Getting it Right for Disabled Children and their Families

In 2016, 7% of children and young people aged under 16 had a limiting long-term physical or mental health condition. This event will look at how disabled children, young people and their families can be supported by services to live as independently as possible.

Tailoring support to the disabled child’s needs

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 requires all services and agencies working with disabled children use a co-ordinated, prompt and proportionate approach. We know that early diagnosis and effective multi-agency and joint working between professionals and parents can have a positive impact on the child and the family.

Evidence shows that:

  • Disabled children are significantly more likely than non-disabled children to have missed key developmental milestones associated with gross and fine motor and skills (GUS)
  • Disabled children tend to have a higher level of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (GUS)
  • After controlling for other factors parents whose children had a limiting disability at age five were more likely to report high parenting stress and low warmth in the parent-child relationship (GUS)
  • The time taken for a diagnosis varies with the condition (Enable Scotland)
  • The route to diagnosis can be tortuous with multiple referrals (Enable Scotland)
  • Professionals often find it difficult to balance the need for an honest appraisal, with the requirement of being sensitive when discussing the child’s situation with the parents (Enable Scotland)

Those working with disabled children and their families must help them navigate a complex environment of health and safety needs, mental health, welfare rights, carer support, education and transport, as well as considering issues in the social environment such as stigma.

Key issues we’ll examine with you

  • Play, friendships and independence: enabling disabled children to be children
  • Legislation to protect the rights and welfare of disabled children and young people in Scotland
  • Conducting children’s care assessments and carer assessments
  • Working with families to set up self-directed support for children and young people with disabilities
  • Preparing disabled children and their families for school
  • Ensuring families access their welfare rights

Who will benefit from attending?

This event will be of interest to all those working with disabled children and young people and their families including: social workers, children’s services in the voluntary sector, carer support workers, teachers, welfare rights workers, early years and play specialists amongst others.



09:15 Registration and refreshments

10:00 Chairs opening remarks

Professor Kay Tisdall, Professor of Childhood Policy, Programme Director MSc Childhood Studies and Co-director of the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, The University of Edinburgh

Session 1: Setting the Scene

10:05 Learning from the Experiences of Disabled Children and Their Families

Willie Rutherglen, Parent and Chair, for Scotland’s Disabled Children (fSDC)

10:25 Exploring the latest research

Professor John Davis, Professor of Education, University of Strathclyde

10:45 Policy and Practice 

  • Listening to the voices of disabled children and their families
  • Practicalities of ensuring voices are heard
  • Making a difference to service delivery and policy development

Gillian Newman, Policy Lead, Highland Children’s Forum

11:05 Questions and discussions

11:20 Refreshments

Session 2: Getting the Outcomes Right

11:35 Shaping Support Around the Child and Their Family 

11:55 Getting It Right for Carers: Carers (Scotland) Act 2016

Claire Cairns, Network Coordinator, Coalition of Carers in Scotland

12:15 Questions and discussions

12:30 Lunch

Session 3: Best Practice from Across Scotland

13:25 Interactive Workshop: Free To Play – Accessible and Inclusive Opportunities

All children have a right to play and need sufficient time and space to make this an everyday reality. This session will explore:

  • what this means for disabled children and their families
  • the right to play in policy and practice
  • the creation of accessible and inclusive spaces

Accessible and inclusive play spaces help to ensure that all our children and young people, including those with additional support needs, can exercise their right to play in their local community. This session is set in the context of Scotland’s Play Strategy and article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Theresa Casey, Writer and Consultant, Play and Children's Rights, Theresa Casey Consultancy

Harry Harbottle, Chair, Play Scotland

Libby Welsh, Trustee, Include Us

14:10 Inclusive Education 

Jan Savage, Director of External Affairs & Strategic Development, Enable Scotland

14:30 Benefits for Disabled Children and their Families 

Ed Pybus, Welfare Rights Worker: Disabled Children and Families, Child Poverty Action Group

14:50 Health Rights Matter for Disabled Children and Young People 

Anne Wilson, Development Officer, Children’s Health Scotland

15:10 Questions and discussions

15:25 Closing remarks from the chair

15:30 Close of the event

*Agenda subject to change



NASUWT, 35 Young Street N. Lane, Edinburgh, EH2 4JD | Map


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 per place (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, housing associations, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 per place (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

11 September 2018



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