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Supporting physical development in early childhood
Supporting physical development in early childhood

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5.1 Complex medical needs

Children can have complex medical needs caused by a range of different factors. They may have experienced trauma, either during birth or afterwards, that may have caused a brain injury resulting in the child having cerebral palsy. Or, they may have been born with a genetic condition.

Whatever the reason that a child has complex medical needs, it is often the case that the condition has affected their physical growth and development. Their physical mobility is frequently affected, and they may even need a wheelchair to move around. All of this can make taking part in physical activity challenging.

A child in a wheelchair holding a baseball bat and aiming for a beach ball above
Figure 6

An inquiry by the charity Sense in 2015, found that a child who has complex medical needs has less opportunities to take part in play activities in early years settings. The findings revealed that the child’s additional needs were often perceived as a barrier to them being included in play activities.