During the school term, physiotherapists provide therapy intervention to students with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, as well as those with speech, language and communication difficulties such as autism. Although therapeutic interventions can vary significantly between students and are bespoke to their individual needs; the main aim of the physiotherapist is to maximise students’ physical and functional independence within school, the community and at home.

Percy Hedley School provides an integrated approach where physiotherapy is embedded across the school day to ensure physical, postural, respiratory, and sensory needs are met. Onsite physiotherapy maximises learning opportunities and supports opportunities to generalise motor skill development throughout the whole school day. Physiotherapists work with students through individual, small group and whole class sessions, all of which are integrated into the school timetable minimising educational disturbance. Therapy objectives and goals are set collaboratively with students, families and the transdisciplinary school team to ensure appropriate & meaningful outcomes are achieved.

Physiotherapists work collaboratively with other therapy disciplines within the school to form part of the multi-disciplinary team in school. Transdisciplinary working is supported alongside nurses, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, teachers and the wellbeing team. Communication is also encouraged and supported with outside agents including the NHS in order to approach therapy and treatment in an effective and holistic manner.

Physiotherapy and the MOVE Approach

Children with Cerebral Palsy / Neurological Conditions

Physiotherapists work with students following our MOVE programme to maximise their physical comfort, function and independence. The MOVE programme (Movement Opportunities via Education) has recently been introduced to Percy Hedley School. This integrated, curriculum-based approach develops students’ independence and motor skills utilising the expertise of onsite therapy and education to address students’ functional needs. Students have movement opportunities throughout the day based upon MOVE principles which promotes effective and inclusive learning.

Physiotherapists are trained to complete essential postural, orthopaedic and gross motor assessments which support the management and development of students’ physical needs. Standardised assessments further support treatment plans and goal setting with the students and their families. During term time, physiotherapists can support in the pre- and post-orthopaedic care following interventions such as surgery and or Botox.

Physiotherapists can support respiratory chest management to maximise lung function and health whilst pupils are medically well and in school. Respiratory interventions may include manual techniques, suctioning, positioning and tracheostomy care. The school physiotherapy team liaise closely with the school nursing team and NHS services where appropriate.

Transdisciplinary therapy intervention is also embedded within the curriculum to support the students’ postural management needs and to maximise motor development opportunities. These may include:

  • Move to Learn
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Rebound Therapy
  • Motor-Sensory Programmes
  • PE
  • Postural Programmes (standing frames, wedges, corner seats, walking frames etc)
Find out more about MOVE here  >

Gross Motor Development

A physically active multi-sensory approach to learning is promoted in school to maximise pupils’ concentration and alertness when accessing the curriculum.

Physiotherapists identify and support those students who may require input to assist a delay in gross motor skill development, or for those who have developmental coordination difficulties. Therapy intervention is also tailored to maximise the individual’s self-esteem in a structured sensory appropriate environment, allowing for over-learning and familiarisation.  A physically active multi-sensory approach to learning is promoted across the Speech and Language department in order to maximise pupils’ concentration and alertness when accessing the curriculum.

Transdisciplinary therapy intervention is embedded within the curriculum to maximise movement opportunities and motor development. Transdisciplinary sessions (where physiotherapists work in conjunction with the teacher and/or other therapists) may include:

  • Motor-Sensory Programmes
  • Hydrotherapy / Swimming
  • Rebound Therapy
  • Pilates
  • PE
  • Outdoor Learning

Physiotherapists and Occupational therapists work collaboratively to employ strategies that enable the student to function within their own comfort zones and maintain an optimal level of alertness in the classroom to maximise learning opportunites.