Children's Services

Physical Disabilities

The criteria for involvement from The Specialist Teacher Advisory Service for children with physical disabilities are:

  • the child has been diagnosed by the Local Health Authority as having a medical condition that affects the child’s physical functioning. This would include physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and osteogenesis imperfecta (Brittle bone disease). Medical conditions would include epilepsy or severe asthma
  • the pupil is School Action Plus in relation to the Code Of Practice or has a Statement of Special Educational Needs and that their physical disability affects their access to the buildings and /or curriculum
  • provision of specialist equipment or furniture is required to access the curriculum.

The Specialist Teacher Advisers for Physical Disabilities support children/young people with physical disabilities and or a medical condition attending mainstream schools or an early years setting.

(Useful links to other organisations)

Children with a diagnosed physical disability/and or medical condition may be referred by:

Warming up for a game of wheelchair football
  • special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs)/headteachers
  • area inclusion coordinators
  • health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, portage workers.

The Specialist Teacher Adviser for children with physical disabilities works closely with:

  • children, young people and their parents
  • physiotherapists
  • occupational therapists
  • portage workers
  • specialist nurses
  • school nurses
  • paediatric consultants
  • speech and language therapists
  • educational psychologists
  • the inclusion support officer who carries out risk assessments and provides manual handling training
  • the support officer for ICT/augmentative alternative communication (AAC)
  • Specialist Teacher Adviser for ICT/AAC.

Prior to starting school support from the Specialist Teacher Adviser may include all or some of the following as appropriate:

  • an assessment of the child’s needs
  • providing reports for monitoring children’s progress or for the Statutory Assessment process
  • providing advice to parents about accessible schools
  • working in conjunction with the physiotherapist’s and occupational therapist’s recommendations, ensuring the child has the appropriate furniture and equipment in place so the child can access a broad and balanced curriculum in their school setting
  • making recommendations in relation to the accessibility of schools and submitting bids in accordance with the agreed HCC protocol
  • providing support to preschool provisions with regard to initiating and supporting the statutory assessment process
  • supporting parents with the statutory assessment process
  • providing advice and support in relation to risk assessment and manual handling issues
  • providing advice and support to preschool settings in how to promote the child’s independence and self-help skills in preparation for transition to school
  • providing advice and support to preschool settings in relation to individual education plans (IEPs) and appropriate target settings
  • establishing and promoting good liaison between the preschool setting and the school
  • disability awareness and providing specific advice in relation to specific physical disabilities
  • establishing good liaison/communication between the school, health professionals, parents and the child
  • providing advice on pupil induction programmes to ensure a smooth transition for the child.

Once the child with an identified physical disability is at school the Specialist Teacher Adviser can support by:

  • observing the pupil/meeting with the pupil and providing feedback to parents, class teacher, SENCOs and health professionals
  • providing guidance with regard to monitoring the pupil’s progress in relation to their IEP targets
  • raising staff awareness of specific physical disabilities and disability in general
  • signposting parents and school staff to other support agencies or sources of useful information and support
  • liaising closely with physiotherapists and occupational therapists to ensure the pupil’s physical needs are being met and ensuring that the pupil has the appropriate equipment to access the curriculum
  • promoting inclusive practices
  • providing advice and guidance to teachers and support staff on the differentiation of the curriculum and modifying tasks/resources
  • providing support in relation to annual reviews and the Statutory Assessment process
  • helping with preparation and planning for the pupil’s transition between key stages
  • referring the pupil to the Specialist Teacher Adviser for ICT/AAC for assessment, advice and support as appropriate.

As the young person prepares for transition to post 16 provision the Specialist Teacher Adviser can offer support by:

  • helping parents make informed choices about appropriate provision
  • promoting disability awareness and sharing knowledge of specific disabilities
  • liaising and establishing a dialogue with the new professionals who will be involved, including college staff, Connexions, adult services, health professionals and transition nurses
  • helping colleges in planning to meet the short and long term needs of the young person
  • advising colleges on issues relating to buildings and curriculum access for the young person
  • sharing knowledge of what works best for the young person
  • advising and supporting colleges with induction programmes to ensure a smooth transition to college /further education

Useful links

  • Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (ASBAH) - www.ASBAH.org
  • SCOPE (UK disability organisation focusing on cerebral palsy) - www.scope.org.uk
  • HEMIHELP (UK based organisation supporting children and young people with hemiplegia) - www.hemihelp.org.uk
  • Muscular Dystrophy - www.muscular-dystrophy.org
  • CAF (a charity helping families caring for disabled children. The site includes an index of specific conditions and rare disorders) - www.cafamily.org.uk
  • ERIC (education and resources for improving childhood continence) - www.eric.org.uk

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