Problems Faced by Children With Physical Disabilities

Some children are born with physical disabilities that prohibit normal growth 1. Most often these are the results of a disease such as muscular dystrophy. Sometimes a child’s physical disabilities are the result of an accident, such as car wreck or fall. Children with physical disabilities face special challenges 1.

Interacting with Peers

Due to inclusion, many children with physical disabilities attend regular public schools. Some of them are in regular classrooms. Because these children can’t run or play like others, children with physical disabilities may have a difficult time making friends 1. If a child's disability is also mental or emotional, communication may also be a problem. Teachers may not understand the child and limit her to activities at her desk or a table, further isolating her.


Children with physical disabilities are often frustrated, and that leads to anger 1. They see the other children playing and they want to participate. The social rejection hurts. According to an article published in the Rivier Academic Journal, about 56 percent of children with disabilities “act out.” This can be verbal or physical. It can happen at school, home or in a public place, such as a store, and it can happen without warning. It creates stress for the child and the parent.

Parental Depression

Parents who are raising children who cannot do things for themselves face a larger burden than parents with healthy children. The parent must often bathe, dress and feed a child with a physical disability. According to the article published in the Rivier Academic Journal, the parents’ stress can affect the child’s development. Studies quoted in the article show that mothers of physically disabled children reported higher stress levels than parents of healthy children. This stress is felt by the child and affects his mood and development. The child cannot realize his potential until the parents seek help.

Sleep Issues

In a study published by the McMaster Children’s Hospital in Canada, children with physical disabilities face more sleep problems 1. In addition to more frequent nighttime wakening, when they waken at night, they often need assistance with things like going to the bathroom, which disrupts the quality of the night's sleep for child and parent. Sometimes children are awakened in the night because of pain associated with their disability. Parents should try to get their children into a routine sleep pattern, so that the children function well during the day. Having the child on a normal sleep pattern also helps the parents function optimally.

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