Personalised approach to supporting children with complex needs

Written by Lynn Horsfield, Kids

Child D is 19 months old and lives with his parents and older sister who also has a disability. D has a diagnosis of Global Developmental Delay - he also is diagnosed with epilepsy and has a visual impairment.

Currently he has an Early Support teacher in place who regularly visits him at his home address and she is leading on his Early Support Plan and ultimately his Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan process. Child D also has a teacher from the visual impairment team who has been working with his family and alongside his attendance at KIDS to assess, to what level his vision is affected by the impairment and appropriate activities and resources to support his enjoyment and learning within his play. D finds any nursery environment too busy and noisy for him to concentrate as he is easily distracted and needs specialist support.

Finding the right environment

D was unable to access a mainstream nursery so he now attends a KIDS nursery in the West Midlands. This allows Child D the opportunity to play and interact in a calm, accessible, sensitive environment with responsive practitioners who understand how to best meet his needs. This short break also enables his parents to care for his other sibling whilst getting a short break from meeting his specific medical needs.

The family feel it is important to have some time alone with D's sister. This KIDS provision is specifically developed for disabled children and those currently undergoing the process for diagnosis. Within the nursery KIDS have provided a sensory area with a touch ipad activated bubble tube which D can use when he needs some space and time to be alone.

As Child D has complex medical needs the diagnosis has affected all areas of his development, specifically within his physical development and his communication. D was unable to sit unsupported and had little control over core movements and limbs. D communicates through basic eye contact, which is understood by the key practitioners that work with him on a weekly basis. Child D therefore is reliant on practitioners to meet his entire educational, medical and care needs whilst attending KIDS.

Benefits of a personalised approach

D has been observed to benefit from having a quiet, safe space in which he is calm and is therefore more responsive to resources and practitioner interactions. The touch reactive bubble tube helps with his development and in particular cause and effect development, as he develops the programmes can be changed to meet his needs further.

He is beginning to reach and moving onto understanding cause and effect and making good progress in all his developmental milestones both physical and communication. The break has had a positive impact upon his whole family and his mother says she is really happy that D receives this service and she spends the time with D's sister.

Next steps

Moving forward, we will continue to create a safe space that all children, but specifically those with visual impairments, can play alongside practitioners to work towards targets, such as interaction and communication (making choices, responses etc.)

We will continue to work with D's support team to ensure his EHC plan reflects his needs as he moves towards school age. Providing funding remains in place to keep the nursery open, KIDS will be able to support many more families and children with complex needs, enabling them to have a short break in a suitable environment and parents to receive time to spend with other family members or time to themselves.

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