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Lifestart > Pathways to learning for children with complex medical needs
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Pathways to learning for children with complex medical needs

Children with complex medical needs have the same right to participate in early learning experiences as their peers. Lifestart has developed a pathway for learning for all children.

What does the evidence tell us?

Children learn best when doing everyday things, in everyday places. Please read the section Best Practice Guidelines – Quality Area 2: Inclusion for more information.

Children with complex medical needs have the same right to participate in learning as their peers.

What does medically complex mean?

Medically complex is a term used to describe a child requiring ongoing specialist care. This might include a child who:

  • Requires frequent medical support, beyond routine checkups.
  • Requires specialist equipment, e.g., wheelchair, tube feeding, walkers or standing frames.
  • Requires prolonged or frequent hospitalisation.
  • Requires intensive medical home care.
  • Has experienced prolonged trauma.

Convention on the Rights of the Child (pdf)

All children have the right to an education.

Setting up for success – A “can” versus “can’t” approach.

Children with complex medical needs can thrive within learning environments with appropriate planning and support.

Planning for success.

  • Understanding what is important to the child and family, including, family goals.
  • Development of person-centred tools (e.g., one-page-profile) to communicate strengths, interests and supports.
  • A collaborative approach to promote consistency across all natural environments.

A whole team approach.

  • Collaboration with therapists to understand reasonable and suitable adjustments that reflect the child and family goals. 
  • Development of an Individual Education Plan.
  • Collaboration with medical specialists to development an individualised medical care plan.

Pathways to Early Childhood Education.

  • Attending centre tours.
  • Transition planning including collaboration with families, and the team around the child.
  • Identify barriers to access.
  • Supporting flexible pathways to learning.

Promote child engagement and participation within learning.

  • A collaborative approach to promote educator capacity.
  • Collaboration with the NSW/ACT Inclusion Support Agency or DIP Sector Capacity Building
  • Development of a Working Together Agreement.

Ongoing success in learning environments.

  • Family check-in to explore the child’s engagement within learning environments.
  • Collaborate with educators to address any individual needs.