Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) - ‘teamwork makes the dream work’!
What are MDTs and why are they important to integration?
As a good friend and life coach (www.jillhannamlifecoach.com) often says ‘teamwork makes the dream work’, this is true in many facets of life but we find especially true in multidisciplinary teams.
Multidisciplinary teams are the mechanism for organising and coordinating health and school services to meet the needs of children and young people, particularly those with complex needs.
The team brings together the expertise and skills of different professionals to assess, plan and manage the child’s needs jointly. In our case here at SHINE our team consists of Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Behavior and Emotional Support Specialist and some Therapy Assistants, but it extends to teamwork with schools, families and other professionals.
How do MDTs support integration?
A holistic and integrated approach to care and support requires the coordination of multiple interventions and services.
The role of the multi-disciplinary team across schools has changed as the needs of pupils have changed and this should be reflected in the way support is offered.
The aim of the MDT in schools is to enable pupils to maximise their access to all areas of the curriculum.
This can be achieved by providing a level of skills and understanding within classrooms, where staff have a range of strategies available to use. These would be tailored to the needs of the individual pupil, across all core areas of learning and levels of need – physical, emotional, sensory, language and communication, etc.
What support and conditions do MDTs need to fulfil their role?
For MDTs to succeed with therapy and support services, a number of factors need to be in place. The evidence indicates that these include:
trusting relationships within the team
a shared vision of integrated care and clear goals
strong system and team, accompanied by consistent working practices and protocols
good access to shared resources
opportunities for informal communication and reflective team learning
specific training and professional development, especially joint training within the team
a good mix of professional backgrounds and boundary-spanning roles
involvement of therapists, families and schools in care planning and decision-making
MDT - a case for illustration purposes! Seeing is believing...
So, let’s imagine there is a child...we’ll call him Neo (like from the Matrix!). He is 3 years old and has just started school. The school and parents are concerned about his ability to integrate with his peers and access the curriculum.
The MDT can join the school work in the following ways to support Neo, the school and his family:
Individual therapists offer in-service training and continuing professional development (CPD), classroom support, etc for all children which will encompass Neo and his needs e.g. sensory circuit sessions
The CPD offered can be very strategic in terms of the needs of individual classes, pupils (such as Neo) or skills to be developed, e.g. input on Attention Autism, Share and Inspire sessions, Lego Therapy, etc.
The further support within classes helping to identify Neo’s and other children’s needs and how classes are able to access more individualised support.
Joint assessments and planning, informed by Neo’s family’s and school’s goals and decisions
better communication and information-sharing across the whole team which improves outcomes for Neo, the school and his family.
a single point of access, for example all therapists at SHINE in a team around the child.
Neo will receive 1:1 or group therapy from all professionals involved based on assessments and goal planning
Reviews will be ongoing and will involve the input of the whole Team around the Child - for Neo this is the professionals at SHINE, his school and his family.
The outcome for Neo is that his teachers are supported to help him to integrate and access curriculum. Neo has access to the therapy he needs and his family can see improvements in his wellbeing and outcomes at school.
For more information visit our website or contact us.