Skip to main content

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. 

Vancouver school health manual - Section 12: Children with special health care needs
Vancouver Regional Pediatric Team brochure 

We provide the following services in school:

  • School based consultation for students aged 5 to 19.
  • Observation and consultation in home and community.
  • Develop Individualized Health Care Plans (IHCP) with the student, their families, teachers and health care providers.
  • Input to Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) and school based meetings to support inclusion in the school community.
  • Collaboration with other team members and specialists to facilitate continuity of care.
  • Educational in-services for school staff.
  • Assistance to students and families who need palliative care.
  • Assistance to students with complex medical nursing needs.

Occupational Therapists

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

Physiotherapists 

  • 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.

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.

 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.

How do I refer a student to the Regional Pediatric Team?

Complete the referral and consent forms below and fax them to the number listed on the forms. Please note that parents/guardians must sign both consents.
If you require a consult for fine or gross motor skills, you will also need to complete the addendums below:
If you require nursing support please contact us at (604) 267-2606 or sarabjit.bhangoo@vch.ca
Administrators from Independent schools wanting to establish contracts for service please contact The VPT Program Coordinator at (604) 267-2643.
SOURCE: Students with Special Needs in Vancouver Schools ( )
Page printed:

Copyright © Vancouver Coastal Health. All Rights Reserved.