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Why is collaboration significant?

Collaborative approaches are key to unlocking the innate abilities of children and young people with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities. We recommend that transdisciplinary practice is encouraged wherever possible.

CLDD Project Recommendation, 2011

There is a clear expectation within government policy, and professionally, for practitioners to work and collaborate with other disciplines. Central to collaborative practice is the treatment of families as partners in relation to service delivery.

How this is achieved in practice will depend on the model of collaborative working that is adopted.

Transdisciplinary practice
A boy in a wheelchair with two carers

Within multidisciplinary teams each member acts autonomously in terms of their assessments, interventions and discipline-specific goals. There is an increasing attention to the concept of transdisciplinary, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary practice, where the focus is on group-based interventions and holistic delivery.

Thinking about the practice used by the professional disciplines that you are involved with in working with children with learning difficulties and disabilities, what advantages can you identify in working in a more transdisciplinary way?

Are your review or educational planning meetings open to family members?

Shared decisions
Two teacher looking at a lesson plan

Collaborative, multiprofessional working and shared decision making is necessary to ensure that the education, social care and health needs of children with learning difficulties and disabilities are assessed, and plans are developed, implemented, reviewed and evaluated. Multiprofessional meetings involving families and colleagues from education, health and social work are held regularly to review a child’s progress and identify new targets.

As part of the shared decision making process there is a need to appreciate the practice context of colleagues from other disciplines and the professional regulation frameworks and codes of practice that are in place.

A review

People with passion or flair inspire others. We need to capitalise on the strengths, interests and talents of our colleagues. How can we spread their knowledge with best effect?

Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, 2011


Watch the video of Sophia’s review, noting the backgrounds of the professionals involved in meeting her needs. Identify the regulatory issues that need to be taken into account in relation to multiprofessional working.

  • Poster


Find out more
King, G., Strachan, D., Tucker, M., Duwyn, B., Desserud, S. and Shillington, M. (2009) The application of a Transdisciplinary Model for Early Intervention Services. Infants and Young Children 22 (3) 211-223.

Kline, R. and Preston Shoot, M. (2012) Professional Accountability in Social Care and Health: Challenging unacceptable practice and its management. Sage.

Carpenter, B. (2011) The CLDD Research Project final report. Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.