This is a suite of free resources that are designed to improve awareness of disability issues for everyone who may work or volunteer with disabled children and young people. Although not primarily intended for parent carers, the resources should be interesting and useful for parent carers as they have all been completely co-produced by disabled young people, parent carers and other experts. Examples of how to make effective reasonable adjustments are given, in order to warmly welcome, include, value and respect all disabled children and young people.
They challenge attitudes and inspire the ‘can do’ attitudes required to support disabled children and young people to achieve the best outcomes that matter to them and their families. The topics were carefully chosen after extensive consultation with disabled children, young people, parent carers and families – they are the subjects that disabled children and young people told us that matter most to them, that they think professionals need to know more about.
The word order 'disabled children and young people' is used in all the Disability Matters sessions. This is because disabling factors are most often external to the person and are therefore something that everyone in society can do something about.
Click here to be taken to the index pages for the sessions listed below.
What is Disability?
This session will explore the meaning of disability, including the barriers that are commonly faced by disabled people and the ways in which perceptions of disability are changing.
Reflection helps us recognise our limits and then improve. This session allows you to examine your thoughts and attitudes to disability in the past, how you think of it currently and how you might think about it in the future. You will have a chance to think about your experience and what you would do differently next time.
Hidden Disabilities matter
This session will help you realise that many disabilities are not always apparent from how someone looks or presents. Such disabilities may still have a huge impact on the individual, their family and others they meet and interact with.
Disability, Culture and Languages
This session will help you think about the issues faced by young disabled people who come from ethnic minority communities and how you might adapt your work to offer them the best possible support.
Deaf Communication Matters
Deaf children and young people face challenges on a daily basis because of a poor understanding of their communication needs. Using short film clips deaf children and young people share some of the typical barriers they encounter and show us simple steps to take and adjustments to make to overcome those barriers and enable successful interaction with them.
Learning Disability Matters
This session highlights some of the specific challenges faced by learning disabled children, young people and their families. It includes positive examples of good practices that have been helpful in improving the experience of everyday activities and accessing services.
Autism Spectrum Matters
This session highlights some of the specific challenges faced by children and young people on the autism spectrum and their families. It includes positive examples of good practices that have been helpful in improving the experience of every day activities and accessing services.
Complex Conditions Matter
This session aims to demystify complex conditions. A structured approach can identify the many component parts, so that each can be correctly managed as part of the holistic care plan. This can help to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Person to person
This session will help you realise that any person, whether they are disabled or not appreciates love, opportunity and encouragement. It will provide some insight into what being disabled feels like and how people’s reactions to disabled people can affect how they feel.
See the Person (Celebrate Abilities)
This session will show that people with physical or learning disabilities also have strengths, ambition and deserve respect for their achievements.
This session will help us to be more confident in responding to the needs of disabled people of all ages, what they need, and who might help us find out, as we seek to offer opportunity, help and encouragement.
Building Relationships Matters
This session helps us understand that a disabled child or young person needs what all children and young people need: a stable background, continuity of care, a listening ear, opportunity and encouragement.
This session explores what we mean by communication – what it is, how and why we do it.
Understanding Matters for Effective Communication
This session will help you to improve your chances of being understood and your awareness of whether or not you have been understood when you communicate, including with children and young people with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN), learning disabilities, social communication difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Three-way Communication Matters
Communication with disabled children and young people is often a three-way event, involving you, the young person and accompanying adult. This session helps you to plan for and achieve effective three-way communication which focuses firmly on the child or young person.
Communication Support Tools
This session explores a range of tools which support direct communication with disabled children and young people about things that matter. It also signposts you towards sources of skilled support and advice and more advanced communication tools.
Communication Matters in Health
This session looks at how to enable effective and accurate communication with disabled children and young people about their health needs and care needs.
Communication Matters in Learning
This session looks at how to communicate effectively with disabled children and young people in and about their learning, in educational settings and beyond.
Communication Matters in the Legal System
This session looks at how to enable best communication and best evidence with disabled children and young people involved in legal proceedings as either victims, witnesses, defendants or as parties in civil or family proceedings.
Personal Care Matters
This session will explore the importance of providing personal care sensitively and respectfully.
How Information is Shared Matters
This session gives insight into the impact upon families of how information, particularly in relation to the diagnosis, is shared with them. Case studies will show how positive information sharing can encourage celebration, enjoyment and a ‘can do’ attitude from the outset which can be helpful in contributing to positive outcomes that matter to disabled children, young people and their families.
Family and Society
This session will describe how everyone, regardless of health condition or impairment, has a right to respect, dignity and opportunity and will explore how these rights are enshrined in national and international law.
Meaningful Inclusion Matters
This session will show how disabled children and young people, with a little thought, planning and ingenuity, can always be included and how the Law may help acquire extra resources when needed.
Inclusion Matters for Organisations and Services
This session will guide you through some of the ways that an organisation can positively include disabled people. We will consider what 'reasonable adjustment' means in practice and how to put this in place. We will work towards understanding how real inclusion benefits the person and the organisation.
Working Together Matters
Parents and carers of disabled children and young people are on a constant journey of challenge, discovery and understanding. From the first diagnosis to when the need for caring ends, parents and carers have to react quickly to the changing needs of those for whom they care as well as the frequent changes in service provision. To support families making this journey, it is vital that professionals and voluntary services work together. This session considers how this can be most effectively achieved. It will also introduce key working and show the benefits associated with this approach. A selection of national organisations will be highlighted, along with advice on locating useful sources of information and other practical resources.
This session will describe why disabled children and young people are vulnerable to abuse, explore how to respond where abuse is suspected and offer guidance on how to build the resilience of disabled children and young people and their families.
This session explores the impact bullying has on life chances, and suggests simple actions that will reduce the impact and incidence of bullying of and by disabled children, young people and those with special educational needs.
Environmental Challenges Matter
This session will give an overview of the environmental challenges that disabled children, young people and their families can face in their daily lives. These include attitudes, policies and rules as well as physical barriers. Positive examples including case studies will explain how you can, by using a bit of imagination, overcome many of these barriers. Disabled people should be included in everything as the default position.
This session explains the difficulties disabled children and young people face when travelling on their own, or with their families and friends. It provides examples of what people working in public services or the transport industry can do to alleviate this.
This session looks at how disabled children, young people and their families can enjoy arts, leisure and sporting activities and explains what can be done to ensure they have a good experience.
This session will give insight into the range of challenges and experiences faced by all family members caring for one or more disabled child or young person, and how professionals working in partnership with parent carers and other family members, by listening actively at every step, can contribute to better outcomes that matter for them.
Caring for Parent Carers Matters
This session will give insight into better understanding the needs of parent carers and the importance of supporting parent carers, informally and formally via carers assessments. Getting this right can contribute to better outcomes for disabled children, young people and their families.
This session gives insight into the financial impact for families of caring for one or more disabled child or young person. You will learn how families often do not find out about or access the financial support that is available to them, and what you can do to help families access financial support.
Work Experience and Employment Matters
This session will explore the issues faced by disabled young people seeking work experience and employment. Later sections will explore the concept of ‘reasonable adjustment’ and the ways in which employers can benefit by including disabled young people.
Decision-making and Growing Up
Choices and Decision-making matters
This session looks at how to support disabled children and young people making their own decisions in all areas of their life, and what the legal framework is if you believe someone does not have the capacity to make a particular decision or choice.
Mental Capacity Act Matters
This session covers the principles of the Mental Capacity Act and looks at how to assess capacity. There are opportunities to reflect on aspects of the Mental Capacity Act and its practice.
Best interests Decision-making Matters for Clinicians
This session explores 'best interests', what it means for disabled people and how best interest decisions are made for disabled people who lack capacity.
Advance Care Planning matters
This session discusses Advance Care Planning and decision-making with disabled people of all ages, including using the framework and elements of the Mental Capacity Act.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
This session explores the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) to help you understand what they are, their aim and purpose.
This session explains how professionals from different sectors can help achieve better outcomes for many disabled children and young people by helping to advocate on issues that are affecting the disabled child, young person or their family, or signposting to independent advocates when appropriate.
Supporting Independence Matters
This session will explore how to help disabled children and young people become more independent, including how to address the risks and anxieties that may arise.
Growing Up Matters
This session will describe the changes that take place during adolescence and explore the extra challenges that may be faced by disabled children and young people as they grow up. Later sections will explain how missed opportunities can impact on disabled young people in later life and offer guidance on how to support parents who may be struggling to adjust to such changes.
Transition is an uncertain time for young people and their families. This session will explore how all those involved can use person-centred approaches to support young people and their families to prepare for adulthood and be confident about their future.
Behaviour and Emotions
The Different Meanings of Behaviours
This session will provide an overview of the possible different meanings of behaviours seen in disabled children and young people from a variety of perspectives. Behaviour changes may be indicators of physical illnesses or they may be secondary to development, communication, mental illness, behavioural disorders and the external environment.
Worry and Anxiety Matter
This session will give insight into what it is like to experience worry and anxiety as a disabled child or young person and what it feels like as a parent carer to be dealing with it. Tips on preventive strategies and interventions will be considered, including behavioural, family interventions and, rarely, medication.
Responding Positively When Behaviours are Seen as Challenging
This session introduces positive behaviour support (PBS), an evidence based approach to meeting the needs of people whose behaviours are seen by others as challenging.
Sexually Concerning Behaviours Matter
This session will investigate the issues surrounding the sexual development of disabled young people and explore when it is appropriate to be concerned about sexualised behaviours.
This session gives insight into self-injury from the perspectives of families who deal with it, including how the response of others affects their experience and outcomes. Tips on how to respond to self-injury and how to find expert help will be explored.
Health and Wellbeing
This session will give insight into the positive difference that having the right diagnosis or diagnoses can make and tips on a structured approach to achieving diagnoses, as well as tips on what to do when no diagnosis is made.
Health Needs Matter in all Settings
This session aims to help the learner understand how important health needs are in all settings.
Equal Access to the Best Health Outcomes Matters
This session is essential for all involved in the health and care of disabled people. It highlights how inequalities in healthcare can lead to bad outcomes.
There are positive tips about how to ensure that the best outcomes are more equally accessible for everyone.
Warning: Some of the case studies in this session are upsetting. They are important because they are real.
Participation – Movement and Fatigue
This session will explore the challenges presented by movement difficulties and fatigue and the ways in which we can provide disabled children and young people affected by such impairments with opportunities to participate.
Participation – Sensory Environments
This session will explore the way in which the senses can affect the ability of some children and young people to take part in certain activities or situations. Later sections will identify some common examples of sensory challenges and explain how it may be possible to facilitate participation by making adjustments.
Participation – Social World
This session will explore how disability can affect a child or young person’s capacity to socialise and offer guidance on how to overcome the barriers that can potentially prevent disabled children and young people from forming new relationships.
Continence is a life skill that some never achieve for lots of different reasons. Issues in this area impact significantly on quality of life for disabled children, young people and their families. This will be demonstrated through case studies, with tips from families and experts about good practice that promotes the best outcomes.
This session will explore some possible causes of pain for disabled children and young people, how pain may be identified and how to get help with pain management to achieve the best outcomes.
This session will give insight into the:
- Experience of vision impaired children, young people and their families
- Impact of their impairment on their daily lives and access to services
- Top tips on improving outcomes that matter to them
This session will give insight into the:
- Experiences of deaf or hearing impaired children, young people and their families
- Impact of their impairment on their daily lives and access to services
- Top tips on improving outcomes that matter to them