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In partnership with

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Frequently asked questions

Overview and background

 

What is Disability Matters?

Disability Matters is a suite of free online e-learning resources for everyone who comes into contact with disabled children and young people, whether this be through paid work or in a voluntary or charitable capacity. This could be as a doctor, teacher or police officer or equally as school bus driver, football or swimming coach or through involvement with a community group such as Brownies, Guides or Scouts. Although not produced primarily for parent carers or disabled young people, anyone can access the resources, which should be clear for anyone to understand.

Each Disability Matters session (about 20-30 minutes of e-Learning) has been co-produced by disabled young people, parent carers and other experts in the field and is full of real stories of the experiences of disabled children, young people and their families. There are tips on what everyone can do better to warmly welcome, value, respect and communicate with them as well as more actively include them in choices, decisions, everyday activities and access to services. This should lead to better outcomes for the disabled people of all ages that matter to them.

Everyone can use their imagination to problem-solve when there are challenges and barriers to including disabled children and young people in everyday communication, activities and services – Disability Matters is full of helpful hints on how to do this more effectively.

 

Disability Matters Learning Packages

Disability Matters contains a number of ready-made, tailored e-learning packages for learners from different sectors. These packages consist of a small number of e-learning sessions that they should find relevant to them. This does not stop learners from accessing other sessions, but it does give a taster of what the overall programme offers. New learning packages are being developed on a regular basis. If you are interested in developing a specific, ‘badged’ learning package for your workforce or sector, please contact the disability matters team: disability-learning@rcpch.ac.uk


Disability Matters Resources

Disability Matters also provides resources to support the delivery of facilitated face-to-face learning. Training modules contain case studies, discussion questions and group tasks to lead people through the relevant learning material. The face-to-face training resources are designed to offer an alternative format to the e-learning – learners need only complete one format, but may choose to do both!

How does the Disability Matters programme work?

The programme offers online learning sessions (mostly 20-40 minutes) on a wide range of topics to help people reflect, challenge and change their own fears, idea, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours towards disabled people.

All the sessions can be completed as a ‘one off’ or ‘stand alone’. Alternatively, visitors can sign up to the Disability Matters learning community and complete several sessions or a learning package which they can record in their personal learning account. Creating an account allows the learner to keep a record if their learning and to print certificates to evidence their learning.

The more actively the learner reflects on the stories and materials in Disability Matters, the better equipped they will become to welcome, include, empower and support disabled children and people of all ages.

Who's behind Disability Matters?

Disability Matters has been developed and supported by a group of multi-disciplinary organisations, known as the Consortium. Its members are:

  • British Association for Community Child Health

  • British Academy of Childhood Disability

  • British Psychological Society

  • British Paediatric Neurology Association

  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

  • Contact a Family

  • Council for Disabled Children

  • National Network of Parent Carer Forums

  • Royal College of General Practitioners

  • Royal College of Nursing

  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

  • Royal College of Physicians

  • Royal College of Psychiatry, Faculty of Child Psychiatrists and Intellectual Disability

  • Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

In addition to the Consortium members listed above, the Disability Matters programme also acknowledges the following development partners:

  • Department of Health

  • Disabled young people from Triangle

  • RCPCH Youth Advisory Panel

  • Parent carers of disabled young people

  • College of Occupational Therapists

  • City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

  • Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare

All the learning materials on the site have been co-developed by author and editorial teams made up of disabled young people, parent carers, and other experts and recognised leaders in the field of disability.

Who funded Disability Matters?

Disability Matters was funded by the Department of Health (England) as part of Transforming Care, A National Response to Winterbourne View Hospital which was published in Dec 2012.

Funding has also been received from Health Education England as a result of the Confidential Inquiry into the Premature Death of People with Learning Disabilties (CIPOLD) which was published in 2013.

Who is Disability Matters for?

Disability Matters is for everyone who may work with, volunteers with, care for, commission or delivers services for disabled children, young people and their families. 

When we say ‘everyone’ we mean anyone who may come into contact with disabled children and young people through their work or outside of work, across all sectors of society. 

Disability Matters has something for everyone.

What will Disability Matters help me to do?

Disability Matters will help you (workers and volunteers) to reflect, challenge and then positively change your own fears, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours towards disabled children and young people.

It highlights aspects of best practice, provides top tips for communicating with disabled children and young people and supporting them to be as involved as they can be in making decisions on matters that affect them, so that they can get on with their lives in the way that they want to.

At its heart, Disability Matters is about improving confidence and increasing the understanding of everyone who accesses it, using real stories of the experiences of disabled young people and their families and the tips that they have for all who may work or volunteer with them. The overarching goal is to challenge and positively change attitudes towards disabled people of all ages, as this will lead to better outcomes that matter for them.

Is Disability Matters evidence based?

Disability Matters is based on evidence of best practice and has been written by leading experts in partnership with disabled young people and parent carers. There are resources pages at the end of each e-learning session that link to additional evidence based research to enable further reading.

How have you ensured that Disability Matters reflects all the latest research?

Disability Matters has been written by leading experts in the field of disability in partnership with disabled young people and parent carers. The key messages about the attitudes of everyone in our society will continue to be relevant long into the future.. Content will be reviewed regularly and updated in the light of new evidence. The resources pages within each session contain links to further reading.

 

Registering and accounts

 

What are the benefits of creating a Disability learning account?

Creating a learning account gives you access to a number of features that are not available to guests:

  • Automatic recoding of all completed learning on a personal activity record. This can be printed for a personal or employer’s record

  • The option to print certificates of completion on completion of an e-learning session

  • The option to save work mid-e-learning session and to return to complete it at a later date

 


Learning packages and face-to-face training resources

 

What is a Disability Matters Learning Package?

A learning package is a group of Disability Matters e-learning sessions that have been grouped together to form a bundle of learning that meets a particular learning need. All e-learning sessions can be completed as a single learning activity, and have been designed to stand alone. However taken in succession with other carefully chosen topics they will lead to greater insight and deeper learning.

If you are interested in developing a learning package for your staff or volunteers please contact the Disability Matters team disability-learning@rcpch.ac.uk.

How do I access and use a Disability Matters training resource pack?

Training resource packs are available to view and download through the Disability Matters Resources programme.

The training packs have been designed for use by people who have had some experience of leading group discussion and facilitating workshops. If you have not delivered training before, we would suggest co-delivering it with someone who has some experience. We also strongly recommend that you link with disabled young people and parent carers in your area and include them in delivering the training; the messages will be more meaningful and memorable as a result. Try linking with Contact-a-Family, the National Network of Parent Carer Forums and or the Council for Disabled Children to find out about groups in your area. (www.cafamily.org.uk ; www.nnpcf.org.uk ; www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk)

It is expected (but not mandatory) that people who deliver our suggested training will have completed the corresponding e-learning sessions. This will help with familiarity with the case studies and ethos of the programme.

Does Disability Matters provide face to face training for organisations?

Disability Matters does not currently provide face-to-face training for organisations. We understand that many staff and volunteers would prefer to engage in group training; we have produced resources to support organisations or individuals that wish to deliver their own training.

The training packs have been designed for use by people who have an understanding of disability issues, and have had some experience of leading group discussion and facilitating workshops in the past.

If you or your staff do not have experience of delivering training we would recommend co-delivering it with someone who has some experience. We also strongly recommend that you link with disabled young people and parent carers in your area and include them in delivering the training; the messages will be more meaningful and memorable as a result. Try linking with Contact-a-Family, the National Network of Parent Carer Forums and or the Council for Disabled Children to find out about groups in your area. (www.cafamily.org.uk ; www.nnpcf.org.uk ; www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk)

Do I have to be an expert in disability to use Disability Matters training resource packs?

You do not have to be an expert in disability to use the training resource packs, but you do need to have an understanding of the issues experienced by disabled people and their families.

We strongly recommend that all trainers complete the corresponding e-learning sessions before delivering a training session using the disability matters training resource materials.

It is important that anyone who delivers a Disability Matters training sessions has experience of facilitating discussion in groups, and has delivered some training in the past. We want all facilitators to feel confident with time management and adapting the suggested content to meet the needs of the learners in their group. We also strongly recommend that you link with disabled young people and parent carers in your area and include them in delivering the training; the messages will be more meaningful and memorable as a result. Try linking with Contact-a-Family, the National Network of Parent Carer Forums and or the Council for Disabled Children to find out about groups in your area. (www.cafamily.org.uk ; www.nnpcf.org.uk ; www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk)

I am a private training provider, can I use Disability Matters materials in the training I deliver?

The materials we have developed for face-to-face training are available free of charge to all individuals and organisations (including private providers). Where individuals or organisations use our materials to deliver training we ask that appropriate acknowledgement of Disability Matters is made.

 

Benefits and value added  

 

I'm already learning about disability. Will Disability Matters add value?

The content of Disability Matters is different from other resources because it contains the unique stories of the lived experiences of the disabled young people and parent carers who have co-produced it, along with other experts in the field. We are certain that it will add value for you – either by teaching you something new, inspiring you to do more, or simply reinforcing what you already know. You can also print certificates for sessions completed for your personal learning record.

Will Disability Matters contradict what I'm learning?

No. The Disability Matters content has been co-developed by leading experts in partnership with disabled young people and parent carers and is based on best practice and the key messages that matter to young people and their families. It should complement any teaching from other reliable, accredited sources that is also based on the World Health Organisation’s holistic model of disability.

Will Disability Matters teach me all I need to know?

Disability Matters wasn’t created to replace other forms of learning. It is for everyone who comes into contact with disabled children and young people, whether this be through their work or outside it in a voluntary or charitable capacity. It will improve the learner’s confidence to communicate effectively with disabled people, and develop inclusive and supportive behaviours. This should lead to better outcomes for disabled people, that matter to them.

 


Why is Disability Matters relevant to me?

 

I don't work or volunteer with disabled children or young people. Why is Disability Matters relevant to me?

If your organisation or service includes or involves any children or young people at all, then Disability Matters will make sure that you are better equipped to welcome and include disabled children and young people as warmly and equally as anyone else. Everyone in public organisations has a duty of care to do this and as responsible adults we should all rise to the challenge.

Doing nothing may seem a safe option and is the one that many people take if they lack confidence or are uncertain. However, doing nothing is not an option if we are all to fulfil our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010: to not treat anyone worse than anyone else, just because they are disabled. Disability Matters provides knowledge and builds confidence to do the right thing at the right time.

The programme offers short online learning sessions (most are 20-40 minutes) to help people reflect, challenge and change their fears, idea, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours.

I'm a healthcare professional. Why is Disability Matters relevant to me?

Disability Matters is not like a textbook of health conditions and is not designed to teach knowledge about health conditions, although learners may pick up some new knowledge along the way. Disability Matters is more about how to approach, communicate with, empower, include and support disabled children and young people in a range of situations and settings as they go about their daily lives, make choices, access activities and services - aspects that are highly relevant to all health workers. At the heart of Disability Matters is a series of reflective moments, where the learner is asked to pause and reflect on what they might do in a particular situation, or what they might do differently the next time they meet a disabled child or young person. Everyone, no matter how experienced, can benefit from such reflection, to challenge their own fears, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, to think or small or bigger changes they can make that may more meaningfully welcome, include and empower disabled children, young people and their families. 

What makes Disability Matters different and brings it alive are the real stories of the lived experiences of the disabled children, young people and families who have co-developed the materials with other experts. There is nothing like real experiences to make us all think and to continue to develop our practice, as part of our continuing professional development. Have a look at a session or two, there is bound to be something of interest that is useful for you!

I'm a social care professional. Why is Disability Matters relevant to me?

Disability Matters is not like a textbook of health conditions and is not designed to teach knowledge about health conditions, although learners may pick up some new knowledge along the way. Disability Matters is more about how to approach, communicate with, empower, include and support disabled children and young people in a range of situations and settings, as they go about their daily lives, make choices, access activities and services - aspects that are highly relevant to all in social care. At the heart of Disability Matters is a series of reflective moments, where the learner is asked to pause and reflect on what they might do in a particular situation, or what they might do differently the next time they meet a disabled child or young person. Everyone, no matter how experienced, can benefit from such reflection, to challenge their own fears, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, to think or small or bigger changes they can make that may more meaningfully welcome, include and empower disabled children, young people and their families. 

What makes Disability Matters different and brings it alive are the real stories of the lived experiences of the disabled children, young people and families who have co-developed the materials with other experts. There is nothing like real experiences to make us all think and to continue to develop our practice, as part of our continuing professional development. Have a look at a session or two, there is bound to be something of interest that is useful for you!

All sessions and resources are available to everyone, free of charge.

I'm a criminal justice professional. Why is Disability Matters relevant to me?

Disability Matters is not like a textbook of health conditions and is not designed to teach knowledge about health conditions, although learners may pick up some new knowledge along the way. Disability Matters is more about how to approach, communicate with, empower, include and support disabled children and young people in a range of situations and settings, as they go about their daily lives, make choices, access activities and services - aspects that are highly relevant to all in the criminal justice sector. At the heart of Disability Matters is a series of reflective moments, where the learner is asked to pause and reflect on what they might do in a particular situation, or what they might do differently the next time they meet a disabled child or young person. Everyone, no matter how experienced, can benefit from such reflection, to challenge their own fears, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, to think or small or bigger changes they can make that may more meaningfully welcome, include and empower disabled children, young people and their families. 

What makes Disability Matters different and brings it alive are the real stories of the lived experiences of the disabled children, young people and families who have co-developed the materials with other experts. There is nothing like real experiences to make us all think and to continue to develop our practice, as part of our continuing professional development. Have a look at a session or two, there is bound to be something of interest that is useful for you!

All sessions and resources are available to everyone, free of charge.

I'm an education professional. Why is Disability Matters relevant to me?

I'm a professional in the travel and leisure sector. Why is Disability Matters relevant to me?

Disability Matters is not like a textbook of health conditions and is not designed to teach knowledge about health conditions, although learners may pick up some new knowledge along the way. Disability Matters is more about how to approach, communicate with, empower, include and support disabled children and young people in a range of situations and settings, as they go about their daily lives, make choices, access activities and services - aspects that are highly relevant to all in the travel and leisure sector. At the heart of Disability Matters is a series of reflective moments, where the learner is asked to pause and reflect on what they might do in a particular situation, or what they might do differently the next time they meet a disabled child or young person. Everyone, no matter how experienced, can benefit from such reflection, to challenge their own fears, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, to think or small or bigger changes they can make that may more meaningfully welcome, include and empower disabled children, young people and their families. 

What makes Disability Matters different and brings it alive are the real stories of the lived experiences of the disabled children, young people and families who have co-developed the materials with other experts. There is nothing like real experiences to make us all think and to continue to develop our practice, as part of our continuing professional development. Have a look at a session or two, there is bound to be something of interest that is useful for you!

All sessions and resources are available to everyone, free of charge.

I'm a professional in the community sector. Why is Disability Matters relevant to me?

Disability Matters is not like a textbook of health conditions and is not designed to teach knowledge about health conditions, although learners may pick up some new knowledge along the way. Disability Matters is more about how to approach, communicate with, empower, include and support disabled children and young people in a range of situations and settings, as they go about their daily lives, make choices, access activities and services - aspects that are highly relevant to all in the community sector. At the heart of Disability Matters is a series of reflective moments, where the learner is asked to pause and reflect on what they might do in a particular situation, or what they might do differently the next time they meet a disabled child or young person. Everyone, no matter how experienced, can benefit from such reflection, to challenge their own fears, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, to think or small or bigger changes they can make that may more meaningfully welcome, include and empower disabled children, young people and their families. 

What makes Disability Matters different and brings it alive are the real stories of the lived experiences of the disabled children, young people and families who have co-developed the materials with other experts. There is nothing like real experiences to make us all think and to continue to develop our practice, as part of our continuing professional development. Have a look at a session or two, there is bound to be something of interest that is useful for you!

All sessions and resources are available to everyone, free of charge.


General queries

 

Aren't there already resources out there like this - what makes Disability Matters any different?

Disability Matters is the only freely available e-learning resource, co-produced by disabled young people, parent carers and other experts, that helps all workers and volunteers to reflect, challenge and then positively change their own fears, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours towards disabled children and young people.

I am an HR professional and I intend to ask all the staff / volunteers in our organisation to complete some of the Disability Matters e-learning sessions. Can we have access to their learning records?

External organisations cannot access the learning records of their staff or volunteers that are held on the Disability Matters learning management system.

Learners who create an account on Disability Matters can:

  • print off certificates of completion when they finish an individual session, or a learning package

  • print off a complete record of their learning, which shows which sessions they have undertaken

  • print off the reflective entries that they make while completing the e-learning ssessions

All these certificates and records can be uploaded into their own organisational Learning Management System.

We know that some organisations are creating a disability course on their own learning management systems and including organisational specific learning activities alongside the requirement that staff upload certificates for particular e-learning courses sessions from the Disability Matters catalogue.

Questions to test understanding can be asked on your own site, and can relate specifically to the content of the Disability Matters sessions.

Is Disability Matters compulsory?

No, but perhaps if you may work or volunteer with disabled children and young people, rather than accessing the sessions because you must, you may want to access them because you can! Please consider the potential positive benefits not only for yourself in your role, but for the disabled children, young people and their families that you may meet. Improving positive attitudes costs nothing, but can make a world of difference.

Disability Matters will challenge you to consider your own feelings, attitudes and behaviours and those of others in your organisation or service that may present challenges of barriers for disabled children, young people and families as they go about their daily lives. Disability Matters will also improve your ability to creatively problem-solve with disabled people and their families, to find solutions to the challenges and barriers that prevent them from being fully included.

Disability Matters will improve your confidence with disabled people and enable you to empower them, communicate better with them and support them in ways that they find helpful.

I don't have a lot of time. Will the sessions be time consuming?

No. Most sessions take between 20 - 40 minutes to complete and you can dip in and dip out of them as you wish saving a session as you go. Some sessions include a lot of videos. If you choose to watch them all, the session will take longer to complete. You canto return to complete a session whenever is convenient for you. You can also browse and save session titles that you would like to complete at a later date.

We’re sure that you’ll be able to find the time for something this important, and because Disability Matters is available online – you can make the most of any spare time you have, participating in a session whenever and wherever you are – be it on the train, on a lunch-break or at home, internet permitting.

I'm not desk-based, how do I use Disability Matters?

Because it’s available online – Disability Matters is available anywhere at any time of the day, as long as internet access is available. You could take part in a session during your lunch break, on the train home, or once you’ve put the kids to bed on your laptop or tablet.

You could also ask your organisation to deliver face-to-face training using the group training resource packs that we have produced. These present the e-learning content in a way that is suitable for facilitated group discussion and personal reflection. You could also ask your organisation to make time and access available for you to complete the e-learning.

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