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How your child with physical difficulties is supported in school

There are different types and degrees of physical difficulty that require different levels of support, but pupils with physical difficulties learn well in mainstream schools if attention is paid to their specific needs.

If your child has a physical difficulty, they may also have learning difficulties and health and care services may need to be involved. If your child needs significant support, a health care plan can be drawn up between you, the school and health professionals to make sure all of their needs are met.

School nurses, specialist nurses and therapy staff may need to provide extra training for school staff to help them meet the specific needs of your child. Specialist equipment may also be provided to help with their learning and therapy/care needs.

Changes may have to be made in school buildings to meet your child’s needs e.g. ramps, grab rails, toilet seats or other specialist equipment. Sometimes changes will need to be made to staff attitudes, understanding or the general organisation of the school.

The type and level of support required will depend on your child’s needs. Schools will use a graduated approach - a system to identify and meet the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

Most children and young people with physical difficulties will make good progress and achieve well when the right support is in place.

Quality First Teaching

Quality First Teaching is high quality teaching which provides appropriate learning opportunities to all pupils, whatever their individual needs. It is the first step of a graduated (or stepped) approach in responding to pupils who have, or may have, SEND. Staff knowledge and understanding of SEND is a key factor to good Quality First Teaching outcomes.

All staff must have knowledge and understanding of the SEND Code of Practice 2014 and the The Equalities Act 2010.

Examples of what might be expected at this level of support:

  • Staff will be aware of your child’s issues, Equalities Act 2010 and the School Accessibility Plan. The school will have an equality policy (or similar)
  • A full check (audit) of the school building if necessary
  • Health / Care plans and risk assessments will be in place
  • Staff will be aware that your child may need more time to complete tasks and do some things differently
  • Staff will seek advice from the occupational therapist about how to help your child in school
  • School trips and visits will be carefully planned and include risk assessments
  • Staff will include your child in all activities including PE, swimming and playtimes, with modification and differentiation where required
  • Staff will understand that your child’s physical disability/medical need may have a wider impact on their social and emotional wellbeing
  • Staff will help when your child is taking medication
  • The school will encourage good home-to-school communication to make sure that staff are aware of any changes in your child’s condition
  • Writing aids such as writing slopes or pencil grips, aids such as easy grip scissors for fine motor skills, use of larger lined books or paper and use of laptops/tablets/software will be available as required
  • Staff will consider seating and positioning for ease of moving around
  • Strategies will be put in place to assist your child with self-organisation, for example diaries and checklists
  • Staff will help your child to write down homework or use of pre-printed materials
  • Individualised support may be provided, for example toileting, PE, giving medicine, specialist walking aids and alternative methods of recording.

SEND Support Plans

Some children will need support that is ‘additional to’ or ‘different from’ what schools provide for all pupils. This is called SEND Support.

The special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) and the teacher will work with you and your child to create a SEND Support Plan which should be reviewed three times a year. This will be based around your child’s strengths and needs and will identify outcomes for your child that will be agreed with you.

It will be important to identify the main characteristic of your child’s main area of need. However, support plans will identify all the needs of your child within the following four broad areas:

  • Cognition and learning
  • Social, emotional and mental health
  • Communication and interaction
  • Sensory and physical

Targeted SEND support might include:

  • Support staff trained to carry out your child’s therapy programme and moving and handling.
  • Teachers linking class work with therapies.
  • Detailed health care plan/risk assessments written and regularly reviewed.
  • Planning therapy and toileting needs so that children/young people still have the opportunity to socialise and learn.
  • Sessions outside of the classroom for therapy programmes if needed.
  • Individual tailored support, if needed. For example, toileting, PE, delivering therapies, giving medicine, putting on splints and alternative methods of recording communication or specialist walking aids.
  • Changes to the curriculum in PE and practical subjects to take account of physical disabilities.
  • Joint planning twith you and other professionals to make sure that medical appointments, therapies etc. Do not result in your child missing school.
  • Access to a range of specialist technology.