Physical Disability

girl outdoors in a wheelchair with a lady kneeling down next to her

A child or young person has a physical disability if they have a physical impairment that has a substantial or long-term effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Research suggests that about six to seven percent of children are disabled.

Children and young people with the most complex needs will require specialist services. They will require support with their health, education or physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development, due to disabilities.

Disabilities include:

  • Multiple and complex health needs or chronic illness
  • Sensory impairment such as hearing loss, visual impairment or deaf-blindness
  • A significant and long term learning difficulty
  • A physical disability
  • Autistic spectrum disorder
  • A severe communication disorder
  • A significant preschool developmental delay

There is support available for children and young people who have disabilities which do not affect their ability to learn.

You can find out more on Learn Together.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy improves health and well-being by enabling people to participate in activities of daily living that are important to them.

Occupational therapists working with children typically use techniques and routines that seem like play. In reality, they are designed to target areas of delay and difficulty. Some occupational therapists also are trained in therapy with a sensory integration approach. This method uses play-like activities to help children better process the information they get through their senses.

Related Pages

  1. Specialist Health Services
  2. Equipment to help with daily life
  3. Sensory Impairment
  4. 0-25 Disability Social Care


  1. Occupational Therapy for children and young people with sensory differences easy read
  2. Position Statement: children and young people with sensory differences short version
  3. Position Statement: children and young people with sensory differences long version

External Links

  1. Council for Disabled Children
  2. Cambridgeshire County Council information for adults about support for sight and hearing loss and disabilities


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