The guides have been jointly produced by Mencap and the Department for Education to help parents and young people with a learning disability better understand changes to the law for children and young people with SEND*.
The SEND reforms were implemented in September this year, with the aim to change the way children with SEND and their parents are supported by their local council, health and social care services. The changes aspire to put children, young people and their families at the centre of decisions about their support.
Mencap and the Department for Education involved people with a learning disability in the development and design of the Easy Read guides throughout the process.
Mencap Internal Communications Assistant Dean Meuleman has a learning disability and helped produce the new Easy Read guides:
Easy Read is one way of making information easier to understand and use. People with a learning disability tell us that simple words, short sentences, the size of the writing, bullet points and pictures all help them understand information better. This is important because it helps people with a learning disability to be included and make independent choices for themselves, just like anyone else.
The changes to the law on special educational needs and disability will affect parents and young people with a learning disability. They have a right to understand these changes and how they will impact them directly. I hope that these new Easy Read guides will help people with a learning disability to make the best choices and decisions for themselves.
As a parent with a learning disability, Ismail Kaji thinks Easy Read guidance on the new reforms is vital. Ismail is also a Parliamentary Assistant at Mencap and helped to produce the new Easy Read guides on SEND reforms:
The Easy Read guide for parents with a learning disability will help them understand the new changes to the law and learn where to go for help and extra support. It is really important that this guide is in Easy Read because parents with a learning disability will feel more included and involved. If it wasn’t in Easy Read, parents wouldn’t know what help is out there and wouldn’t know how to make sure their child has the best support.
Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson, said:
Our reforms put children and parents right at the heart of the system – so of course it’s essential that they should understand exactly what the reforms are.
People with learning disabilities have helped us and Mencap put these guides together to ensure they explain what is now available in an understandable way.
These important changes ensure support fits in with their needs and not the other way round - helping create a simpler and more joined up system that focuses on children achieving their best.
The two new Easy Read guides – one for parents with a learning disability and the other for young people with a learning disability – are available to download from today on the Mencap website here.
For more information, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 6950 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities.
Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email email@example.com
What is a learning disability?
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life.
People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.
Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.