Learning from children, young people, their families and those who support them
On Sunday 16 May 2021, NHS Health Education England and the Council for Disabled Children published a new report. The report ‘Exploring the education, training and support needs of those who provide care for children and young people with learning disabilities and learning difficulties’ shares the learning from children and young people with learning difficulties and disabilities, their families, and those who support them, on the education and training that supporters need to ensure that they deliver high quality care.
Back in 2018, the ID Programme Board and other stakeholders identified that there was a lack of evidence around what children and young people with learning disabilities felt that they needed from their workforce in order to help them live their best possible lives. The Council for Disabled Children, who are part of the National Children’s Bureau, were invited to give these children and young people a voice, and allow their expertise and experience to be listened to and recorded. The Council for Disabled Children worked with this group, and a wider group of children and young people with learning difficulties and their supporters and loved ones to find out what they need from the workforce, and start to explore how this might happen.
Caroline Coady, Assistant Director for social care at CDC writes:
Everyone has care and support needs, they can be physical, emotional, social or, more often, a complicated interaction between these needs and a range of other factors. This report shares the learning from children and young people with learning difficulties and disabilities, their families, and those who support them, on the education and training that supporters need to ensure that they deliver high quality care. The range of individuals supporting them spans across health, education and social care, as well as including family and friends.
The children and young people we spoke to have unique personal experiences but, when it comes to the quality and delivery of care and support, there are common themes that run throughout. They told us that they are more likely to trust and speak to people who know them in a non-medical capacity because they are the people who have taken an interest in them as individuals, getting to know their likes, dislikes and how they express themselves. Although having the right knowledge and skills is important, they are generally something we can learn if the right training is available.
It is often these informal supporters that ‘fill the gaps’ in care and support that children and young people find lacking in their provision. It is equally as important that individuals providing this more informal care feel supported, skilled and qualified to confidently and consistently meet the needs of the children and young people they care for. This report highlights some of the common themes and shares suggestions from young people on how to address the challenges.
It has taken a long time for people to understand that children and young people with learning disabilities and learning difficulties have a voice, even longer to support people to listen to it…..An effective workforce of supporters which is able to embrace this, understanding their needs, essential values, and effective approaches to skills development, is key. As such, we were really pleased to undertake this work with HEE, which brings the needs of supporters and the voices of young people together.Dame Christine Lenehan, Director, Council for Disabled Children
Key recommendations of the report
Key recommendations of the report include:
- Core training for all supporters on subjects including: the social model of disability, safeguarding, disability awareness, communication and behaviour support.
- Making use of community resources and building in co-production at all levels.