According to SEN and disability law local authorities must consider young people’s view, wishes and feelings. It stresses the importance of young people taking part as fully as possible in decisions made about them. A child becomes a young person, under SEN Law, when they are over compulsory school age (the last Friday in June after they turn 16).
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From Year 9, especially if your young person has an Education Health and Care Plan, the local authority, school, college, and others will begin to make plans for their adult life. It is important for your young person to be included in decisions about their:
You should encourage your young person to be ambitious for their futures, whatever their needs, and support them in the choices they make, allowing them to communicate this in a way that suits them best.
Starting by sharing decision making with you and then with your support, developing the confidence to make those decisions themselves. Learning from mistakes should be a positive part of this process for young people.
The home or any place where they feel comfortable and safe is usually the best place to start to talk to your young person about their views.
It can be easier to talk during a shared activity such as drawing or in the car. Keep things brief. You can return to it at another time, especially if they seem uncomfortable. Help them to understand they may not always get the things they want but it important to have a ‘voice’ in decisions.
If your young person is comfortable talking about their views, explore:
It is important for young people to attend the meetings in which decisions are made about them. They may not feel comfortable to stay for the whole meeting which is fine. You could write down their views and ambitions before the meeting to make sure their voice is heard even if they are not present at the time it is being discussed.
At Kirklees Independent Advice Service (KIAS) and Calderdale SENDIASS we can give free, legally based, confidential, impartial advice and support including:
We would be happy to hear from you on: