Multi-disabilities / Physical / learning support

colonial intermediate unit 20

The Multi-Disabilities / Physical / Learning support programs serve children and their families in Northampton, Monroe, and Pike counties, providing special education services.

The CIU20 Physical Support program provides students with orthopedic impairments the opportunity to participate in an educational program based on strategies offered by physical and occupational therapists to assist these students in mobility and adjustment to his/her individual condition. The physical therapists and physical therapy assistants work as an integral part of the education team and are able to function as a liaison between the medical and educational communities. In the educational setting, intervention strategies are diversified to meet the identified goals and objectives of the IEP and/or the Physical Therapy Intervention Plan.

According to IDEA 2004, orthopedic impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes:

  • impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.)
  • impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.)
  • impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).


The CIU20 Multiple Disabilities program concentrates on the physical, communication and self-help skills of students with two or more disabilities, which severely impair their progress in a general education curriculum.

According to IDEA 2004, multiple disabilities means concomitant impairments, the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments.

  • Students in the Multiple Disabilities Support program often require extraordinary amounts of special education services, such as: low student-teacher ratio, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision therapy, and/or hearing therapy.


The Physical and Multiple Disables Support Program utilizes a wide variety of educational approaches and techniques to provide age respectful activities to provide academics aligned to the Pennsylvania State Standards/Alternate eligible content, and functional life skills instruction. A strong partnership between school and family is developed in order to enhance the skills, which lead to the student becoming as independent as possible.

  • A trans-disciplinary approach is implemented to ensure all services are coordinated and focused to address the students’ Individual Education Programs (IEPs). A strong emphasis is placed on communication and daily living skills. Assistive technology is often required to help these students communicate and become more independent and self-sufficient.

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