Category: National Children's Bureau
Posted on 09.05.2019
A group of twelve 13-25 year-olds with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) from around the UK are making sure their voices are heard through a participation project headed up by the Council for Disabled Children, which is part of the National Children’s Bureau.
The Group have named themselves FLARE (Friendship, Learning, Achieve, Reach and Empower) and their role is to advise, challenge and support how the government addresses policy reforms affecting disabled children and young people and those with special educational, like themselves.
Team member Amba, 18 says: “I joined FLARE because I wanted to help people who have similar disabilities to me find a voice and get their opinions heard.” And 13-year-old Zach agrees: “I think it’s important that everyone is treated equally and fairly to be able to achieve what they want. I want to help other people with disabilities be heard and listened to.”
FLARE are the Department for Education’s young advisory group on disability issues, but they also provide advice, resources and inspiration to other organisations who are working to involve children and young people in their work. Recently, the group have worked with a broad range of organisations including Mott MacDonald and the Office for the Children’s Commissioner in England. This work has included advising on conflict resolution for young people and in exploring the language used to describe vulnerable children.
The group has also been able to share its expertise face-to-face through a series of national and regional conferences for professionals and young people. As Amba explained, the experience has been deeply rewarding, allowing her ‘the once in a lifetime opportunity to co-chair a conference with some of the best professionals in the business’, and helping others to understand what the challenge of living with a disability is really like.
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