What really matters to families of children and young people with SEN and Disabilities?

What really matters to families of children and young people with SEN and Disabilities?

Over the last few months, we have been chatting at Bringing Us Together about what really matters to us, as families.

There is much chatter on social media by practitioners about what they believe really matters to us and to be honest, we have started to despair.  So many practitioners get hung up on the language used, the terminology or ticking a box to say they’ve spoke to us, asked our view, chatted to the child, etc.

Does it make a difference?

  • Do we really care if you call it culture change or getting the hearts and minds on board – when accountability is actually what we need?
  • Do we really care if you have met with many parents to get their views – when the parents are hand picked to provide a positive result?
  • Do we really care if it’s called co-production or working together – if you are not doing either?
  • Do we really care if we use a ladder of participation or a circle of involvement – if you are not actually working with families as individuals?

Will the choice of language or terminology change anything for us, as a family?  Will a check list help us?

I don’t know about you but I am so tired of ticking boxes that mean absolutely nothing.  So tired of practitioners patting themselves on the back about their efforts when, as a parent, I know their efforts just tick a box but change nothing.  There are, and always will be, some amazing practitioners out there but, as in all aspects of this world, the bad apples provide us with the biggest challenges.

The ones who get it make such a difference but we need more of them.  More great practitioners.

If there is to be a tick box, how about the following:

What makes a great practitioner?

  • They listen to the families
  • They see our child or young person as a child or young person first, they don’t make assumptions after seeing the label.
  • They appreciate that our child or young person is part of a family and that each family is unique.
  • They look at the dynamics of each family and make the appropriate changes
  • They make their own opinions about families, rather than listening to what others have said
  • They do what they say they will do; they follow through on promises
  • They don’t always tell you what you want to hear but they don’t dump that news and run
  • They don’t pretend to know everything or have all the answers
  • They speak to you like a grown up
  • They don’t use legislation as a cop out
  • They don’t have to be informed what the legislation says
  • They don’t make you keep them accountable
  • They don’t come with a check list of tick boxes
  • They don’t use jargon (or if they do, they explain it)
  • They know that very often families don’t know what they don’t know
  • They know the local area, local groups and provision
  • They know how to help families get back up when they have hit the wall (or at least where the support to do that is)
  • They communicate with families

Communication is a two way process.  It not only consists of imparting and exchanging information, news, ideas and also feelings, but more importantly, it consists of reaching a mutual understanding.  


So what do we really want?


Find out more

You can find out more about working together and what good really looks like by joining us at our conference in January 2016.

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BuT Site Admin

Debs is one of the co-founders and Directors of Bringing Us Together. She is mum to three child with a variety of SEND and has a great husband.

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1 Response

  1. Re: What really matters to families of children and young people with SEN and Disabilities?
    Your LETUS list embraces Team Around the Child (TAC) philosophy, principles and practice as published fifteen years ago. Well done.

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