6.3 Listening to & Communicating with Disabled Children
Last updated 12/11/2018
6.3.1 In order to include the disabled child or young person appropriately in any investigation of their needs, their views must be listened to. Therefore any particular communication needs they have must be met.
6.3.2 The local authority has a duty to investigate in accordance with the Children Act 1989, Section 47. The Children Act 2004, however, strengthens the Local Authority’s responsibility to “ascertain the child’s wishes and feelings regarding the action to be taken with respect to him” [Children Act 2004 section 53].
6.3.3 All reports that are written about a disabled child or young person should include their views, wishes and feelings, and how they have been ascertained.
6.3.4 Workers must identify barriers to access services and must aim to make information provided available to disabled children/young people and their parents. This information should take account of the child/young person’s impairment, the child/young person’s and parents’ preferred formats and be made available within agreed time frames.
6.3.5 Many disabled children or young people need alternative or additional means of communication to understand and to express them. The best practice for disabled children is for a worker with appropriate communication skills to be allocated.
6.3.6 Additional and alternative means include objects, pictures, symbols and signs or an electronic communication device. Professionals such as speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists, doctors and school nurses can provide advice and support for disabled children/young people and may be able to advise on a range of access issues. As some disabled children and young people use means of communication that are very personal to them, it is important to involve professionals who know the child well. Deaf children may need an independent sign language interpreter. Workers must not rely on someone who may be abusing the child to assist with communication.