Identification of a common language describing paediatric physiotherapy practice for children with additional support needs, to support communication with those outside the physiotherapy profession.
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Hunter, C., Maciver, D., Howden, S., Forsyth, K., Adamson, A. & Bremner, L. (2013) Identification of a common language describing paediatric physiotherapy practice for children with additional support needs, to support communication with those outside the physiotherapy profession., Physiotherapy, vol. 99, , pp. 84-91,
Children with additional support needs (ASNs) often require physiotherapy intervention to help maximise their participation within the primary school setting. The aim of this research was to investigate paediatric physiotherapy practice in supporting primary school aged children with ASNs, in order to identify a language to describe this, which could be used to support communication with teachers, parents and others outside the profession. Design Using a qualitative research multiple methods design, 2 focus groups and 5 structured interviews were held to investigate physiotherapy practice for this group. Participants Senior paediatric physiotherapists (n=13) from a range of specialities, with experience of supporting primary school aged children with ASNs. Analysis Focus groups and interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed to establish links and patterns: followed by a cyclical process of respondent validation, and expert review. Results Eight targets for physiotherapy intervention and twelve technique headings were synthesised from the data. The language used for labelling and description of these was aimed to be easily understood by colleagues outside the profession. Conclusions The findings clearly identified the role of the paediatric physiotherapist as being to support primary school aged children with ASNs to acquire aspects of postural control, mobility and cardio-respiratory function. By grouping the data into eight areas of challenge as the focus of intervention, and twelve commonly used techniques, the researchers generated a language which can be used by paediatric physiotherapists to support communication with teachers, parents and others outside the profession, when describing their intent and interactions regarding these children. Keywords: Physiotherapy, paediatrics, intervention, communication, primary-school, education