with the physical demands of handwriting, completing assignments, organizing materials, etc.
In winter, the increased susceptibility to (and life-threatening consequences of) respiratory infections may cause students to miss many days of school.
A few neuromuscular diseases bring a higher-than-average risk of learning disabilities and mental retardation. This may affect learning to read or understanding math concepts, being able to attend to a lesson or comprehending classroom concepts.
Unlike muscle weakness, cognitive effects don’t get progressively worse over time. Students benefit from appropriate accommodations for learning disabilities.
For more on cognitive effects, see Neuromuscular Disease Descriptions.
Students with neuromuscular diseases usually qualify for special education services based on their orthopedic disabilities, their learning disabilities or both. Throughout their school careers, most are placed in mainstream classrooms with supports.
These students may have an IEP (Individual Education Program) outlining educational goals, strategies and supports, or a Section 504 accommodation plan.