Research

Exploring teachers’ perceptions of postural management programmes for children with complex physical disabilities within mainstream education (2007)

Dr Eve Hutton, Canterbury Christchurch University

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Increasing numbers of children with complex physical disabilities are being educated in mainstream schools as a result of education inclusion policies. These children require specialist equipment, which is used on a day to day basis when they are at school, in order to reduce their risks of longer term deformities, and to help promote their active participation within the classroom. Teachers and teaching assistants are expected to manage this equipment as part of a child’s daily postural management programme; this involves understanding the child’s postural needs, and maintaining and using the equipment within the complex environment of a school. The success of postural management depends on teaching staff having an understanding of the principles of postural management and being committed to the consistent delivery of the programme. However, little is currently known about the views and knowledge of teaching staff, or their everyday experiences of this process. This pilot study aims to explore the experiences of teaching staff in mainstream schools and their understanding of postural management with a view to developing strategies to support them in this important role.

The study will gather information from teachers and teaching assistants’ working within South East Kent, exploring their perspective through interviews, focus groups and diaries. Observation of the ways in which postural management is delivered within the school and classroom environment will be undertaken by a qualified therapist. The two sources of data will be analysed and compared in order to address the objectives of the study.

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