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All about Motor Disabilities

Motor disabilities are physical impairments that can impede movement, coordination, or sensation. They include weaknesses and lack of muscle control. Motor disabilities are a result of injuries to one or more of the most important parts of the body. There are two types of disabilities based on the kind of injury sustained by the body.

Traumatic Injuries

  1. Spinal Cord Injuries - Spinal cord injuries can turn into a state of paralysis of the limbs. Paralysis of the legs is called paraplegia whereas paralysis of the legs and arms is called quadriplegia. People with paraplegia have lesser immobility as compared to those with quadriplegia and they have to go through significant difficulties, depending on the type and severity of the injury. There are many people with quadriplegia who retain some kind of control of their hands, but not enough to do major work. Despite these limitations, individuals with quadriplegia are able to make use of assistive technologies that allows them to cope up with daily life.

  2. Loss or Damage of Limb – Accidents, sports, and other such incidents are some of the major reasons for the loss or damage of a limb. In majority of cases it is the arm that is damaged, and debilitating disabilities spring from the loss or impairment of the hand or the arm. For those who have injured their limbs, there are a lot of assistive technologies that help in living a balanced life.

Diseases or Congenital Disorders

  1. Cerebral Palsy–An injury to the brain, resulting in decreased muscle control is referred to as cerebral palsy. It usually occurs during fetal development, but can also occur at or shortly after birth. Major characteristics of cerebral palsy include muscle tightness or spasm, involuntary movement, and impaired speech. Many of the cases lead to paralysis.

  2. Muscular Dystrophy or MD–This is a genetic disorder in which the genes for muscle proteins are damaged. The progressive degeneration of the muscles is one of the major characteristics. Muscular dystrophy affects people at any age, but is the most common among children. Mild MD affected adults can live a normal life span, while individuals with more serious cases have a short life span. The assistive technologies used by individuals with MD vary with the severity of the condition.

  3. Multiple Sclerosis- The myelin which is a layer of fatty tissue which surrounds nerve fiberserodes, rendering the nerve fibers incapable of sending signals from the central nervous system to the muscles of the body. This condition is known as Multiple Sclerosis. Tremors, weakness, numbness, unstable walking, spasticity, slurred speech, muscle stiffness, or impaired memory are major symptoms. Severe cases can result in partial or complete paralysis.

  4. Spina Bifida- When the spine fails to close properly during the first month of pregnancy the condition is referred to as Spina Bifida. The membrane around the spinal column in this case, protrudes through the back, resulting in a visible bulge, or sac on the back of the individual. In the more serious cases, the spinal column itself protrudes through this opening. People born with this condition are more vulnerable to paralysis and will likely have motor disabilities.

  5. Arthritis– It affects the elderly the most, but can occur in younger individuals as well. Many people with arthritis are able to perform day to day activities, but they do not always have the fine motor control sufficient to perform dexterous tasks. More often than not, people with arthritis do not use assistive technologies at all, but some with more advanced arthritis may have to use them.

  6. Parkinson’s disease – Also known as PD, it is a disorder of the central nervous system that causes uncontrollable tremors and/or rigidity in the muscles. In advanced cases of Parkinson's disease one may not be able to complete basic tasks at all. Parkinson's disease usually affects the elderly.