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Supporting Children in Kent with Special Educational Needs and Disability

Spring Newsletter from the PD Team


Hello and welcome to our first PD STLS Newsletter! For those of you who don’t know us, we are a small team of Specialist Teachers that work across the County with nurseries and schools to support inclusion of children and young people with Physical Disabilities and/or Complex Medical Needs. Valence school are commissioned by KCC to offer this outreach support. Referrals can be made through the local LIFT meetings and are allocated, where appropriate by Julie Jackson, County Lead. From term 5, we will also be offering Area Surgeries so you can take the opportunity to speak virtually to us, anonymously for advice. Please scroll to the end for the flyer dates and how to book.

We are excited to be offering three newsletters a year which will include:

  • A ‘Diagnosis Focus’

  • Termly Topics

  • Frequent Queries

  • Signposting

Diagnosis Focus- Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is the most common motor disability (affecting movement/coordination) in childhood but there are a lot of variation in symptoms and degrees of disability. It starts with a complication in the brain typically at or around birth. Here is a 4 minute NHS video to give you an overview:


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Possible signs:

  • Delays in reaching development milestones e.g. sitting/walking
  • Seeming too stiff or too floppy 
  • Jerky movements
  • Muscle spasms /tremors

The severity of symptoms varies significantly from person to person. The parts of the body that are affected can also vary. Some cases mainly affect one side of the body (Hemiplegia), some mainly affect the legs (Diplegia), and some affect all limbs (Quadriplegia).

People with Cerebral Palsy may also have a range of other issues, including: feeding, swallowing, speaking, sleeping, digestions, toileting, learning difficulties, vision and hearing impairments.

Types of cerebral palsy

  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy – the muscles are stiff and tight  making it difficult to move and reducing the range of movement.
  • Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy – the muscles switch between stiffness and floppiness, causing random, uncontrolled body movements.
  • Ataxic Cerebral Palsy – when a person has balance and co-ordination problems, resulting in shaky or clumsy movements and sometimes tremors
  • Mixed Cerebral Palsy – when a person has symptoms of more than one of the types mentioned above

Want to know more:

Speak with your local PD ST re teaching strategies/ linked OT/Physio.

Termly Topic: Personal Care

The Equality Act 2010 states that schools must not discriminate against or disadvantage disabled children or those with special educational needs. 'A delay in achieving continence - or not being toilet trained - is considered a disability. It is therefore not acceptable for a school to refuse or delay admission to children who are not yet continent' (ERIC, 2021) Why not talk to the parent about setting up a personal/intimate care plan. Scroll down for examples. Do speak with your OT and PD Specialist Teacher about the different equipment options e.g. grab rails/toilet frames/up down changing beds etc

Need more information?

Frequently Asked Queries

1. How can I support parents that are anxious about their son/daughter returning?

We encourage schools to be sensitive about parental anxiety since it is early days in understanding the disease. It may be appropriate to have a return to school /setting care meeting if their has been a prolonged absence in order to ensure you are able to welcome them safely e.g. equipment safety, current physical needs and to update care plans/risk assessments/PEEPs.


2.How can I support pupils that need to continue to shield?

The number of children that are considered Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) has much reduced over the course of the Pandemic:

Parents are encouraged to discuss attendance  with their clinicians who will be able to discuss balancing social isolation risks against medical risks. Schools will need to think carefully about how to manage remote education in these circumstances. Please liaise with your PD Specialist teacher in this instance.


Initial training when welcoming a child:

Fine Motor Skills /Recording/Technology:

  • See our on-line training modules on supporting Fine Motor Skills and Alternative Methods of Recording the Curriculum in the Training section
  • One stop shop for technology e.g. alternative keyboards, mice, software :
  • Literacy software- Clicker (Primary) and DocsPlus (Secondary)/

Working with Health: