A report of our research (finding out) about including young people with a learning disability in youth decision-making groups • WeCan2 have a say, be heard and take part By Allan, Ross, Alice, Lizzie, Ryan and Josh
We did this research to: • to help include young people with a learning disability so that they can: • play a full part in meetings and events • be listened to and • have their say about what is important to them.
Sometimes this can be hard for us. It doesn’t have to be hard if people understand what support we need in order to be able to take a full part.
Our aims • To learn how to do research • To collect evidence about what it is like to take part at youth decision-making meetings • To decide what the main things that the evidence is showing about how to include us • To find out what will help people who work with young people to be able to attract and support young people with a learning disability to take part in, be listened to and have their say at youth meetings.
In total, we spent 70 hours of going to youth decision making meetings. For example • young people’s councils • anti-bullying meetings • youth opportunity fund panels • 4 interviews with young people, a youth parliament member and a youth participation worker.
The things we found again and again show that there are problems when • We do not have support – and do not have money to pay for supporters. • We do not have transport to get to meetings. • People speak too fast. • Minutes of meetings are not sent out before the meeting and have to be read during the meeting. • Minutes and information papers have small print and no pictures. • People use too many big words. For example, in just 1 youth council meeting Lizzie checked 66 big words such as ‘ethnically diverse’. • Some meetings take place straight after school. After school we may be hungry and tired which affects how well we can participate. • Some places of meetings do not have good disabled access. • Some meetings are too long.
We made a list of the difficulties that had been shown in our research so that we could work together to talk about what needs to be done to overcome each of these difficulties.
Putting what we found out into action • We want to use our research findings to help people who work with young people so that they will understand better how to include young people with learning disabilities.