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Students with Special Needs in Vancouver Schools

The Vancouver Paediatric Team, consisting of nursing support service coordinators, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and a social worker, helps students and youth with special needs and chronic health needs lead active, healthy lives in their homes, schools and communities. We provide services to students attending public schools in Vancouver and to Independent schools in Vancouver where there are funding contracts in place. We provide:

  • School based consultation for students aged 5 to 19.

  • Observation and consultation in home and community.

  • Assistance to students with complex medical nursing needs.

  • Assistance to students and families who need palliative care.

  • Educational in-services for school staff.

  • Collaboration with other team members and specialists to facilitate continuity of care.

  • Input to Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) and school based meetings to support inclusion in the school community.

  • Individualized Health Care Plans (IHCP) developed with the student, their families, teachers and health care providers to support inclusion at school.

Occupational therapists

  • Perform assessments and classroom observation/consultations to support challenged learners.

  • Suggest activities and strategies to help students who have sensory-based issues affecting attention, behaviour, learning and organizational skills.

  • Offer compensations to help students who have difficulties with fine motor skills such as writing, printing or cutting.

  • Support resource teachers in enabling different learners individually or in group settings e.g. fine motor groups.

  • Teach school staff how to safely feed students with a disability (i.e. cerebral palsy).

  • OT services information

  • OT referral package


  • Deliver short-term therapy for students discharged from hospital who need help with walking, equipment, strengthening and exercises or those undergoing Botox treatment for muscle lengthening and retraining.

  • Give input on physical education programs to promote inclusion by suggesting modifications for students with physical disabilities and gross motor delays.

  • Ensure school environment is safe and accessible for students with special needs.

  • Teach school staff how to safely handle and transfer students with disabilities.

  • PT services information

  • PT referral package

Nursing Support Service Coordinators

  • Assess students up to age 19 with special health care needs to determine their eligibility for Nursing Support Services.

  • Help non-nursing school staff perform delegated nursing tasks such as diabetes-management, seizure medication administration and management, gastrostomy tube feedings and oral suctioning.

  • Nursing support services referral - BC Children's Hospital

Social worker

  • Counsel and support families of students with special needs.

  • Offers help to access community resources or funding.

  • Coordinates services amongst health care professionals.

  • Supports transition planning.

  • Referral to VPT social worker must be initiated through VPT team member


Administrators from Independent schools: Contact the VPT Program Coordinator at 604-267-2643 if you're interested in establishing contracts for service

Completed referrals: Fax to 604-261-7220 or email to

Questions? Contact the Program Assistant at 604-267-2606

Learn more: View the Vancouver Paediatric Team Pamphlet (PDF)

SOURCE: Students with Special Needs in Vancouver Schools ( )
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