Supporting disabled children, young people and their families: guidance
Guidance to help improve the experiences of disabled children, young people, and their families.
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are aware that disabled children, young people and families may require more support. This COVID-19 support page provides links to information which can explain rights and access to services during this time. This page also contains links to organisations which may be adapting their services to offer you further support.
This page may be updated as more resources to support disabled children, young people and families during the outbreak become available. More information is available on the Parent Club website and on our coronavirus page.
Information for parents/carers
Alliance Carer Voices project is offering a range of creative activities to support your mental health and wellbeing.
CELCIS have created a COVID-19 knowledge bank which contains links to many published COVID guidance documents on a number of different topics such as social work and foster care.
Contact offer advice on benefits, grants and information about your right to access services available from the Contact website, which provides guidance and information on a wide range of topics for families with a disabled child
Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland are providing information on how to contact the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland’s office during the coronavirus outbreak. You may also be interested in the links to briefings provided to Ministers on upholding children’s rights and a questions and answers on how coronavirus is affecting some of the main rights of children.
Enquire have created a regularly updated information page which provides information to parents, carers and practitioners on the changes in the law that are being made during the coronavirus outbreak and what these may mean for children with additional support needs in Scotland.
Parentzone is a website for parents and carers, produced by Education Scotland Scotland’s national body for supporting quality and improvement in learning and teaching.
Scottish Government Third Sector Interfaces (TSI’s) may signpost to any local COVID support measures. Find your local TSI contact details.
Children and young people
My Rights My Say is offering a service update in light of coronavirus.
Reach is Enquire’s website for children and young people with additional support needs. Their webpage offers information on changes to education and support during the coronavirus and advice about home learning, cyberbullying, staying safe online, coping with anxiety and more.
Young Scot has created a coronavirus campaign page offering advice to children and young people on an array of topics, including maintaining your mental health and wellbeing and answers to common coronavirus questions.
Glasgow Disability Alliance aim to build confidence, create connections and enable contributions from disabled people. Read about their work, including an update on their response to COVID-19.
We are currently supporting GDA to offer expanded telephony services and online support to reduce the impacts of increased social isolation for disabled people, including those digitally excluded. Email: RuthHart@gdaonline.co.uk or telephone the GDA office on 0141 556 7103 if you'd like to find out more.
Information provided by condition specific organisations but may also be helpful to others
Augmentative and Alternative Communication support modules
Learning Disability - provides multiple links to resources once you get to this page.
National Autism Implementation Team have provided links to:
- Key messages for families at home with children communicating with few or no words
- Key messages for families at home with children communicating using words and sentences
- A guide to providing fun and engaging movement breaks throughout the day
- A guide to creating a safe space at home for your child to use whenever they feel the need
- Their website has a wide range of visual supports, together with ‘How to Guides’ free to download
- National Deaf Children’s Society
PAMIS or Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities are working with children, young people and adults with profound learning and multiple disabilities (PMLD) and their family carers are continuing to provide support and advice virtually during this period.
They have developed a programme of inclusive online resources and sessions promoting health and wellbeing for both the person with PMLD but also their carers. Details are available on the PAMIS website.
During this COVID-19 outbreak PAMIS recognise that the PAMIS digital passport could support a far wider group of people than those with profound learning and multiple disabilities (PMLD). Read how to produce a digital passport.
Shared Care Scotland have started to pull together a list of short breaks for strange times. These include everything from online courses, virtual museums, exercise programmes, read-alongs, and websites for children and young people, as well as support services that are delivering online.
Wellchild has advice on caring for a child with complex needs.
In recognition of how much information is currently accessed on-line and how much additional time children and young people may be spending on their computers, this section includes information about how disabled children and young people can stay safe online.
- Childnet resources on online safety
- Scottish Government and Enquire supported guidance for bullying, including online bullying
- The UK Safer Internet Centre guidance aimed at promoting online safety
Parents and carers
- Barnardo’s online safety advice
- Children 1st information and advice on internet safety and parental controls
- Internet Matters guidance on social media
- NSPCC advice and resources on how to talk to your child about online safety
- Stop It Now! advice for children getting into trouble online
Children and young people
- Young Scot hosts resources, advice, information and tips for staying safe online
- Education Scotland
- National Parent Forum Scotland - A list of learning at home resources from NPFS
- Scottish Government information for those in higher and further education
Council of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA)
Families unable to access food as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will get support from local authorities with £30 million of new investment from the Scottish Government Food Fund. The funding will support those most in need including families with children who are eligible for free school meals, older people, those with long-term health conditions and pregnant women. Councils will have flexibility to use this additional resource in ways that best meet emerging local needs and circumstances, working with community groups and businesses to support home delivery, provide financial help and meet dietary requirements. You should contact your local authority to access the food fund.
Family Fund supports families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. They can provide grants for essential items such as sensory toys, tablets/computers, outdoor play equipment, furniture and more. If you require extra financial support they may be able to help. Carers who have applied before can apply online and new applicants can download an application form from their website. For further assistance please contact Family Fund.
Family Fund administers the Take a Break programme, which also supports families / carers of disabled children and young people to take a short break. Information about how to apply and when the fund will open in 2020 is on their website.
Home Energy Scotland (HES)
HES is funded by the Scottish Government and is managed by the Energy Savings Trust. HES provides free, impartial advice on such topics as saving energy at home, reducing your fuel bills and keeping warm at home. HES have a team of expert advisors based locally right across Scotland who can help with any concerns you may have regarding keeping your child warm at home. You can find out more about HES on the Energy Savings Trust website. Alternatively, you can speak to an advisor by calling their free phone number: 0808 808 2282
Scottish Funding Council
For students in further education who are experiencing financial hardship, the Scottish Funding Council has provided advice to colleges and universities to transfer childcare and travel funds, which are no longer being allocated, into student discretionary funds.
Health and safety
Police Scotland – Disability Hate Crime reporting
Police Scotland launched a campaign in March on hate crime against disabled people.
PAMIS have supported the development of the postural care resources for NHS Education for Scotland - Two resources are available, one for professionals and the other for people and/or their carers, aimed at providing practical help and guidance on how managing posture can maintain or enhance respiratory function of those with postural difficulties.
The Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health
Together for Short Lives - Advice on what to do when you need to let a carer into the home.
Advice to tenants on updated guidance in relation to eviction during the current pandemic is on the mygov.scot website.
CONTACT - You can also find a COVID-19 FAQ on the Talking about Tomorrow website too with info for families on transition.
ENABLE - ENABLE Works’ Stepping Up programme operates in schools across the country – supporting young people from S4 to S6 to develop skills, confidence and ambition for a career and then supporting them to achieve that. For more information, please read the Stepping Up live update.
- list of resources to support children and young people with additional support needs from CALL Scotland
- visual aids to support learners to understand COVID19 from CALL Scotland.
- books for all that allows pupils to access their text books all on line for free
- Chromebook accessibility links
- reading support for learners with literacy difficulties, such as dyslexia.
- Ipad app to support children with complex additional support needs
- iPad apps to promote creativity in supporting children and young people with additional support needs
- weekly online sing-along with Alliance
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