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Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Physical difficulties

Advisory service for children with physical difficulties

What we do

The Physical Disabilities Advisory Team supports children and young people (CYP) from 3 to 19 who have physical disabilities. We offer ongoing advice, guidance and support to schools, families, carers and children and young people in order to maximise opportunities for learning, independence and inclusion so that children and young people can achieve their full potential and overcome barriers to learning.

Who we support

Most often the CYP seen will have an EHCP issued for the primary need of (exceptional) physical difficulties.

Other children aged 3-19 can be referred and these tend to be pupils who may be in the process of statutory assessment, or who have some lesser degree of physical difficulty which is significantly affecting their access to the curriculum.

School and setting visits

We visit CYP aged 3-19yrs who have a primary need of complex physical difficulties in mainstream schools and settings. When we have seen the CYP we provide a report and give advice to their teachers and teaching assistants regarding their access to the whole curriculum.

This can include looking at particular areas of need such as:

  • physical access to buildings and to practical lessons in conjunction with occupational therapy colleagues
  • PE curriculum in conjunction with physiotherapy colleagues
  • recording sometimes in conjunction with ICT or SEND advisory teacher colleagues
  • maths due to spatial and perceptual difficulties
  • timetabling changes because of fatigue
  • positioning in the classroom
  • social opportunities
  • school trips
  • moving and handling
  • intimate care
  • risk assessments
  • transition between phases

Consultation without a visit

Sometimes schools or settings require general advice about certain elements of educational inclusion for CYP. This can be offered over the phone or by email. This can include discussions about:

  • equipment
  • school trips
  • exam arrangements
  • signposting to other services
  • health and safety or fire evacuation


We offer training on a number of issues related to the inclusion and support of CYP with physical difficulties, including:

  • moving and handling training including risk assessment, writing handling plans and devising personal emergency evacuation plans
  • PE for CYP with SEND
  • motor co-ordination difficulties including dyspraxia
  • fine motor skills including handwriting
  • emotional logic – a self-help approach to understanding and using your emotions positively
  • disability awareness
  • additional training available to all settings offered through our e-shop.

Devon graduated response

The graduated response tool has been developed to support Devon schools. The tool outlines some of the practices and adaptations that are part and parcel of Quality First Teaching (QFT): the inclusion of all pupils in high-quality everyday personalised teaching.

Accessing support

Schools wishing to access SEND support should complete the Request for Access form.