Last year Dynamite conducted a survey of 143 young people in Portsmouth to find out what they thought of services in Portsmouth for young people with disabilities (including special educational needs). The results are in and they give some really useful information about what it is like being a young person with a disability in Portsmouth.
First of all we wanted to find out how much young people knew about the new SEND reforms which the government brought in last year. We asked whether young people knew about the changes for young people with disabilities. A third of young people did.
The changes for young people with disabilities are set out in the Children and Families Act, you can find out some more information about these changes here: http://www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/media/510942/yp-consultation-on-cop-16-25.pdf
One of the changes for young people with disabilities is the introduction of the new Education, Health and Care Plans, we asked young people if they had heard about these plans. Quite a lot of young people had heard of them but more than half hadn’t.
You can find out more about Education Health and Care Plans on the local offer website:
The Local Offer is the list of all of the special educational needs services available in Portsmouth. These services are available to everyone even if they don’t have an Education, Health and Care Plan. The Portsmouth Local Offer website can be found at www.portsmouthlocaloffer.org
We then tried to find out what information was available out there for young people. The most significant thing which we found here was that generally it was very difficult to find information about employment whatever age young people were with less than 50% of young people saying that they were able to find out information about the choices, support and help available to them. We also found that how much young people felt they were able to access this information didn’t change that significantly as between different age groups.
We then asked which of these areas were important to young people. This was where we saw a change between different age groups. As young people got older Education became less important to them but independence and leisure became more important. This has lead us to have some further conversations with young people about what independence means to them (See my previous blog http://tinyurl.com/q55qofs )
Finally we asked young people how they preferred to find out about the choices and options available to them and overwhelmingly young people told us that the way in which they would like to find out information by talking to someone in person. Websites and Videos of young people were also popular.
The results of this survey will be very useful to me in shaping the Young Persons Information, Advice and Support Service and should be useful to all services for young disabled people.