'Special or Unique Young People's Attitudes to Disability' report

News - 11 Sep 2019

Disability Rights UK have published this report, with the support of LKMCo, as part of the DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme, funded through the National Lottery Community Fund.

The report suggests that disabled children and young people's experiences have not changed as much as we might hope over the last few decades. Disabled children and young people now consider themselves to be disabled by the 'negative feelings' towards disability generally, states Sue Bott (Head of Policy and Research at Disability Rights UK) in her foreword to the report; she goes on to say that this report should be a wake-up call 'or else we find yet another generation of disabled young people experiencing the same negative attitudes and behaviours', as Sue herself did. 

The key findings of the report include:

  • Few pupils with SEND identify themselves as disabled, and most view themselves as distinct from disabled people
  • Most pupils with and without SEND defined disablity by the use of aids, particularly wheelchairs
  • Pupils with SEND who received extra support were not sure why they received it and what it was for
  • Pupils with SEND described being bullied and socially excluded within their school, and having relatively few friends
  • Pupils with SEND want their schools to be more proactive in facilitating their social and educational inclusion and reducing bullying.


The report makes a range of recommendations, including:

  • School leaders to encourage active interventions to address bullying and promote inclusive classroom environments
  • School leaders should foster greater openness about SEND in the school, and support pupils with SEND to understand their own disability
  • The DfE should develop SEND-specific anti-bullying practice guidance, and establish a minimum inclusion standard for disability awareness in the PSHE curriculum.


Read the full report


Related resources

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