Parents and professionals

Parents and professionals

Welcome to the parents and professionals zone.

A place just for parents, carers, and professionals with practical information to help you support the young people in your life.

Come armed with a paper and pen, as this area will hold the key to all those questions you wish you had answers to.

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Challenging Local Authority decisions

Challenging LA’s decisions

If you’re unhappy with the local authorities’ decisions after receiving an EHC plan or at an…

Challenging LA’s decisions

Challenging Local Authority decisions

If you’re unhappy with the local authorities’ decisions after receiving an EHC plan or at an annual review, Rukhsana Koser, Education Solicitor explains the steps you can take to challenge them.

The video includes a reminder about the relevant law and guidance in respect of SEN, which decisions can be appealed, and how the tribunal process works.

annual review of EHC plan

Annual Review of EHC plan

You’ve been through the education, health and care (EHC) assessment, you have an EHC plan in place…

Annual Review of EHC plan

annual review of EHC plan

You’ve been through the education, health and care (EHC) assessment, you have an EHC plan in place for your child but what should you expect now?

In this informative video, Rukhsana Koser, Education Solicitor at Langley Wellington Solicitors LLP, outlines what the legal requirements are to review an EHC plan, the timeline of the process, and what to expect in the annual review meeting.

EHC Needs Assessment

EHC assessment

In this video, Rukhsana Koser, Education Solicitor at Langley Wellington Solicitors LLP explains EHC…

EHC assessment

EHC Needs Assessment

In this video, Rukhsana Koser, Education Solicitor at Langley Wellington Solicitors LLP explains EHC needs assessments, and the procedure followed once the local authority agrees to assess your child’s special educational needs.

The Transition Event – JarGONE: say goodbye to confusing jargon

With the help of this list, you’ll have the information you need to define some of the tricky word…

The Transition Event – JarGONE: say goodbye to confusing jargon

With the help of this list, you’ll have the information you need to define some of the tricky words and phrases (also known as jargon) you may come across during your Transition.

This list is designed around you. But, if there is a word or phrase that doesn’t appear that you think should, email hello@myfamilyourneeds.co.uk and let us know.

A

Additional Learning Support: a service designed to support your Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in further education.

Advocate: an independent person or organisation who can support you to express your views and make your own decisions.

Alternative providers: organisations that might support you but do not receive money from the Government to help them do this. This could be private care organisations.

Annual review: the review of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This must be completed within 12 months of making the plan and then on an annual basis. An interim review will be held every six months for children in early years.

Appeal: the legal process of arguing against something or questioning a decision you don’t agree with.

Assessments: usually a conversation with someone but may be carried out independently online, you’ll talk about or note down the things you can and can’t do in everyday life. You’ll also look at the support available to help you do these things.

Autonomy: making decisions about things in your life independently.

B

Brokerage: a person or organisation that helps you to organise and arrange support.

C

CAMHS: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

Case studies: a real-life example of someone’s experience of a service, designed to help you.

Children and Families Act: laws introduced by the Government in September 2014 which changed how disabled children, young people and families get the help they need.

Confidential: information that is kept privately and only known by certain people.

Co-production: services working with individuals or communities who use services to co-design and shape them to reflect user experience and need.

Curriculum: a list of topics within a subject that you will be taught in an education setting.

D

Direct payments: money paid to you directly by your local authority, allowing you to organise your care and support independently.

E

Education, Health and Care Assessment (EHC): an assessment of your education, health and care needs.

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP): a document that describes what support you should get in school based on your EHC assessment.

F

Further education: when you choose to stay in education after you’ve left school by going to college or university. You could also do an apprenticeship or supported internship.

H

Health and Wellbeing Boards: key people from the local health and care system working together to improve the health and wellbeing of their local population.

Healthwatch: an organisation that can support you to help public health organisations improve their services in your local area.

Higher education: when you choose to stay in education after you’ve left school, usually to go to university or college.

I

Impartial: factual information free from personal opinion that allows you to make your own decision about something.

Independent supporters: people that can support you and your family when it’s time to action your EHCP for the first time.

Indicative draft: the first version of a document that will be changed before it’s final, describing a draft structure and ideas.

Information advice and support services (IASS): an impartial and confidential service which gives free information, advice and support about matters relating to SEND.

J

Joined-up: at least two organisations coming together to plan services in your local area.

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA): describes the current and future health, care and wellbeing needs of your local area, helping the local Health and Wellbeing Board.

K

Key worker: someone who works with you and your family to help you get the most out of your education and social care services.

L

Legal document: a document with information that has been written according to the law.

Local agency: local organisations working on behalf of the Government, including local councils but also local health services, charities and other service providers.

Local authority: the council operating in your local area on behalf of the Government.

Local offer: information describing the services and support available in your local area for disabled children, young people and families.

M

Mainstream: the activities, services and education settings that are available to all children and young people.

Mediation: the process of finding common ground when two people or groups disagree about something.

O

Outcomes: targets that you or others may set based on what you want to achieve in life.

P

Parent/carer forum: a place where your parents and/or carers can talk about issues relating your care and support with other local parents and carers.

Participation: taking part in something, such as an activity you like.

Person-centred planning: making sure the services you receive are benefitting your needs.

Personal assistant: someone who can support you at home or to go out in the community.

Personal budget: how much your local council will pay towards your social care and support.

Personal health budgets: money to support your health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between you (or someone who represents you), and your local doctors.

Provisions: something that is offered to you by an organisation as part of their service.

S

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND): something that can affect your ability to learn, your behaviour or your ability to socialise.

Specialist support: services for children and young people with SEND.

Statutory: required by law.

Statutory services: services required by law that the Government provide.

Supported internships: opportunities for people aged 16-24 with learning difficulties or learning disabilities, who want to get a job and need extra support.

T

Therapies: medical treatments designed to help you live with the symptoms of your condition.

Transition: what it’s called when you move from children’s to adult services.

Tribunal: you and the other people involved in a disagreement will talk in front of a group of experts who are not aware of the problem but will have the final say on what happens.

V

Voluntary organisations: a group of individuals who enter into an agreement, usually as volunteers, to form an organisation designed to help people or an issue.

Nicola Boon Langley Wellington on Deputyship

Deputyship Orders

If someone lacks mental capacity in England and Wales, it’s possible to apply to become their …

Deputyship Orders

Nicola Boon Langley Wellington on Deputyship

If someone lacks mental capacity in England and Wales, it’s possible to apply to become their deputy, but what exactly does that entail, and how do you go about it?

In this video, Nicole Boon from Langley Wellington LLP Solicitors explains deputyship in simple terms, including:

  • What a deputyship is
  • Why it is important
  • The difference between lasting power of attorney (LPA) and deputyship
  • When to apply, and how


Nicole Boon is a Solicitor with Langley Wellington LLP Solicitors. Email: nicole.boon@langleywellington.co.uk Tel: 01452 521286

Find out more about Langley Wellington LLP Solicitors here.

direct payments, piggy bank picture

Direct Payments for young people transitioning to adulthood

In this video, Direct Payment Support Provider Penderels Trust, explain Direct Payments for young pe…

Direct Payments for young people transitioning to adulthood

direct payments, piggy bank picture

In this video, Direct Payment Support Provider Penderels Trust, explain Direct Payments for young people who are transitioning to adulthood.

In it, they look at what a direct payment is, what it is like to have one, and why you may like to consider it as an option to help you live an independent life.


With over 30 years’ experience in Independent Living, Penderels Trust are experts at making processes like Direct Payments and Personal Health Budgets easy. Find out more here.

front cover image from Together for Short Lives guide

Moving to Adult Services: What to expect

It is always good to think about what you want out of your adult life as early as possible. This is …

Moving to Adult Services: What to expect

front cover image from Together for Short Lives guide

It is always good to think about what you want out of your adult life as early as possible. This is commonly called transition.

This downloadable guide from Together for Short Lives has been developed to help young people from the age of 14 years with life-threatening conditions to know more about what to expect when they move to adult services.

The first section talks about what you can expect at different stages of the transition process to adult services. The second section focuses on different aspects of your life that you may want to plan for as an adult.

Together for Short Lives Moving to Adult Services Guide

CLICK HERE, or directly on the image above to download the guide.


Together for Short Lives is a UK Charity that helps every child and family living with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition get the very best care and support they can. Visit their website here

girl in wheelchair having fun outdoors

Physical activity and the benefits of the great outdoors

Physical activity can help you sleep better, feel happier and manage the stress of everyday life. In…

Physical activity and the benefits of the great outdoors

girl in wheelchair having fun outdoors

Physical activity can help you sleep better, feel happier and manage the stress of everyday life. In this Q&A, Sally Wilcock from the Strawberry Line Cycle Project looks at the benefits of physical activity on mental health, and what activities are available.

Q. Now that restrictions on travel and activities have loosened, what activities are available for people with learning disabilities if they want to get out and about this spring? 

It is great that people can get out and about more. Although we can’t do everything we used to do, there is still a good variety we can do and much of that is outdoors. Getting outdoors is something that we, as a project, love to encourage people to do.

Outdoor activities include walking, cycling, picnics, yoga, outdoor swimming (although please only do that with a qualified outdoor swim coach; there are plenty around and we could recommend a great one in North Somerset), outdoor pursuits such as archery, golf, lawn bowls, tennis … the list is endless. 

Sometimes, it is hard to see past the fact the cinema is still shut or that we are unable to go ten pin bowling, but there is a great number of outdoor activities. For example, planting seeds and seeing the results grow or taking a countryside walk with a camera to get some wildlife photos – both can be hugely rewarding. What’s more, these activities are accessible to all, regardless of any additional needs. A further benefit of outdoor activities is they tend to be more inclusive, allowing people with additional needs to participate along with friends and family.

Q. What benefits does physical activity have on mental health? 

The benefits of outdoor exercise on mental health are well documented for reducing stress and anxiety and creating feelings of calm. It is believed the natural light, fresh air and endless feeling of open space all contribute to these benefits. Couple this with the endorphins (the feel-good chemical released by our brains during physical exercise) and people are set to feel the rewards.

There are, of course, also the benefits of who you choose – or don’t choose – to do the exercise with. For some people, that may be time on their own to unwind and enjoy the peace. For others, this could be the opportunity to participate in exercise with friends and family, or the chance to have fun with people you love away from the routine elements of life.

Q. What other benefits can participating in physical activity have?  

The benefits of physical activities have long been known and documented, such as having a healthy weight and an improved cardiovascular system. However, there is more to this – more that can empower individuals. 

Participating in a range of physical activities allows us to use a variety of muscles and motor skills, in turn allowing us to learn further skills for life. For example, playing lawn bowls and gripping a ball will strengthen the muscles and motor skills of an individual’s hand. This, in turn, could allow for better fine motor skills when using cutlery.

Another good example of how we benefit relates to ageing. As we age, muscle throughout the body will deteriorate but physical exercise, such as team sports or strength training, can counteract that, allowing us to maintain our skills and independence into our older years. 

Q. Tell us about yourself and Strawberry Line.

Our project, the Strawberry Line Cafe and Cycle Project, began life 10 years ago when we opened a small cafe in what was a derelict train station waiting room. The project was established as a not-for-profit organisation that offers paid employment to people with learning disabilities. Over the years, numerous young people with learning disabilities have either trained with us or been employed by the project.

Following on from the success of the cafe, the team saw the opportunity to expand and that was when the cycle hire was opened. The hire is again an inclusive employer, offering both paid and training opportunities to people with learning disabilities.

As an inclusive employer offering valued community facilities, we also wanted to ensure we were inclusive for all members of the community. This is why we have a fantastic range of adaptive bikes in addition to our regular bikes.

Our project is based at the start of a 10-mile off-road trail, enjoyed by walkers, joggers and cyclists. We have a range of bikes available and enjoy enabling people with a range of additional needs to use our bikes. Getting out in the fresh air is such a simple pleasure with wide-ranging benefits. Making this accessible for more people is fantastic.

contents of an EHC plan

Contents of an EHC plan

An in-depth look at what you can expect to find within an educational, health and care (EHC) plan. I…

Contents of an EHC plan

contents of an EHC plan

An in-depth look at what you can expect to find within an educational, health and care (EHC) plan.

In this video, Education Solicitor, Rukhsana Koser, details what a EHC plan should contain, highlights special educational provision, what it might look like, plus other important things to note.

checklist tick box and word yes

Transition checklist

Getting the most out of your transition to adulthood We know that your transition to adulthood can f…

Transition checklist

checklist tick box and word yes

Getting the most out of your transition to adulthood

We know that your transition to adulthood can feel scary, that’s why we want to support you however we can. This checklist has been designed to help you think about what you want to get out of your transition. It will ask you to answer a few simple questions, all you have to do is tick the boxes that best relate to your experiences.

To get the most out of your transition, it’s helpful to answer the questions as honestly as you can. This can help to keep track of your wishes and figure out where you may need extra support in the future. If you have any concerns, talk to a parent/carer, teacher, or support worker.

Your first task is to take a moment to pause and think about the question, what does a good transition look like for me? When you’re ready, use the space provided to write your answers. There’s also space underneath each set of questions for your notetaking. CLICK HERE OR ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO DOWNLOAD THE TRANSITION CHECKLIST

S4I Independence App – I-Buddy

Award winning, not-for-profit enterprise, S4I Ltd are the force behind the S4I Independenc…

S4I Independence App – I-Buddy

Award winning, not-for-profit enterprise, S4I Ltd are the force behind the S4I Independence App. In a nutshell, it’s an app that allows people to be more independent and less reliant on others, promoting independence and confidence in their lives. 

Here, Craig Aitkin explains a little more about the app, its features and how it has helped the people he supports.

The independence app was designed by vulnerable adults, for vulnerable adults, to support them to gain independence. The app is a one-stop-shop that enables individuals to be independent with activities most people take for granted.

The app originated as a flash in the pan comment as the staff had an app for work for s4iltd. From this comment, we explored what they would like on an app and this grew from there. We firstly explored what would be on it, how it would look and function. Everyone wanted it to be real so no complicated ways of accessing the features. They chose the colours from our logo and we searched for a platform to build it on. By searching and watching videos we built what you see today.

Helping you feel more independent

The app helps people to feel more independent. Its different features allow the user to stop relying on others as much. It’s just basic things, catching the bus, life skills, counting change, and most importantly feeling safe where ever they go, knowing they can access a safe place at a push of a button.

Most people don’t have care every day all day. When you want to cook or meal plan use the app to access recipes with written, pictorial and audio instructions. No computer voice, it is our voices speaking over the app itself. Another classic example is when someone goes to a pub or café, they want a coffee and cake but are not sure if they have enough! With the counting change feature you can select the coins you have in your pocket and it will tell you what you have. Alternatively, you can also check the change given back to you. There are lots of other features but it’s probably best to download the app, trial it and watch the tutorials.

Those who have used the app have reported they feel happier cooking, are better with money, and more confident in accessing the community using the buses and keep safe features. They have also commented that the police feature has given them a better understanding of their rights, the laws, and how and what to report. This feature is animated and audio.

s4i independent app change counting feature
Counting change feature
s41 app cooking function
Access recipes
map function
Stay safe

The app and where to get it

Additional apps or features are already underway. These will be free when you subscribe for £1.99 per year. We are also working on a sign language feature, real skills feature- teaching you real skills that you can use at home, work, or for fun including, robotics, electronics, mechanics, woodwork, and more.
We value customer feedback. There is an area to leave feedback on the app and we review this and make changes to suit all. We charge an annual subscription to enable us to keep it running and improve it. We are a not-for-profit organisation, so we don’t get funding. What started as an app for those supported by Support 4 Independence Ltd, has grown. The S4I App is available for everyone, both young and old.

Find the app by searching for IBuddy or Independence App on the app stores. You get a 7-day free trial then the subscription starts and renews automatically.

SEN support in schools

SEN support in schools

In this bitesize video, Rukhsana Koser, Education Solicitor at Langley Wellington Solicitors LLP, ta…

SEN support in schools

SEN support in schools

In this bitesize video, Rukhsana Koser, Education Solicitor at Langley Wellington Solicitors LLP, talks about SEN support in schools.

The purpose of SEN support is to help children achieve the outcomes or learning objectives set for them by the school. Here, Rukhsana outlines who can get SEN support, what SEN support can be provided in schools, and what do to if your child isn’t making progress.

EP and happy child

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Assessments: What is the role of an Educational Psychologist?

In this detailed and insightful post, Dr Halit Hulusi, Principal Educational Psychologist at Solihul…

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Assessments: What is the role of an Educational Psychologist?

EP and happy child

In this detailed and insightful post, Dr Halit Hulusi, Principal Educational Psychologist at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, outlines what you should expect from working with an Educational Psychologist and how they can support your child.

I guess that if you’re reading this, you and your child may be about to meet an Educational Psychologist (EP or Ed Psych as we are often called). In this article I’ll do my best to give you a sense of what to expect when working with an EP and our role in the Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessment process.  

What is an EP?

EPs are a profession of applied psychologists (around 2,236 in the UK: HCPC data 2018). The route to qualify as an EP takes about eight years from initial undergraduate degree, relevant experience/employment and the three-year doctorate. The training route is tough and extremely competitive. Once qualified, most EPs work in local authorities, however, there are a minority of EPs working in private practice. In order to offer services to the public, all EPs are required by law to be registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). Being registered with the HCPC means that that the EP has undergone appropriate training and achieved qualifications that mean they are deemed ‘fit to practice’.

What do EPs do?

Essentially, EPs work with children, young people and adults aged 0-25 years and the educational settings, families and communities around them. Broadly speaking, EPs will conduct psychological assessments, training of others, research and work with children, young people and adults. Some EPs may also provide a range of therapeutic interventions. Much of how EPs work with people is through what we call ‘consultation’. This can be a very empowering conversation that we use to enable those we work with to find solutions to challenges they might be experiencing. If you meet an EP, you’ll probably notice that we do a lot of listening. As psychologists we try to be compassionate, curious and caring. It’s a fantastic privilege to be an EP and work with children, families and schools. 

When might an EP get involved in supporting your child?

Most local authority EP services are now traded. This means that schools may need to buy in EPs to support their work with children and families. In my experience, most schools do access EPs, either through the local authority or privately. Schools may ask their EP to support their work with your child if, despite their best efforts, they feel they are a bit stuck or where they want a psychological view for what might be a barrier for your child’s progress. The school should always ask for your consent before an EP becomes involved in direct work with them, your family or your child. Informed consent is a golden rule for EPs and makes up part of our ethical code of conduct.

EPs might also work with children, families and teachers when things are going well. Many schools I’ve worked with have asked me to run parent/teacher drop-in sessions or training sessions about behaviour, child development, teaching approaches. Our team recently ran evening sessions for parents in schools to help them understand their child’s mental wellbeing. Being a parent is a tough job. There is no training or instruction manual and it’s exhausting! The parents we’ve worked with consistently tell us that they value the sessions we run. Thankfully, many schools also see the value of these sessions and prioritise their precious EP time for this work.

EPs and EHC assessments

For some children, their complex needs mean that they require additional support that is beyond that which a typical mainstream school can provide. In some of these cases, the school or the parent might make a request to the local authority to request that they conduct an EHC assessment (Children and Families Act, 2014). If the local authority agrees that your child requires an EHC assessment, an EP will be formally asked to conduct a psychological assessment.

Hopefully, if you’ve got to the point of an EHC assessment, an EP will have been already involved in supporting school, your family and your child. Sadly, in many cases, the EHC assessment might be the first time you might meet an EP. In my experience, the best psychological assessments for an EHC assessment are where the EP has known the child, the family and the teachers over a longer period of time. In these cases, the EP has probably been part of the team that put together the school’s request to the local authority to ask for an EHC assessment. 

What does a psychological assessment for the EHC assessment look like?

There really isn’t an exact answer to this question. In my experience, every child is unique and that means that every assessment is unique. This means that the EP will decide what assessment tools they are going to use based on what they feel is going to help them to best understand your child, their needs and their strengths. Having said that, I’d expect a good psychological assessment to have the following elements:

  • The EP should arrange a meeting with you before seeing your child. This might be arranged directly with you or through the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). This meeting might be at the school or your home. Your first contact with the EP is important. They should explain who they are and what they are proposing to do. They should also let you know what will happen after their assessment and what to expect once their report is complete. Sometimes they may arrange another visit or phone call to discuss their report if required.
  • The EP should be interested to explore your family’s journey to this point. What has happened in the past can be a helpful way of understanding what is happening now and how things might be improved in the future. Making sure the views of the child and parents are listened to is a key part of the Child and Family Act (2014).
  • The EP should also find a way to get a clear sense of your child’s views. For me, this is probably the most important part of the assessment and is again enshrined in the Child and Family Act (2014). Regardless of how young or how challenging this might be for your child, EPs are trained to get a clear picture of your child’s views.

The psychological assessment should explore the key areas of your child’s development. This is usually through observation in school and/or the family home. The EP might also work directly with your child. In their assessment, the EP will focus on the following areas with a greater focus on areas where your child might experience the most need:

  • Cognition and learning (maths, literacy, problem solving, concentration and attention skills).
  • Social communication and social interaction (how your child communicates with others and how they understand the complex rules of interacting with others).
  • Social emotional and behaviour (your child’s emotional wellbeing and how they regulate their emotions).
  • Physical development (their ability to move around and manage their environment).
  • Additional medical needs that might impact on their development.
  • Independence and self-help skills (are these in line with what other children of a similar age are usually able to do)?
  • Social needs (activities your child requires outside of school that help them to be part of the wider community, e.g., sports, clubs and interests).

The EP report for the EHC assessment

The EP is required to produce a report for the local authority detailing their psychological assessment findings. Again, the format of these reports will vary slightly across different local authorities. However, the final report should give you the feeling that the EP understands who your child is, what they are good at, what they find difficult and most importantly, what they need in order to achieve even more. A good EP report should also have a section that psychologists call a ‘formulation’. This is a section where the psychologist tries to explain what they think might be leading to the challenges your child might be experiencing.

Sometimes, the EP will write a formulation that might make for difficult reading for parents, teachers, the child or the local authority. It is important to remember, that although the local authority employs most EPs, our assessments are objective and we write with the child in mind. 

EP recommendations

The EP report should also have a fairly detailed section with clear outcomes that they feel your child should be working on now and in the future. Outcomes should be written as things your child will be able to do rather than things others should be doing, e.g., ‘Fred will be able to read ten words, rather than Fred will have a literacy intervention’. This section should also set out the provision the EP feels your child will need to achieve these outcomes. The provision should be based on what EPs call ‘best evidence’. This means that any recommendations should be based on what the research in that particular field suggests is most effective. In many areas there isn’t any research, or the research does not indicate a clear finding. Where this is the case, I’d expect the EP to recommend provision that has worked for your child in the past, or provision that looks like it might work based on the findings of the assessment. 

What happens next?

Technically, EP involvement in terms of the assessment ends once their report for the EHC assessment has been submitted. Whether an EP continues their involvement at this point is dependent on how the EP service is commissioned in your local authority or whether the school prioritise your child for continued EP involvement. If the local authority decides to issue an EHCP at the end of the EHC assessment, the EP might remain actively involved until the EHCP is finalised and the provision is in place. If an EHCP is issued, the local authority or the school might ask an EP to become involved again when the EHCP is reviewed. 

Some final words

In my experience, most schools have excellent working relationships with their EP and will ask us to become involved if they feel this is necessary. The EP advice for the EHC assessment is one part of what EPs do. In the best-case scenario, the EP will have been involved before, during and at some level after the assessment. I would recommend that parents maintain a close and positive working relationship with the EP. We are good listeners and are able to provide you with a space to think and develop a plan for your child. 

Accessible Housing

Disabled tenants and the look of independence

Young disabled people are not alone in the common desire to assert their independence as they enter …

Disabled tenants and the look of independence

Accessible Housing

Sophia Dacey, Neighbourhood Manager with accessible housing provider Habinteg Housing Association, shares her experiences of supporting young disabled people into their first accessible home.

Young disabled people are not alone in the common desire to assert their independence as they enter young adulthood. One sure fire way for them to do that is to move out of the family home and into their own property. This is a daunting task at any time but, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the current social climate, this is an especially tough time for young disabled people looking for accessible housing.

The reality of inaccessible housing

I can still clearly remember the nervous feeling I had when I housed my first tenant. I spent the first hour of that morning hoping the tenant liked me and praying I didn’t say something wrong, I was introducing someone to their forever home, after all.

And I remember Kelly, the 30-year-old mother of disabled Keian, aged four, eagerly walking up the stairs to my office to receive the keys to their new accessible home. Previously, Kelly and Keian had been living in a two-storey Victorian home, with little-to-no support for Keian’s living needs.

For years, they had to make do with these arrangements, with Keian being confined to the ground floor living room.

I remember feeling very emotional as Kelly described the struggles of carrying her growing son to the toilet, upstairs, and thinking of my own boys and how I’d cope in her situation.

This first experience showed me just how important an accessible home is for a disabled person.

New accessible home, new life

I recently caught up with Kelly on one of my trips to our Weston-Super-Mare scheme, which is where she lives. I asked how she and Keian had been getting on since we saw each other last.

“Great!” she said with a huge smile on her face. “Keian can move freely around the whole house and I’ve never seen him happier.

“I don’t have to risk hurting myself carrying him up and down the stairs. He’s getting older and feels more independent going to the toilet and kitchen by himself. This home has literally changed our lives.”

Since Kelly and Keian, I’ve housed many other tenants, both old and young, disabled and non-disabled. The nervousness of housing tenants goes away after a while, but the fulfilment and optimism I feel when I introduce a disabled person to a more suitable, accessible home stays with me.

More accessible homes needed

Habinteg may look like a regular housing association. If you were to randomly pick one of our schemes to visit, it’s likely that you’d see a mixture of people, but the houses generally all look the same from the outside.

Habinteg is a leading national provider of affordable accessible homes and support services. We try to promote inclusion by providing sustainable neighbourhoods of accessible and adaptable homes for both disabled and non-disabled people to share and enjoy.

We campaign alongside disabled people, regularly carrying out our own research to examine England’s accessible housing outlook. In our last Forecast for Accessible Homes, we found that outside London, just 1.5% of all new homes planned over the next decade are planned to be suitable for wheelchair users.

And, when you begin to peel away the layers of Habinteg, you realise that the organisation is much more than a provider of homes. We use our expertise to challenge negative social attitudes and promote the rights of disabled people beyond housing.

For many disabled people, finding an accessible home is key to achieving a more independent life, along with employment.

We know from analysing Government data that over 400,000 wheelchair users are living in homes that are neither adapted nor accessible. Habinteg is helping to reduce that number by developing more accessible housing for our disabled and older population.

In 2020, the Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition, which Habinteg chairs, responded to the Government’s long-awaited consultation on how to increase the number of accessible homes.

We expect the outcome of this consultation soon and hope it leads to real change to ensure future generations of people, including Kelly’s son, will be able to access quality accessible housing when they reach the age to need their own independent living.

Tips on finding an accessible home

Even though there aren’t as many suitable homes for our disabled population as we’d like to see, there are still ways you can find accessible housing if you need it:

Habinteg Property Search

Visit Habinteg’s website’s Property Search page to see what homes we have available. Once your application is processed, you’ll be added to our housing waiting list.

Homefinder UK

f you want to move outside of your area, you can find social housing, wheelchair-accessible and some private rented sector homes on Homefinder UK (head for the ‘Accessible Now’ section).

Local Housing Department

You can also contact your local council’s housing department to see what accessible homes they have available in your area.

What does independence look like?

Leaving your family home can be daunting at any age. But, for someone who uses a wheelchair and is used to the support of their family, it can be a challenge to adapt to a new environment.

Take Liam Rice, for example, an 18-year-old wheelchair user who I supported to find a new home a few years ago.

Liam looked more excited than nervous. He was staring at his new living room and told me he was thinking of all the game nights he could host for his friends.

Kelly also had a similar look on her face when she was inducted and what I realised is that this look of excitement was common with all our new tenants. In my mind, this is what independence looks like.

Support for disabled tenants

There are many charities and agencies that provide funding and grants to make daily living easier for disabled people. They include the following:

Disabled Facilities Grants

Disabled Facilities Grants are local council grants. They help towards the cost of essential adaptations to a disabled person’s home.

Local Authority

If you live in England, get in touch with your local authority who will normally provide you with disability equipment and small adaptations costing less than £1,000, for free.

The Mobility Trust

The Mobility Trust provides equipment such as wheelchairs and mobility scooters following an assessment by an independent occupational therapist sent by the Trust.


Sophia Dacey is the Neighbourhood Manager with accessible housing provider Habinteg Housing Association.

Sophia Dacey

Requesting an EHC assessment

If you feel like your child is struggling in school and believe that they would benefit from additio…

Requesting an EHC assessment

If you feel like your child is struggling in school and believe that they would benefit from additional support then you can request that the local authority carry out a EHC assessment.

The school is also able to request this from the local authority if they believe it to be necessary. Here, Rukhsana Koser, education solicitor looks at what you need to know when requesting a EHC assessment, how to draft a request, and what to expect during the process.

Family Fund

Your Opportunity: Help for 18-24 Year Olds

Information on Family Fund’s Your Opportunity grant that supports disabled and seriously ill young p…

Your Opportunity: Help for 18-24 Year Olds

Family Fund

What is Your Opportunity?

Family Fund supports families living across the UK who are who are raising a disabled or seriously ill child or young person. As part of our grant support, we run a small scheme called Your Opportunity that supports disabled and seriously ill young people aged 18-24 years old who are living at home.

Who can apply?

Your Opportunity has very limited funding and we accept applications from families on a first come, first served basis.

We can only process one application per household, so if you have already received a grant from Family Fund in the last 12 months, or are awaiting a decision, we won’t be able to accept an application to Your Opportunity. This is to help us reach as many families as possible with the limited funding we have.

Please note that young people cannot apply to Your Opportunity independently – the application has to come from the parent or carer, and you can only receive a Your Opportunity grant once.

In order to apply, you need to meet our criteria, which can be found on our website

How can I apply and what can I apply for?

If you’re thinking of applying to Your Opportunity, you need to complete a paper application form and a Your Opportunity declaration form and send them back to us. You can download an application pack to print off at home, or you can order a free application pack to be sent out to you. 

We can help with a range of grants through the scheme, from laptops and tablets, to grants for clubs, sports equipment, musical instruments and more.

Please note, we can’t consider requests for family breaks or a holiday.

The difference a ‘Your Opportunity’ grant can make

Jacob is 19 years old. He is autistic, and has dyspraxia and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). Jacob’s dad, Joseph, tells us: “It can be a struggle. Due to his conditions, we have to remind him to do certain things every day, such as brushing his teeth, having a shower or changing his clothes.”

“Everything we would usually take for granted, we constantly have to tell him to do. It’s like you have to start all over again. It can be very confusing for him sometimes, and he can get frustrated because he doesn’t understand why we’re telling him what he needs to do.”

Joseph has applied to Family Fund for a number of years, and it was through applying that he found out about Your Opportunity.

“I applied for a recreation grant so we could purchase a tent for Jacob.”

Joseph explains that camping is a great space for Jacob to be independent and have some freedom.

“It also gives him the option of going away with his personal assistant (PA). They can go camping together and I know he’s in a safe environment with them.”


Connect with us

Want to know more? You can visit us at our Family Fund website, call us on 01904 550055, email at info@familyfund.org.uk or join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Aimee Mann

Emotional resilience: Prioritising self care

Aimee is a mum to three children, a blogger, Podcaster and Mentor for parents, like her, whose child…

Emotional resilience: Prioritising self care

Aimee Mann

Aimee is a mum to three children, a blogger, Podcaster and Mentor for parents, like her, whose children have additional needs and disabilities. Aimee runs live and virtual workshops focusing on advocacy and prioritising self care.

Aimee’s oldest son, Freddie, has a rare de novo genetic condition and had a stroke before birth, resulting in a severe learning disability and a wide range of physical and mental disabilities.

This film was made especially for the My Family Our Needs Transition Event Online, all about building your emotional resilience and why it’s so important as parents of kiddos with additional needs and disabilities.

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