Disability Does Not Define Ability
I have been privileged to meet with some amazing service providers over the years and visit some inspirational settings. Peace, order and calm exudes in a way that belies the very real challenges the adults face who provide a service for children and young people with complex needs.
It might be a therapeutic service or a centre that offers training in a wide range of skills, or musical interaction, a virtual learning academy or specialised teaching, counselling or other intervention. Whatever the service, there is something special about those providers who place at the centre of their organization, the needs, wants and desires of the children and young people who participate – who are the real reason why the service exists.
Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) have a beautiful tag line that is perfectly attuned to this belief - It's what you can do that counts.
At the heart of the personalisation of children's services is a very real desire to place the participant, the service user, at the centre of the equation.
The Local Offer gives providers of Education, Health & Social Care an opportunity to bring their service to the attention of all those seeking specialist provision, either directly or on behalf of a child or young person (0 - 25 years) with SEN and/or disability.
The children and young people we serve deserve the very best support, with services populated with staff who are dedicated, motivated and committed to providing excellence in all contexts. These are services who look to the future for inspiration, who have aspirations and clear long term goals, who are not complacent, content to stand still or offer poor value for money. It matters not whether these providers fall within the public, private or third sector, but it does matter that each contribution to the life of a young person with SEND is reocognized and acknowledged.
In joining forces with The Local Offer, raising awaress across each of the 9 regions of England and all 152 local authorities, consider your Mission Statement and Service Offer. Give parents, schools and commissioners an opportunity to see the value in what you offer, and not just the cost.
Consider the following questions.
- What is your service about?
- What are its key beliefs about children and young people with SEND?
- What are the attitudes and beliefs of the staff who deliver your services?
- What needs does your service support?
- For what cohort of children and young people do you achieve the best outcomes?
- How do you track or chart progress from beginning to end of an intervention period?
- What is unique about what you offer?
How do you see the children and young people at the heart of your Service? As grateful beneficiaries or as active participants & stakeholders with a capacity to shape and change service choice and delivery?