Trusted Resources: Education

Scientific literature and patient education texts

Diagnosis: Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

key information

source: Muscular Dystrophy Association Inc.

year: N/A


It is important that school health officials understand this disease is not contagious and does not pose a health risk to the school. However, absences from school can accumulate due to an increased risk of respiratory illness resulting from respiratory muscle weakness. To learn more about SMA, visit

In the school setting, the following aids, interventions and supports are recommended for students with SMA so they are able to fully access their school environment and have the opportunity to excel academically and socially.

Physical Therapy:

Physical therapy enables children with SMA to make maximum use of healthy muscle function, helping them maintain independence and prevent the onset of muscle contractures. This is a list of accommodations students may need during the school day:

    • Stretching

    • Range-of-motion exercises

    • Safety training (on playground, etc.)

    • Hallway safety

    • Accommodating activities of daily living (ADLs) to changing physical needs (toileting, lunch/time/cafeteria safety, etc.)

    • Adapted/modified physical education (see next section)


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