The physiotherapy department is part of the service offered to children by the Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. The senior physiotherapist, Fiona Blogg, supervises and co-ordinates all the work of the paediatric physiotherapy departments.
The full complement of the physiotherapy department consists of a full-time physiotherapist Karen Friendship and part-time therapist, Laura Scawn. They are supported by a physiotherapy assistants, Rachel and Karen. They have links with other paediatric physiotherapists in the area.
Physiotherapy is aimed at preventing or minimising the development of contractures or deformities; promoting maximum independence, mobility, self-help skills and personal care; advising on positioning throughout the day and promoting self confidence and self esteem. This is achieved by work in the physiotherapy department, in the classroom and by parents carrying out home programmes.
Hydrotherapy is offered in the school pool as part of a recovery programme or for specific therapy. School staff will carry out hydrotherapy exercises in the pool with pupils where these are provided by the physiotherapists. The school routinely offers water based activities and swimming for all pupils.
The physiotherapy staff work closely with the child's family and families are encouraged to visit the department. In school holidays families are offered physiotherapy appointments at Woodlands or at the Plymouth Child Development Centre. Home visits are carried out if necessary and this is a good opportunity to meet with parents and update home programmes.
There is a close liaison between educational, medical and social services staff within the school and community. Paediatricians, Orthopaedic Surgeons, Orthotists and Mill Brook wheelchair services hold Clinics at school, some of which are attended by the physiotherapy staff. Social Services Occupational Therapists are often in school supporting seating assessments for named pupils and they work in a multi-disciplinary way with other therapists, families and school staff.
Links between the physio team and Woodlands
All pupils who have a therapy programme or require postural management will have this written by a therapist. Staff are trained by the therapists to undertake these programmes in the classroom setting to best support pupils. The team are on hand to give classroom staff advice and support or to reassess a child's programme and equipment needs.
The school provide regular therapeutic support for pupils requiring standing frames, walking frames, orthotics or splinting. We work to make this seamless with their education so that it compliments their learning.
We provide therapeutic trampolining sessions for pupils, sometimes in conjunction with the physio team, where this will make a difference to pupils. At other times, it is just part of the richness of physical experiences for the individual child.
We work with Whizz Kids charity to provide independent mobility training for pupils once a year. This involves pupils and families participating in an intensive 3-day wheelchair (manual and powered) training course which covers a range of control/ navigation skills and access to different environmental experiences.