Inclusion Services

Sensory - Complex Physical and Medical Needs Service

The term Complex Physical/Medical Need covers a wide range of illnesses or conditions. These will often be long lasting (or chronic) and many of the children affected will need adaptations to be made so that they can fully access school life. The level and type of adaptation, will depend on the complexity of the need.

Some examples of Complex Physical and Medical Needs are:

  • Conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or spina bifida where children may have motor difficulties that will affect some or all of their limbs.
  • Conditions such as diabetes or epilepsy where medical plans may be needed to ensure that the children’s medical needs can be attended to during the school day.
  • Other conditions, such as some genetic conditions, which may affect a child’s overall development and learning.  

The severity of need will differ from child to child, and may change at all stages of their school life. One of the main aims of the Complex Physical and Medical Needs Service is to support the school to meet the individual child’s needs, whilst also encouraging the child to be as independent as possible.

How will my child's school help?

  • The school should work with you and your child to make sure that they are included in all areas of school life.
  • The school has a duty to take into account legislation related to equality and disability when planning to support and include your child.
  • The school should take your child’s individual needs into account. Whilst support will be given as needed, the school should also teach your child to be as independent as possible.
  • The school should ensure that staff working with your child have the appropriate knowledge and understanding of your child’s illness or condition. Where appropriate, staff training will be provided by Health professionals, for example, specialist nurses, community nurses, speech therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists.
  • Plans which may be needed to support your child should be written and kept up to date. These could include a healthcare plan, one page profile, moving and handling plan, and a toileting plan.
  • All staff working with your child should be aware of their strengths and difficulties and be familiar with any plans that are in place to support them.     
  • The school’s Additional Needs Co-ordinator (ALNCo) will be able to request the involvement the Complex Physical and Medical Needs Service for advice and guidance or practical input when they are planning how best to support your child. 

What can I do to support my child and their school?

  • Sharing information with school is key.
  • Let the school know if there are any changes in your child’s illness or condition, e.g. changes to medication, updated information from Health services.
  • Try to teach your child how to do things for themselves. It can be quicker and easier to do things for them but the aim is always to teach them how to do things as independently as possible, so they have greater opportunities in life.
  • It is very important to try to practise skills such as dressing, using cutlery, getting toys and equipment out and putting them away again as this will enable your child to learn to be more independent and to join in more fully with activities.


ID: 7918, revised 05/10/2021