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The government recently held a consultation on the proposed Disability Action Plan – this is the action that the government will take during 2023 and 2024 to improve the lives of disabled people. Here is Kids’ response.
At Kids, we believe that every child should have an equal opportunity to play, learn, grow and thrive. Opportunities to play are an essential part of a disabled child’s life. Playgrounds provide social, emotional and physical benefits and allow children to foster independence and agency. Therefore, we support the need for both a hub of guidance about playground accessibility and mandatory standards to support mainstream playgrounds. However, both should be about inclusion and not just accessibility.
Lack of knowledge of assistive technology (AT) is holding back many disabled people in the UK, in particular disabled children whose learning, development and access to essential services may be held back not by their disability but by a lack of access to the right technology and support to meet their needs. We want recognition that all disabled children and young people will have specific and varied needs from AT. We welcome the government giving this area the attention it needs, including in the Disability Action Plan, and would like this to be developed into a recognition that AT could be used from birth to 25 to support children and young people with a range of physical or learning disabilities in their daily living.
We at Kids strongly recommend that digital inclusion be part of taskforce remit. There used to be more work in this area across the government, but this has tailed off in recent years.
The taskforce needs to seize the opportunity to support and stimulate innovation in this area, and this will require parents, carers, young people and providers’ representation. We at Kids can support young people’s engagement, building on our existing participation work with the Department for Education.