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For children and young people with CLDD, there
are often high-level health, social and educational needs associated with their conditions. For some, this requires multiple interventions from many professionals.

These professionals can unwittingly contribute to an intervention scrum with the family and child as the ball at its centre.

Brody et al, 2006

Why is collaborative transdisciplinary work important and effective?
Children in class

Transdisciplinary working at its best is able to take away the elements of depersonalisation, incompatible targets and impossible scheduling of appointments with the transdisciplinary team (including the family) prioritising and rationalising their support for the young person in a way that enhances their quality of life and that of
their family.

There are many individuals with whom one may collaborate to support a child's engagement. These will include:

  • Individuals in the classroom;
  • In the home/extended home;
  • In the school;
  • From other schools;
  • From external agencies.

A case study (1)

St Nicholas is a community day special school whose children have a wide range of learning disabilities, including severe learning difficulties, profound learning difficulties, complex learning difficulties, autism and sensory impairments.

In 2007, the school developed a transdisciplinary 'shared goals' initiative so that professionals working with the most complex students, their families and carers, could work together to create a holistic and supportive approach to a child's development and learning.

Six planning meetings per child during the year are attended by all involved to assess, review, plan and adapt approaches.

A case study (2)
Teacher at a computer with a girl in a wheelchair

The key benefits of this approach to children are:

  • Interlinking goals from different disciplines with a common aim and clear direction/strategies;
  • Transdisciplinary working (therapists get regular information about a child's progress even if they cannot physically be with or work with a child);
  • Teaching staff at the school get a clear programme of how best to work with the child to optimise their individual learning and functional skills development;
  • A focus on functional skills, 'real skills that matter', that will make an impact on a child's life.
This approach generates reliable progress of a high quality. It's a truly shared approach with the child at the centre.

Working Together for Better Outcomes, 2008

Supporting the child
Girl in wheelchair at a computer with her

Think of a child in your class that you know well. Write down the people who work with and most closely support the child.

For example:
  • Key people in the child's school;
  • Key family members and friends;
  • Key practitioners in health and social care;
  • Key personnel in education agencies outside school, voluntary agencies etc.
How many people have you identified who could help you to get a better picture of what most engages the child, that you could use to help their learning?

Find out more

Boddy, J., Potts, P. and Statham, J. (2006) Models of Good Practice in Joined-up Assessment: Working for Children with 'Significant and Complex Needs'. London: Thomas Coram Research Unit, University of London.