Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves. A person with scoliosis may
have a back that curves from side to side like an "S" or a "C." Conditions like cerebral
palsy or muscular dystrophy can cause scoliosis, but most of the time there is no
Scoliosis can develop over time. Often, it's not diagnosed until a child is 10
to 14 years old, the ages when most kids have growth spurts.
Most students with scoliosis don't need any intervention because most small curves
don't cause problems. But if the curve gets worse, it can:
become more visible
cause discomfort or pain
affect a person's lungs and heart
lead to damage in the joints of the spine
For significant scoliosis curves, doctors usually recommend that kids wear a brace.
Most braces can be worn under clothing. In severe cases, surgery will help correct
the curvature of the spine. With effective treatment, almost every student with scoliosis
can have an active, normal life.
need extra time to complete assignments and make up tests
benefit from a 504
educational plan that calls for seating accommodations, extra time getting to
and from classes, and elevator privileges if available
need to visit the school nurse for pain medicine or brace adjustments
need to be excused from physical education and sports
What Teachers Can Do
Most children with scoliosis have no physical limitations. Scoliosis does not affect
a student's ability to learn, but wearing a brace or having physical limitations can
make a student feel self-conscious or embarrassed. Encourage students to participate
in all activities they're up to, and be understanding of any discomfort or tiredness
Depending on the degree of scoliosis, students may see several medical specialists.
Allowing extra time to complete assignments and sending work home while a student
recovers from surgery can help them keep up and not feel overwhelmed.