The Physical Disability service
The Physical Disability Service provides physiotherapists and occupational therapists to work with children and teachers at school.
In some parts of the country the physical disability service is provided by the Ministry of Education, Special Education. In other areas the service is provided by school Specialist service providers.
Who can get this support?
To receive support from this service a child will have a primary physical disability and is likely to have difficulty with:
- moving around the classroom and moving safely around other areas of the school, as well as with using playground equipment
- taking part in learning activities, particularly physical ones, or being able to use technology, such as computers
- using pencils, pens and other tools and materials, especially if their disability is causing problems with their handwriting
- managing tasks, such as changing their clothes when they go swimming, pulling up or fastening clothes when going to the toilet, and with eating their morning tea or lunch.
If a child has a severe physical disability, or several disabilities, it might be better to apply to the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS). Children who receive ORS cannot also receive support from the Physical Disability Service.
Support available through the service
Depending on a child’s needs, they might get occupational therapy and/or physiotherapy.
A therapist will do an assessment of a child’s needs. This will be based on the information provided in a child's application and sometimes by a therapist's own observations of the child at school. They will talk with everyone involved and provide strategies and programmes that best fit a child’s needs. This could mean providing training and ideas to everyone working with the child about ways to make sure they are included in all class activities.
The therapist might also talk with parents and the school about changes that might need to be made to buildings, such as classrooms and the library. For example, doorways might need to be widened or ramps and handrails built so the child is able to get to all the areas of the school.
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