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Montrose is now part of Northcott. You will soon be redirected to the Northcott website.
A boy is in a wheelchair - he is laughing. he has a yellow T shirt on.

Support for physical disability

When you are living with a physical disability you may experience challenges with access, independence and self-care. The Montrose team is here to help you navigate these, so that you can get on with living the life you choose and doing what you want to do. We have been supporting clients with physical disabilities for 90 years and have a range of supports for people at each stage of life. Our therapists work with all types of disability including rare and complex physical disability.

Physical Disability may be associated with:

  • Acquired Brain Injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Congenital Spinal Disability
  • Acquired Spinal Disability

Why Montrose?

Finding a suitable therapy provider for children and young people with physical disability can be difficult. As a parent or a referrer, you want to ensure that the service provider has the knowledge and experience necessary to support you on your journey through key life transitions.

Montrose has a long history of working with people with physical disabilities. We have invested in the knowledge and skills of our therapists to ensure they are equipped to work with a wide range of needs.

Montrose therapists are part of a multidisciplinary team including Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Social Workers. As a parent of a child with disability, you can find yourself working with many specialists for support. Having all these specialists working in one organisation can mean a more collaborative approach to achieving your goals.

Newly diagnosed with a physical disability

Receiving a diagnosis of a physical disability is a challenging time as you seek to understand how things may change for you and your family. Physical disabilities may be present from birth or result from injury or accident at any stage in life meaning it is important to receive age appropriate support.

Montrose is here to help you navigate through the early days and to focus on early goals that can make a real difference to you or your child’s quality of life.

Your Montrose team will focus on what is possible and achievable for you. We’ll be there to support you to in maintaining and supporting your movement, social and emotional needs.

mum is helping a child in a specialised disability chair

What supports are available for physical disability?

Support to understand your diagnosis and what it means for your family

Montrose Social Workers have extensive experience working with people with physical disabilities. They can help you work through what your diagnosis will mean, connect you with the right supports and establish goals for early intervention.

Support with movement

Babies and young children who have a physical disability may experience challenges in keeping up with peers or siblings. People who develop a physical disability later in life may find they cannot do things they used to. Early intervention therapy can make a tangible difference allowing your child to participate in family life. In the early years, Montrose Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists play a very important role in helping develop movement skills and advising on adjustments to support independence. For younger children, much of our work will be focused on play as this is central to child development.

Support with speech and language

Some physical disabilities can also impact communication and potentially swallowing and eating. Montrose Speech Therapists work to support clients with communication needs or feeding and swallowing issues.

Using assistive technology

Montrose Occupational Therapists can advise on and support using Assistive Technology which helps maintain or improve functional capabilities. For young children this can include support for bathing, sitting and car seats for travel. Older clients may use Assistive Technology at school or in the workplace.

Early Years support for physical disability

The experience of identifying that your child has a disability and receiving a diagnosis can be difficult.

Children with a physical disability have their own unique physical and emotional needs. During their early years children are developing very quickly and getting the right support as quickly as possible is very beneficial. We believe children do best when the whole family is supported.

Parents may also be learning about funding for support including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which has a specific Early Childhood approach.

Early years support will help children take part in everyday activities. Montrose therapists will support your child to play, learn self-care and develop fine and gross motor skills, so they can reach their goals.

Young child on a play mat

Montrose disability supports for early years

Support with movement

Young children are going through significant growth in physical movement as well as speech and language development. Montrose therapy support at this critical time will focus on helping children move, play, learn and develop their potential. One of your goals may be for your child to walk – Montrose Physiotherapists can help your child to mobilise as fully as they are able.

Identifying Assistive Technology needs

A wide range of disability related equipment and assistive technology can be accessed under the NDIS, privately and other funding sources. Younger children may require handrails, walkers or more significant adaptions to bathrooms. Your Montrose therapist can advise on the best Assistive Technology for your child’s needs and goals.

Supporting speech and language development

Physical Disabilities may also present with communication challenges. e.g. Children with Down Syndrome often experience delays in the development of their language skills. Evidence suggests that the implementation of alternative communication systems (eg. Key word sign, PECs or PODD) benefit children with Down Syndrome in developing their language skills. Cerebral Palsy can affect a person’s ability to finely coordinate the muscles around the mouth and tongue that are needed for speech. Montrose Speech Pathologists have knowledge of a wide range of communication needs and interventions relating to physical disability.

Everyday life skills

Support can be provided for motor skills such as getting dressed, playing, and going to the toilet.

Eating and drinking issues

Some physical disabilities are associated with feeding and swallowing issues (dysphagia). For example, Cerebral Palsy can affect the muscles that open and close the mouth and move the lips and the tongue. Some people with Cerebral Palsy may have difficulties in chewing and swallowing food and drink. Children with Down Syndrome can experience similar issues.

Supporting parenting

Understandably parents can feel overwhelmed by a diagnosis. You may be unsure how to handle or interact with your child, even if you have other children. We understand this and Montrose therapists will work with your family to feel confident in interacting with your infant, engaging them with play and reading their cues.

Early Support for children with disability

Lucas receive coordinated, multi-disciplinary support from a Montrose Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and Physiotherapist at our Sunshine Coast Service Centre

Read more about Lucas.

Support for school-aged children with a disability

As children with a physical disability reach school age, their needs can change. This means their support needs to change with them.

Montrose therapists can help families understand what to expect and work collaboratively with other therapists to achieve age-appropriate goals.

Therapy support at this age usually involves

  • Accessing home and community
  • Starting and succeeding at school
  • Maintaining independence with Assistive Technology and support.


A young girl is at school - she has a green wheelchair

Starting and succeeding at School

Starting school is a big milestone but it can also be overwhelming for many families as you navigate physical access, support in the classroom, extra-curricular activities and the emotional challenges that can emerge at school. Your Montrose therapist can support you to work through this and set you up for the best start at school.

Queensland schools are resourced to provide additional support for students with disabilities. Your therapist can help engage with your school to facilitate meeting your needs and suggest necessary accommodations.

Collaborating with school staff to set up goals and measure outcomes

Whether your child attends a mainstream or special school, there may be adjustments required to help your child succeed. Your Montrose therapist can work with your teacher through meetings, education and training to help them understand your support needs in the classroom. Montrose also provides support at school through the Specialist Disability Support in Schools (SDSS) Program.

Ongoing support with movement, speech and language

Starting school can intensify the support that you need with movement, speech and language. Typically Montrose therapists will be supporting play, which remains a vital part of development at this age, as well as promoting independence to cope with school and other environments.

Building social networks

Sometimes our clients report feeling disconnected and socially isolated at school because of their disability. Having a group outside of school can help build important social connections. We run social groups to bring people with similar experiences together.

Social Work support

Our social workers can support families with children experiencing anxiety, bullying or other challenges relating to their disability. They may be able to provide guidance on other organisations to provide support as well as more practical tips.

Physio keeps Mia moving

Nine year old Mia has received support from Montrose since she was discharged from hospital following a critical illness that resulted in the amputation of all four limbs.

Read more about Mia here. 

Greg and Mia looking at the camera

Support for older children and young adults with a physical disability

Parents are often concerned about the next steps after school for their child with a disability. As with all times of transition, it can be an uncertain period as new support needs emerge and young people consider new goals as an adult. This can also be an opportunity to develop independence.

Movement goals may change as new interests and opportunities emerge and greater focus may be placed on building connections and participation in social, work or education including connecting with peers.

A young man is playing Powerchair soccer

What support is there for older children and young adults with a disability?

Continued support at school or further education

Assistive Technology needs can change as students move through High School toward further education or the workplace. Support from Montrose therapists can assist you in keeping up with peers with both communication and physical movement needs.

Developing goals

Your Montrose therapist can help you develop and work on goals for post-school. This might be how to access further education, housing, prepare for employment or develop life skills.

Supporting independence

As you grow older you might like to catch your own transport, move out of home, holiday independently from your family and pursue a job. The team at Montrose can help you develop new skills, overcome accessibility barriers and work with other organisations to get the support you need.

Developing new interests and hobbies

Once you leave school you may have more time for extra interests and hobbies. Hobbies are a great way to meet new people and learn new life skills. Our Lifestyle & Leisure group run day programs to help you be active, learn new skills and have fun.

Connecting with the community

Having a connection to your local community is important in feeling valued and contributing to society. This can be particularly important at times of change and transition such as moving from school to University/TAFE or moving into the workplace. Support is available from Montrose to work with both the physical environment adaptions that may be required and the personal support to connect and engage with new people.

Short and Medium Term Accommodation

Our Getaway on the Gold Coast provides Short and Medium Term Accommodation – custom built for physical disability with en-suite private rooms and 24 hour support. The team support short periods of respite, time away from home, supported holidays and longer stays following discharge from hospital. You can also stay with us while waiting for Supported Independent Living or home adaptions to be completed.

Eat Street

Lifestyle and Leisure

Lifestyle and Leisure is run in Brisbane, usually meeting at our Darra Centre or in the community. It’s a chance to be active, learn new things and have fun.

Programs focus on specific themes so clients can pick and choose which courses they want to do. There are opportunities to practice cooking skills, go to the gym or head out with a group for a social activity.

Find out more.

Short Term Accommodation

Our Getaway on the Gold Coast was custom designed for people with a physical disability – it has wide corridors, en-suite rooms with ceiling hoists and 24 hour support from trained staff. A range of Supported breaks or individual stay options are available. Watch the video for a tour or find out more about Short Stay here.

Support for adults with a physical disability

Transitions and life changes continue after school and into adulthood. You may be looking to live independently, develop a career or start a family. We can help you continue to develop and reach your goals and also connect you with other providers who can help, such as Supported Independent Living (SIL) or employment services.

two young men are in a park. They are in Powerchairs

What support is there for adults with a disability?

Supporting health conversations

As an adult, you will transition to accessing adult health services and learning to manage your own health conversations wherever possible. Your disability may change or develop as you grow older. Continued Therapy and Social Work support can assist.

Supporting independence

As you grow older you might like to catch your own transport, move out of home, holiday independently from your family and pursue a job. The team at Montrose can help you develop new skills, overcome accessibility barriers and work with other organisations to get the support you need.

Building social connections

Having a connection to your local community is important to feeling valued and contributing to society. Additional supports can be useful as you move from university to the workplace or into new accommodation in a different area.

Employment skills and readiness

We can support access to TAFE, skills development, using public transport and more as you move into the workplace.


You may require upgrades or replacements to wheelchair or other assistive technology. Occupational Therapists can also assist with vehicle modification.

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Montrose is becoming part of Northcott!

Our purpose has always been to provide people with disabilities with the best services possible. This will help us achieve that goal.

In the near future, when you visit Montrose.org.au, you'll be directed to our new website at Northcott.com.au.

You're bound to notice some changes… to our offices, our phone number, and even our uniforms and the way we work with you to achieve your goals.

Your therapist and services, our locations and the cost of your services will NOT change.