Working with children with disabilities

Queen’s University Centre for Educational Development
Case Study: Active and Interactive Learning at Stage 1
Working with children with disabilities (a Student Selected Component)
This module aims to raise awareness of the issues involved in working with children
with disabilities. On completion of the module students should be able to:
 describe the clinical aspects and appropriate management of the various
physical disabilities of children that they may encounter in future medical
 appreciate the impact of physical disability on children and their families
 recognise the importance of the contributions of the various members of the
multidisciplinary team in caring for the disabled child
 demonstrate good communication and practical skills required to interact
effectively with children who have special needs
 foster a spirit of trust between children with special needs andtomorrow’s
Degree Programme
Working with children with disabilities
Learning environment (eg. lecture, tutorial, lab., field work)
12 week course
All sessions take place at Fleming Fulton School on Thursday mornings.
Students attend seminars; observe at clinics, therapy sessions and in the school
classroom; they observe practical demonstrations and make visits to disability
support services.
A visit to ‘Contact a family’, a Lisburn-based charity caring for the families of disabled
children, is arranged during the school half-term in February.
Preferred room type
Timetabling of session
What do you do? (content, assessment etc.)
Students attend seminars; observe at clinics, therapy sessions and in the school
classroom; they observe practical demonstrations and make visits to disability
support services; case studies.
Compulsory elements: attendance at classes and all scheduled clinical and therapy
sessions; individual shadowing of a disabled child in the classroom setting;
submission of coursework.
How do you do it? (method including tips)
Week 1 Induction: welcome by Headmaster and introduction to the Heads of
Therapy Departments; historical background to the establishment and development
of the school; the school’s present role within the special education service in
Northern Ireland; admission procedures including the Statementing Process; a broad
and balanced curriculum and transitional arrangements to post school placements;
the multi-disciplinary staff team approach; the children’s medical conditions and
disabilities with overviews of therapy provision; brief orientation tour of the school.
Weeks 2 -3 Awareness raising: participation in a series of small group activities
organised by the therapy departments to include overcoming mobility problems,
dealing with eating and drinking difficulties and attempting to use forms of non-verbal
Opportunity to gain experience of treatment activities within therapy departments eg.
communication and feeding difficulties, augmentative communication systems,
splinting, access to computers, use of standing frames and other pieces of
equipment; getting to know the young people involved in the module
Weeks 4 -10 A general introduction to cerebral palsy, Spina Bifida, Muscular
Dystrophy and other relevant conditions by allied healthcare professionals.
Reference to associated learning difficulties. Then in subsequent sessions an
opportunity for more detailed observation and interaction with children of various
ages in the classrooms and during therapy sessions. Theory classes and practical
sessions will emphasise these conditions and there is one day devoted to other rarer
syndromes. There are also opportunities to observe children with other disabilities
during the course.
Weeks 11 – 12 (concluding phase) Completion of coursework and end of semester
assessments. Participation with the young people in end of term activities.
Why do you do it that way?
Students are able to acquire skills in literature search and retrieval; critical appraisal
of scientific papers; computer/IT skills; oral and written communication skills;
interpersonal and clinical skills
50% written dissertation (3,000 words) on a specific disability/condition
20% end of semester oral presentation based on the dissertation and personal
experience gained during the module
30% for reflective journal recording placement with an individual pupil and
experiences at the school.
Technology (if any) used to support activity (brief description)
How do you know it works? (measures you adopted, student feedback outcomes,
staff feedback)
Advice and Tips
Looking forward
Support Material (please upload/attach or give URL)
References (if available)
Contact Details
Module co-ordinators: Dr David Bell (and Mrs Maeve McKibbin, Speech and
Language Therapist and Mrs Olwen Bedwell, Occupational Therapist)
[email protected]
Therapeutics and Pharmacology
Centre for Medical Education
Rm: 01.024A Whitla Medical Building Block 97B Health Sciences
Ext. 2244