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Complex physical difficulties

Adult woman crouching next to young boy with walking support. Woman is holding the boys hand.

A complex physical disability is a difficulty with physical movement and posture control for a range of reasons. It could be related to a genetic condition affecting their mobility, a problem with muscle development, or cerebral palsy.

What are complex physical difficulties

Children with a complex physical disability often experience difficulty with learning, movement, posture control, sensory processing, feeding, hand control and vision. They may also have difficulty accessing social and physical opportunities at the same level as their peers, and often require additional support to participate fully.

Children often require support with equipment and aids in order for them to access learning in school, participating in family life at home and outside in the community.

What you can do to help

It is important that your child has plenty of opportunities to mix with their peers. Try to ensure they are as active as possible with an appropriate level of supervision.

How we can help

We assess children by looking at their holistic needs. Children are assessed by a multidisciplinary team along with the parent/carer, which comprises of a number of professionals including a:

  • community paediatrician
  • paediatric physiotherapist
  • paediatric occupational therapist

We liaise with other professionals including education and other allied health professionals. Sometimes it may be appropriate for other professionals to be part of this assessment according to your child's needs. For example, a speech and language therapist. 

Children are seen in a range of settings including school, hospital and community clinics.

Last reviewed: 1 November, 2023


Who can help

If you have any questions or concerns about your child's health, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support. You can call us on 0300 029 50 50.

Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm (excluding bank holidays).

Have your say

Please tell us about your recent experience with any of our services by answering a few simple questions. We want to hear about what you felt went well and what you think we could do differently. 

Your voice makes a difference and helps us improve our services for you and other families.

Young boy with walking support outside

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