Best practice tips for physical disability

Best practice tips are strategies that have been evaluated in other settings, target a relevant factor (such as a teaching style that lowers student anxiety), or is considered best practice by experts in the field.

Consider whether the physical space needs to be rearranged

Check that pathways are free, wide enough, and neat so that all students can move easily and without risk of injury. If a table is used for activities, check that it has plenty of room underneath it for the student to sit comfortably and participate. 
Some students might need extra help to support their posture. This may help with pain management, as well as with classroom tasks such as handwriting. Bean bags or pillows may help. Talk to the student, and other professionals that support the student, to identify the best seating position for the student.

Engage the student in decision making

In addition to collaboration with parents or carers and health professionals, provide opportunities for the student to participate when making decisions about their learning needs and goals.

Allow plenty of time for transitions

Some students with physical disability may need extra time to move between classrooms and buildings. Consider pairing the student with a peer that can assist.

Promote independence

When possible, allow the student to choose what they would like to do (for example, during lunchtime). Encourage staff to give students space to explore or learn independently or with other students. This will help to encourage social interactions with peers.

Encourage full participation

Consider how students with physical disability  can be actively included in activities rather than only watching or listening. This will allow them to develop friendships, learn from other students and develop shared understandings of new skills and behaviours. Role playing or small group work may support participation.

If lockers are used, consider the height and accessibility of locker spaces for a student

Lockers that are located on the ‘end’ may support accessibility, and similarly, lockers located near classrooms may help. Some students may need specialised locks. Collaborate with the student, their family and/or their health professionals to plan how to support locker and school grounds accessibility.