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Gross Motor

Gross motor limitations involve limitations in the movement of large body parts such as legs, back, arms. Examples include balancing, bending, carting, climbing, kneeling, lifting, foot control, pushing/pulling, reaching, sitting, squatting, standing, or walking.

  • Balancing

    Individuals may have difficulty balancing due to a variety of conditions. See below for some ideas to help you find a solution when someone has limitations in balance.

     

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  • Bending

    Bending is a limitation that is typically, but not always, associated with a motor or mobility impairment. It's a postural limitation that can interfere with a job that involves work centered below one's waist.

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  • Carrying

    Individuals may have difficulty in carrying due to a variety of motor/mobility limitations. These types of limitations can affect people in a variety of fields of employment, from office settings, industrial settings, agricultural settings, healthcare settings, and childcare settings to name a few. Accommodations come in a variety of solutions for a specific limitation. See below for some ideas to help you get started.

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  • Climbing

    Climbing is a common limitation that results from various. An individual may have difficulty working at heights, cannot physically climb, or is at risk when climbing. 

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  • Kneeling

    Kneeling limitations can arise from a variety of conditions including but not limited to amputations, arthritis, and leg impairments. A back condition or cancer could also limit one's kneeling. Kneeling limitations may be temporary or permanent.

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  • Lifting

    Individuals may have difficulty in lifting due to a variety of motor/mobility limitations. These types of limitations can affect people in a variety of fields of employment, from office, industrial, service, agricultural, healthcare, daily living, and childcare settings to name a few. Accommodations come in a variety of solutions for a specific limitation. See below for some ideas to help you get started.

    • Lifting children: An individual with a lifting limitation who works with children may have difficulty moving, carrying, or lifting them safely. Individuals should use proper lifting techniques and lift in teams when appropriate. Other considerations include making equipment and tables waist-level to those who work in the environment, e.g., adjustable changing tables, walk-up changing tables. Equipment such as multi-seat carriages to transport children in large groups is also useful.
    • Lifting patients: Lifting and transferring patients are difficult for individuals with certain impairments. Manipulating extremities and positioning individuals for activities of daily living or physical therapy are also difficult. Proper lifting techniques; lowering adjustable exam tables, adult changing tables, and equipment (low-lipped showers); ergonomic layouts for equipment (cranks and handles on beds and carts) and supplies (storing items at waist height, lowering bed rails when attending to patient needs, etc.); and team lifting are beneficial administrative changes. Other accommodations include:
      • Maintaining carts that carry monitoring devices and IVs and maintaining wheelchairs so that brakes and wheels are properly adjusted;
      • Using mechanical lifts that are total body, stand-assist, ambulation, or bath and shower;
      • Using compact lifts when transporting patients outside of a medical or housing facility;
      • Assisting transfer aids;
      • Purchasing pivot disks, range of motion machines, transfer and gait belts, and lift chairs and seats to assist with positioning and manipulating;
      • Assisting individuals with daily living activities by using toileting, eating, and general independent living products; and
      • Using other equipment such as toilet seat risers, bath chairs, long-handled scrub brushes and shower heads, and bath boards.
    • Lifting office or retail materials or service goods: Moving equipment and products around an office or retail setting typically requires compact lifting devices. These devices are often light-weight and can be maneuvered in tight spaces. Flooring that is not a deep push carpet helps to decrease moving resistance. Casters to fit the flooring (concrete, carpet, linoleum, wood, etc.) also decrease this resistance. Properly placed equipment that is stored in accessible shelving, which allows individuals to lift products from waist height, is useful. Carts, adjustable lift tables, step stools, stairclimbing hand trucks, and tote boxes are helpful.
    • Lifting agricultural and farming items: Lifting, carrying, and moving farm and agricultural items can involve heavy, strenuous tasks. Mobile cranes, powered lift gates, and powered carts designed for outdoor use can help with these tasks. The AgrAbility Project was created to assist farmers, ranchers and farmworkers with disabilities remain employed in agriculture and to provide practical education and assistance that promotes independence in agricultural production and rural living. The National AgrAbility Project has a database of close to a 1000 agricultural assistive technology products and adds new devices as recommended by state projects and farmers. It also provides information about state and regional projects who work with farmers or ranchers with disabling conditions.
    • Lifting industrial products: Working in an industrial environment often calls for material handing devices that lift, move, and carry products of all shapes and sizes. Some products require specific lifting devices. Drum-handling equipment is one example. Often workers in industrial environment must use tools. Tool balancers and lightweight ergonomic tools help decrease strain from lifting. Some environments, however, use one or more of the following types of devices to either prevent back injuries or accommodate employees with lifting limitations:

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  • Operating Foot Control

    Most often foot control limitations are linked to driving. However, many machines and equipment are operated with foot controls.

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  • Pushing/Pulling

    Pushing and pulling limitations are associated with different types of conditions. Workers who are limited in these functions are often tasked with moving patients, carts and hand trucks, boxes and cartons, tools, doors, and other materials.

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  • Reaching

    Individuals may have difficulty reaching due to a variety of motor/mobility limitations. Some individuals may have difficulty reaching over the head, others may have difficulty reaching below the knee, while others may have difficulty reaching at the average waist height for the typical person. Accommodations come in a variety of solutions for a specific limitation. See below for some ideas to help you get started. 

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  • Sitting

    Individuals may have difficulty sitting due to a variety of motor/mobility limitations. Some individuals may have difficulty sitting for long periods of time while others may need to alternate between sitting and standing. Accommodations come in a variety of solutions for a specific limitation. See below for some ideas to help you get started.

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  • Squatting

    Squatting limitations can arise from a variety of conditions including but not limited to amputations, arthritis, and  leg impairments. If squatting limitations are present due to a disability, employers should consider whether reasonable accommodation is appropriate. Accommodations come in a variety of solutions for a specific limitation. See below for some ideas to help you get started.

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  • Standing

    Individuals may have difficulty standing for a variety of reasons. Some individuals may have difficulty standing for long periods of time while others may not be able to do so at all. Some may have difficulty getting from a seated position to standing height. Accommodations come in a variety of solutions for a specific limitation. See below for some ideas to help you get started.

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  • Walking

    Individuals may have difficulty walking due to a variety of motor/mobility limitations. Some individuals may have difficulty walking for long periods of time while others may not be able to do so at all. Employers may use equipment that is typically used for other duties as accommodations, such as four-wheelers, golf carts, and other small vehicles. A change in how employees communicate could also be an accommodation. Communicating with e-mail, instant messaging, two-way radios, and cell phones can reduce walking on a job. Accommodations can come in a variety of solutions for a specific limitation. See below for some ideas to help you get started.

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