On February 24th, KIDS and the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) hosted the third Making Participation Work conference in London co-chaired by a member of KIDS Young People's Engagement Group (YPEG), Mike Beall. The event was to promote and develop young people’s strategic participation. The areas covered where on the following areas:

  • Disabled children and young people and those with SEN understand the changes to the law and how it affects them
  • Practitioners understand how to involve disabled children and young people and those with SEN in decisions about their support and care; and
  • Disabled children and young people and those with SEN are able to influence national and local policy and practice development, and their voices are embedded within strategic participation locally.

Highlight’s included a keynote speech from the Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, Edward Timpson, KIDS Regional Director Bridget Bevis discussing the impact of young people developing and delivering workforce training and workshops run by KIDS and other young people groups.

KIDS workshop

The YPEG group delivered a workshop called ‘Young People’s Perspective of participation – barriers and benefits’. Exercises included making a list of what the attendees perceived to be barriers in young people participating in strategic planning of services and comparing with a list created by the YPEG group. The group also talked about how important it is to include young people in discussions with Local Authority, schools and other professionals regarding their Education and Health Care plans. They also talked about how being  part of YPEG had helped their confidence and helped them to gained new skills.

Quotes from KIDS YPEG    

Tabby (KIDS South YPEG)
“Being a part of KIDS has given me the skills I need so that I could finally get paid employment – I am now a play worker and I love it.”

Georgia (KIDS South YPEG and National Advisory Group)
“KIDS groups have given me the confidence to speak, and have given me lots of skills – they have helped me to feel like an adult, not a child.”

Matthew (from KIDS YPEG South)
“Professionals need to understand what we have been through so they know how to help us. They need to listen to us like we are real people.”

Mike Beall (KIDS YPEG South and Co-chair of the conference)
“Growing up was difficult because people react badly when they know you have autism. I didn’t talk at all until I was 7 years old. KIDS participation project has made me feel welcome. Now I can do things independently and it is good for my mum and my family too as they don’t worry about me as much. “I was an easy target for bullies – it’s not nice but you have to remember bullies are not clever. Now I confident enough to speak in front of a room full of hundreds of people thanks to KIDS.”