A change in the way professionals talk to children and families

By Barrie Hudson - 22 April 2021


A Swindon organisation has launched a drive to change the way professionals interact with children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Swindon SEND Families Voice is the town's parent carer forum, and has created a new website, booklet and video called Reshaping Conversations.
Vice chair Rebecca Harrison said: "We represent parents and carers across Swindon who have disabled children. 
"We work in conjunction with Swindon Borough Council and the local CCG/NHS Trust to ensure the voices of local parent carers are heard, and look at how education, health and social care in Swindon can be improved for families of disabled children. 
"We have been working with several other local organisations including Swindon Down's Syndrome Group, Swindon Autism and ADHD group, SCWAD (for children with rare and undiagnosed conditions) and Mums on a Mission (who campaign for accessibility and Changing Places toilets)."
In the UK there are a million disabled children under the age of 16, which equates to one in every 20 children.
Some 99.1 percent of Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) also live at home and are supported by their families. 
Life for these families, says Swindon SEND Families Voice, can bring some unique challenges and obstacles to overcome. 
One such challenge it have been discussing with parents and carers is the impact that unhelpful and poor language can have when talking about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities with professionals and the wider community.
Ms Harrison added: "Our project has been very well received by Swindon Borough Council and the CCG/NHS who have both agreed to lend us their support in sharing the project with their staff and will be sharing it with the wider community on Friday.
"The project is called 'Reshaping Conversations' and is aimed at professionals who work with children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families. 
"However, the message we are hoping to share is actually applicable to everyone! 
"We hope to highlight how important it is to get the language we use with SEND familes right, in order to foster a better understanding of the impact disability can have on families."
The website is www.reshapingconversations.com
Further information about Swindon SEND Families Voice can be found at https://swindonsendfamiliesvoice.org.uk/ and https://www.facebook.com/SwindonSENDfamiliesvoice/


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