Legal ruling secures new protection for autistic pupils | DisabledGo News and Blog


Thousands of disabled children have won new protection from being unfairly excluded from school after a judge ruled that the government’s equality laws were unlawful.

The upper tribunal ruled last week that a 13-year-old pupil, known as “L” for legal reasons, should not have been excluded from his school because his behaviour was linked to his autism.

Now campaigners are calling on the education secretary to change the law to take account of the appeal victory.

L had originally been excluded from school for one-and-a-half days, when he was 11, because of his aggressive behaviour.

The way that Equality Act regulations have been interpreted has meant that children like L who were defined as having “a tendency to physical abuse” were often not treated as “disabled” and were therefore not protected by the Equality Act.

This lack of protection meant schools did not have to justify how a decision to exclude a disabled child in these circumstances was proportionate or explain how they had made reasonable adjustments to support the pupil so the behaviour could be prevented or reduced.

But Judge Rowley, sitting in the upper tribunal, has now found that this rule comes “nowhere near striking a fair balance between the rights of children such as L on the one side and the interests of the community on the other” and was a breach of the Human Rights Act.

He said that “aggressive behaviour is not a choice for children with autism” and that the education secretary had “failed to justify maintaining in force a provision which excludes from the ambit of the protection of the Equality Act children whose behaviour in school is a manifestation of the very condition which calls for special education provision to be made for them”.

He added: “In that context, to my mind it is repugnant to define as ‘criminal or anti-social’ the effect of the behaviour of children whose condition (through no fault of their own) manifests itself in particular ways so as to justify treating them differently from children whose condition has other manifestations.”

He said he believed that his decision was “in harmony with” both the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Statistics show that almost half of all school exclusions involve children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), who are almost seven times more likely to be permanently excluded than other pupils.

L’s parents said in a statement: “We have always believed passionately that our son and other children in his position should have equal rights to be able to go to school and receive the support they need to achieve the best possible outcomes.

“School should be somewhere he can go without fear of discrimination or exclusion for actions which he has no control over.

 

Source: Legal ruling secures new protection for autistic pupils | DisabledGo News and Blog

Autistic teen’s legal fight over ‘physical abuse’ school exclusion | DisabledGo News and Blog


A legal case being heard this week highlights how disabled children who can be physically aggressive because of their impairment are currently being failed by equality laws, say inclusive education campaigners.

The upper tribunal this week heard the appeal brought by the parents of a 13-year-old disabled boy, known as L, who was excluded from school because of behaviour linked to his autism.

The way that Equality Act regulations are currently interpreted means children like L who are defined as having “a tendency to physical abuse” are often not treated as “disabled” and are therefore not protected by the Equality Act.

The lack of protection under the Equality Act means schools do not have to justify how a decision to exclude a disabled child in these circumstances is proportionate or explain how they have made reasonable adjustments to support the pupil so the behaviour can be prevented or reduced.

Statistics show that almost half of all school exclusions involve a child with special educational needs.

Two years ago, a report by a House of Lords committee on the impact of the Equality Act on disabled people said the regulations had “unintentionally, discouraged schools from paying sufficient attention to their duties” under the act.

 

Source: Autistic teen’s legal fight over ‘physical abuse’ school exclusion | DisabledGo News and Blog

CHANGING ROOMS FOR EVERYONE


Five years after launching the first Baby Changing Room Awards and sponsoring the National Childbirth Trust Baby Change App, Britain’s leading nappy cream brand Sudocrem is once again pioneering the way with a new category to recognise the importance of Changing Places toilets for disabled children.

There are 800,000 disabled children in the UK but only 1058 Changing Places toilets to meet their needs. This means that parents like Laura Rutherford, whose son Brody, 5, suffers from GDD, epilepsy, hypermobility and hypotonia, is forced to change her son on a toilet floor. “Life beyond a baby changing table when your child is doubly incontinent means constant exclusions when you go out as a family. It’s heart breaking for us as parents and this is an issue that will sadly become harder and harder as he grows up. He is different not less. Time for change.”

 

Source: CHANGING ROOMS FOR EVERYONE

Changing Rooms For Everyone  | DisabledGo News and Blog


Five years after launching the first Baby Changing Room Awards and sponsoring the National Childbirth Trust Baby Change App, Britain’s leading nappy cream brand Sudocrem is once again pioneering the way with a new category to recognise the importance of Changing Places toilets for disabled children.

There are 800,000 disabled children in the UK but only 1058 Changing Places toilets to meet their needs. This means that parents like Laura Rutherford, whose son Brody, 5, suffers from GDD, epilepsy, hypermobility and hypotonia, is forced to change her son on a toilet floor. “Life beyond a baby changing table when your child is doubly incontinent means constant exclusions when you go out as a family. It’s heart breaking for us as parents and this is an issue that will sadly become harder and harder as he grows up. He is different not less. Time for change.”

Since 2012, Sudocrem has campaigned for change with an award scheme to recognise the importance of good nappy changing facilities. Past winners have included Mothercare, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and the National Museums of Scotland.

 

Source: Changing Rooms For Everyone  | DisabledGo News and Blog

Petition update · A Response From Sheffield City Council After Our Protest March · Change.org


IMPORTANT UPDATE!!! – A RESPONSE FROM SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL ABOUT OUR MARCH!!On Monday, 11 September 2017, 10:11, Walton Dawn wrote:
EMAIL SENT ON BEHALF OF DAWN WALTON Dear Chrissy I am writing to you as a matter of urgency following on from the serious concerns you have raised with Council Officers in my service, with me directly and in recent media interviews. Please accept our apologies this email was not sent on Friday. I am concerned about the cases which have been discussed and the issues which they potentially raise. With this in mind I would like to request from you details of all the cases which cause you concern. Once received, we will review all these cases individually. I would be very grateful to you when you send this information to us if you could let me know where these issues were previously raised, for example, with a Headteacher or a Governing Body so that we can also look into the robustness of these processes. We take allegations of this severity very seriously. Therefore I would be grateful for the information as soon as you are able to provide it to enable us to review these cases as a priority. I would be grateful if you could contact Zanib Mushtaq, telephone: 0114 2052597 to agree the logistics of how this personal and potentially sensitive information can be shared. Finally, I would like to let you know that representatives from the Council will not be attending your planned events on Saturday. However, we are very keen to meet with parents to discuss their concerns face to face and we will be organising a series of opportunities to enable this. These sessions will provide an opportunity for parents to meet with senior Council Officers and Elected Members they will take place in September and October of this year. We will ensure that information about these opportunities is shared with all SEND parents representative groups including Sparkle Sheffield. Yours sincerelyDawn Walton Dawn Walton, Director – Commissioning, Inclusion & LearningPeople Services Portfolio
Moorfoot 
Level 7, West Wing 
Sheffield
S1 4PLOUR RESPONSE!!!!!ToWalton DawnCCDrayton Jackie (LAB-CLLR) Ludlam Jayne L (CYP) Speechley Carly Liesje Dusauzay Dore Julie (LAB-CLLR)Today at 13:46Dear Dawn, Thank you for your communication below. The content of which is noted, including the fact that your communication is a belated one that declines, after the ‘Saturdays event,’ my invitation, issued to the Council on behalf of and at the behest of Parents and Carers for the Council to field a representative/representatives at the said Saturday Protest March of 9th September 2017. This invitation to the Council come along and listen to, and take face to face questions, answer questions, take comments, complaints and suggestions, in the transparent public eye, was proffered to the Council, in response to the Council expressing that they wanted to hear from Parents and Carers directly and they and I saw the Protest March Speeches Section to be an ideal opportunity for the Council to walk the talk in this regard ab indeed to see and hear also from a very important group, if not these most important group so adversely affected- namely- the Disabled children themselves also. In reference to your identifying the Council’s plans to hold a suite of ‘consultations’ in September and October coming, this is noted but please know that this intent and planning had been already shared with me and others, with the focus of the ‘consultation’ as present as being upon already taken place and behind closed doors discussions upon proposed changes and diminutions in Special Educational Needs Schools and IR Units and Behaviour Support Units to in the City of Sheffield and the Council’s drive to mainstream the vast number of children with SEND Requirements, along with further reducing the number of children being allowed to have their statutory EHC Plans.It should be noted that well ahead of being obliged to go public with these concerns, I and Sparkle Sheffield and individual families sought desperately to bring these concerns and complaints to the Sheffield City Council and to be heard and to have redress ensue. All to no real avail.I note to, the reframing of what were already in-situ ‘consultations’ as being initiated as now ones to ‘listen to Parents/Carers concerns ‘ with SEND representative groups ‘including Sparkle Sheffield’ being notified of these ‘opportunities’.It is hoped that Sheffield City Council are not replicating old ways of deploying ‘consultation’ as means of mere spin or means of discarding concerns and complaints already shared over longevity with the Council, or indeed bypassing the hundreds of Parent Carers who have identified themselves and their experiences of concern and complaints against Sheffield City Council through Social Media, Petition commentary and through demonstrations and in the media. Sheffield Star Live on Saturday 9th September 2017 alone has had 24,496 views, the Sparkle Sheffield AutiTalk Channel to

Source: Petition update · A Response From Sheffield City Council After Our Protest March · Change.org

Secret Life of Us – Disabled Children’s Partnership


The Secret Life of Us campaign – which has been developed in close partnership with parents – will bring to life the realities of the challenges disabled children, young people and their family’s face in living a life many of us take for granted. It will reveal the parts of their lives that most people simply do not see.

Source: Secret Life of Us – Disabled Children’s Partnership

SEN stats ‘suggest many councils are struggling with funding’ | DisabledGo News and Blog


New official figures highlight grave concerns about the impact of the government’s special educational needs and disability (SEND) reforms on disabled children, according to a leading campaigner. The figures show that some local authorities are lagging far behind others in implementing the government’s reforms. Under the reforms, which came into effect in September 2014, following the Children and Families Act, local authorities in England have until April 2018 to move all disabled children eligible for support from SEN statements to new education, health and care plans (EHCPs). The plans will last from birth to the age of 25 and set out all the support a family should receive across education, health and social care. But the new Department for Education (DfE) statistics show a huge difference between local authorities in how quickly they are implementing the reforms, with some councils far more likely to be providing their disabled pupils with old-style statements instead of EHCPs.

Source: SEN stats ‘suggest many councils are struggling with funding’ | DisabledGo News and Blog

Disabled children are missing out on vital play opportunities, report reveals | DisabledGo News and Blog


A report by the national deafblind charity, Sense, today reveals the severe restrictions facing disabled children in accessing play. The report identifies failings at every level that result in disabled children missing out on play opportunities that are vital to their emotional, social and physical development. A lack of attention by government, insufficient funding at a local level and negative attitudes towards disabled children and their families are all barriers highlighted in the report. The report calls for urgent action to address these inequalities and to enable the Prime Minister to deliver on his recent call to improve the “life chances” of all children. Due to be launched in Parliament this afternoon, the report follows a three month public inquiry into the provision of play opportunities for disabled children aged 0-5 with multiple needs in England and Wales. Chaired by former Secretary of State for Education and Employment, Lord Blunkett, the inquiry was established in

Source: Disabled children are missing out on vital play opportunities, report reveals | DisabledGo News and Blog

Come on supermarkets – please stock nappies for disabled kids


Come on you supermarkets, who will be the first to corner the market.

Scope's Blog

Laura is a mum on a mission. She’s noticed a big gap in the market, and is campaigning for supermarkets to start stocking nappies in larger sizes. Here she tells her story. 

“Nothing worth having comes easy.”

Laura and her son Brody smiling on a rollercoaster rideMy life (well, house) is full of quotes. So much so, my best friend jokes with me about it. Still, on the days I feel like I’m fighting a lost cause, this one drives me.

Around a month ago, I started a change.org petition asking leading UK supermarkets to consider manufacturing or selling larger sized nappies, for incontinent children with additional support needs.

There are thousands of children in the UK, older than “typical” children, who are not potty trained. Naturally, as a result they require bigger nappies. Are they easy to find? Of course not!

My son Brody

A close-up photo of Brody amilingBrody has Global Development Delay, epilepsy, hypotonia and hypermobility. In our special world, he…

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