Explain the potential impact of disability on the outcomes and life chances of children and young people.
It is important to request appropriate support at the first sign of any disability or additional educational need. Any disability can lead to experiencing prejudice, being stereotyped, not being included socially and a lack of confidence and independence.
Genetic factors such as Down's Syndrome would require the child to receive daily additional support as physical growth and intellectual ability are affected. Cerebral Palsy is a developmental defect developed at birth, which affects physical development, limiting movement and posture. Asthma can also cause breathlessness in physical activity, eventually affecting social development, for example making friends, learning to share and taking turns.
Sensory impairment such as speech and language, hearing or sight would affect communication and social skills. Ability to make friends and join in with physical activity would be compromised, reducing the opportunity to learn from each other.
Learning disabilities such as autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia and ADHD can create feelings of frustration and anger in children. They may feel that they are different to their friends, cannot keep up with the tasks set and result in low self esteem. Often if the behaviour of an autistic child is disruptive or aggressive other children not accept them into their social group.
'Growing up in Scotland' is a paper published in 2013, documenting the findings of having a disability as a child living in Scotland. It states that "Having a disability is linked with a greater likelihood of having early social, emotional or behavioural difficulties. In many cases the disability will actually be identifying a long-standing condition linked to that area of the child’s development. In other cases, the specific disability reported may be one which affects areas of the child’s development which subsequently affect their social experience. The lower warmth in the parent-child relationship may be similarly explained; specific conditions will make parent-child interactions more challenging. Higher stress amongst parents of children with limiting disabilities is perhaps unsurprising. These parents face the daily challenges faced by all parents of young children along with those additional challenges presented by a child with a limiting condition.
As children move onto secondary education they will make new friends and will meet new groups of people and teachers. They may face bullying or discrimination from other children and may also face difficulties whilst moving around their new school- which is likely to be bigger than the primary school, especially if they have a physical disability. It is a big transition which can be an anxious time for any child.
During examination periods children may be able to have a scribe if necessary, they would not complete the exam with their peers but in a separate room. Although this is giving the child a better chance of gaining a successful result, they may also face ridicule and bullying. Also wheel chair users may need a separate larger space to complete the exam, making them feel different and not included in usual everyday routines.
Moving onto university is a transition when many young people will move out of the family home and live in halls or houses with other young people. Gaining independence and beginning to carve their path into adulthood. Again there is a chance of discrimination and bullying, needing to make new friendship groups - which is made even harder if the young person is not socially outgoing, already had a disability as a barrier. Ways to navigate the way around campus with a physical disability must also be found.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) says that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you if you are disabled: in the terms of employment offered; in the opportunities for promotion, transfer,