Working together, working with you

Specialist Equipment for Children

Specialist Equipment is available for children with a disability or additional needs. This equipment may be needed in the home or at your child’s school or nursery. Your child’s physiotherapist, occupational therapist or speech therapist will usually carry out the assessment for equipment and they will visit your child at home, in their educational setting or you may be asked to bring your child to a specialist clinic appointment. The decision about the type of specialist equipment that your child may need will be discussed with their parents/carers and any other relevant professionals involved with your child at home, nursery or school.

How You Can Access Specialist Equipment For Your Child

Specialist Seating

  • If your child requires specialist seating for home you will need to talk to your child’s Physiotherapist, Health Occupational Therapist or Local Authority Children’s Occupational Therapist. Some of this seating can be ordered straight away and be delivered straight to your home. It will be set up by your Physiotherapist/Occupational Therapist.
  • If the seating your child needs is a little more specialised you may be asked to take him/her to a specialist seating clinic run by the Local Authority Children’s Occupational Therapy Department and a seating engineer. If your child sees a Physiotherapist or Health OT they will try to attend the clinic as well. Your child may try out a number of seats in order to decide on the most appropriate seating for your child at home. This again will be delivered to your home and will be set up by a therapist and/or the seating engineer from the company supplying the seat.
  • If your child needs specialist seating for an Early Years Setting your child will be assessed for the most appropriate seat by your child’s Physiotherapist or Health Occupational Therapist. Once this has been approved by the SEN Early Years Panel, the seat will be ordered, delivered to the setting and set up by the Physiotherapist/Occupational Therapist and/or seating engineer when it arrives. In South Glos you will have to speak directly to your child’s children centre or nursery if your child needs any specialist equipment.
  • If your child needs specialist seating for school your child will be assessed for appropriate seating by your child’s Physiotherapist or Health Occupational Therapist. In some cases you may be asked to attend the Specialist Seating clinic or this specialist assessment may happen at your child’s school. If the cost of the seat is under £500 your child’s school will order and pay for the seat. If the cost is over £500 a quote will be sent to the SEN Department to approve and order. The seating will be delivered to the school and set up by the Physiotherapist/Occupational Therapist or seating engineer when it arrives.

If a change in seating is required then this is usually identified at your child’s Annual Review held at the Early Years Setting or at school. However if necessary it can be ordered at any time in the year.

Any Specialist Seating supplied at home, in an Early Years Setting, or in school will be reviewed regularly to ensure that it is the correct size and is safe for your child.

Specialist Standing Frames and Mobility Aids

  • If your child requires a Specialist Standing Frame or Mobility Aid for home you will need to talk to your child’s Physiotherapist. They will set up an assessment to decide on the most appropriate standing frame or mobility aid for your child and when ordered it will be delivered straight to your home and set up by your Physiotherapist or an engineer from the company supplying it.
  • If your child needs a Specialist Standing Frame or Mobility Aid for an Early Years Setting they will be assessed for the most appropriate one by your child’s Physiotherapist. Once this has been approved by the SEN Early Years Panel, the frame or mobility aid will be ordered, delivered to the setting and set up by your Physiotherapist and/or engineer from the company supplying it. In South Glos you will have to talk directly to your child’s children centre or nursery if your child needs any specialist equipment.
  • If your child needs a Specialist Standing Frame or Mobility Aid for school, your child will be assessed for the most appropriate one by your child’s Physiotherapist. Once this has been approved by someone from the SEN Department the frame or mobility aid will be ordered, delivered to the school and set up by your Physiotherapist and/or engineer from the company supplying it.

If your child is supplied with a Specialist Standing Frame or Mobility Aid in the home, in an Early Years Setting or at school, your Physiotherapist will check regularly to ensure that it is still the correct size and is safe for your child.

Specialist Sleep System

If your child requires a Specialist Sleep System for home you will need to talk to your child’s Physiotherapist. They will set up an assessment to decide on the most appropriate system for your child and when ordered it will be delivered straight to your home and set up by your Physiotherapist or an engineer from the company supplying it.

If your child is supplied with a sleep system in the home, your Physiotherapist will check regularly to ensure that it is still the correct size and is safe for your child.

Walking Aids

Walking aids for your child to use at home, in an Early Years Setting or at school will be supplied by your child’s Physiotherapist.

Orthotics and Lycra Garments

If your child needs Orthotics (specialist splints for legs and specialist footwear or gaiters) or has been assessed by their Physiotherapist to need a Lycra Garment, your child’s Physiotherapist will measure your child for the item or book them into an Orthotics clinic. Here they will be assessed and measured by an Orthotist and your child’s Physiotherapist if they are able to attend.

This appointment may be at a community clinic at one of the Special Schools in Bristol or South Glos or at Bristol Services for Enablement (Cribbs Causeway). Your child will be fitted with their orthotics, footwear or insoles etc. by the Orthotist or by your child’s Physiotherapist but will always have a clinic appointment with the Orthotist to be fitted with their Lycra Garment.

In South Glos your child will be assessed by their Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist to see if they would benefit from wearing a Lycra Garment and would then be booked into a clinic with the Orthotist for measuring, etc.

Toileting and Bathing Equipment

If your child struggles to use the toilet or bath, or has difficulty using a standard bed at home, you will need to ask for an assessment by the Local Authority Occupational Therapist. They will assess your child’s needs and if deemed necessary provide the appropriate equipment to assist your child with these functions. This equipment will be provided on loan to your child for the duration of need.

Beds

If your child requires a specialist bed (hi/lo, profiling, high sides) they will need assessing by the Local Authority Occupational Therapist who will make provision for an appropriate bed if necessary.

Manual Handling

If your child has difficulty/or is unable to transfer in the home, the Local Authority Occupational therapist will carry out an assessment for appropriate manual handling equipment. This might range from a manual handling belt for minimal assistance, to a ceiling track hoist for maximum assistance. Appropriate advice and training will be given to carers and any electrical equipment will be serviced on a regular basis.

Communication Aids

  • Some children need the use of a voice-output communication to help them communicate with others. Any assessment will always involve you as a parent, and the team working with your child.
  • Your Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) will be able to give advice if a simple communication aid is required. This will usually be funded by your child’s school, if under £500. If more than £500 then funding will be considered by SEN. If your child is pre-school, then funding will need to be authorised by the Early Years’ SEN Panel.
  • Your child may need an assessment by a specialist SLT within the SLT Service. The therapist is likely to visit your child at home, nursery or school, as appropriate. The SLT will assess the child in liaison with yourself as the parent, and the early year’s practitioners or school staff working with your child, as well as with other therapists. Funding for a communication aid may be funded by the school if under £500, or if over by the Early Years’ Panel or by SEN.

If your child requires a more complex assessment, which involves a specialist team of therapists and technical staff, then he/she can be referred to the Bristol Communication Aids Service as part of the Bristol Centre for Enablement (Cribbs Causeway). Any recommendation for a communication aid will be funded by NHS England.

Any communication aid recommended will be trialled at home as well as at nursery or school. Your input into the final decision is crucial to the right recommendations being made.