Voices of students with disability and complex needs highlighted in latest report
The WA Commissioner for Children and Young People, Jacqueline McGowan-Jones, has published a report focused on sharing the perspectives of students with disability and complex needs.
‘The health and wellbeing of children and young people with disability and complex needs: Insights from the Speaking Out Survey 2021’ report saw the extension of the Commissioner’s 2021 Speaking Out Survey to an additional 545 children and young people aged between eight and 17 years in education support schools and centres, and those participating in the Western Australian Department of Education School of Special Educational Needs program.
The Commissioner shared, “Self-reported data on the health and wellbeing of children and young people with disabilities is uncommon, making the extension of the Speaking Out Survey valuable for understanding their experiences and perspectives.
Results of the extension survey showed the majority of students in special educational needs programs and in education support schools and centres, experience good general health and high life satisfaction. They feel safe and supported at home, in schools and in their communities.
However, they also experience barriers that limit their participation in schools and in their communities. These obstacles can stem from their specific support needs as well as low expectations, limited opportunities, inaccessible processes, and social and cultural barriers.
The report stresses the importance to communities, governments and service providers that children and young people with disability have views and opinions on their own health and wellbeing and they should be given the opportunity to have their views heard.
“Often the experiences of children and young people with disability are viewed through the lens of parents and carers. Whilst input from parents and other supporters is valuable, it is not a substitute for direct engagement with the children and young people themselves,” the Commissioner said.
‘The health and wellbeing of children and young people with disability and complex needs: Insights from the Speaking Out Survey 2021’ report can be found online.