Rights for a child or young person with special educational needs and disabilities

It is important that your child or young person with special needs feels safe. They should also feel happy and respected by others. No matter whether they are at school, at work, or seeing a health professional.

The Equality Act can protect them from discrimination. Find out more about the Equality Act:

Children and young people's views about their rights

With the help from SNAAP Your Voice Matters group, we asked you:

  • what rights meant to you
  • if you understood these
  • if you thought you were treated fairly.

Watch our video to learn why rights matter.

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Rights for SEND young people video transcript

Alternatively find out about parent and carer rights.

Education rights

Schools can't discriminate against pupils with disabilities under the Equality Act, it's against the law to treat disabled students unfairly. For support and advice relating to your child's education rights visit:

Employment rights

It's against the law for employers to discriminate against someone because of their disability when at work. Find out more about your employment rights.

Health rights

When using services provided by the NHS you should know your rights. Every person receiving treatment should have the final say over the decisions that affect their health.

Children and young people with SEND can access most health services in Kent.

Under the Equality Act 2010, disabled people have the right to reasonable adjustments when using public services. These adjustments can remove barriers to getting health care. This can include:

  • easy read documents
  • longer appointments
  • clearer signs.

For more information about how services support you:

Treat me well

Adjustments can be simple changes made by a GP, nurse, dentist, or optician, or sometimes multiple people will need to work together. Making these changes means removing barriers and providing you with extra care and support.

Here are the top 10 reasonable adjustments you can make when visiting the a health professional.

You can get help if you're concerned about the service you're getting.

Your local GP

Your local GP can help you if you have concerns about your child's health, wellbeing, and development. They can also recommend other health services, social care, or community-based support if needed.

Get Your Rights

Visit the Get Your Rights website to watch videos and find more information about your healthcare, or download an easy read guide to the Equality Act.

Healthwatch UK

Healthwatch UK are there to listen to your voice and to help you navigate the health and social care system.

For more information:

Young Minds

Visit the Young Minds website to read their  guide to support, including a guide to child and adolescent mental health services so you know what to expect when accessing this service.

Make a complaint about an NHS service

If you're still unhappy with the NHS service, we advise that you make a complaint. Your GP, dentist, hospital, or pharmacist should be the first to hear your complaint.

Or, complain to the clinical commissioning group (CCG).

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) gives people with learning disabilities the right to make their own decisions.

People with learning disabilities might need information presented in a way they understand (for example, easy-to-read information).

Whenever someone can't make a decision because it's too big or complicated, their support system has to.

To find out more about the Mental Capacity Act:

Become a deputy under the MCA

When someone lacks mental capacity, you can be their deputy. This means they can't make decisions for themselves at the certain time. However, they can still make decisions when they're able.

As a deputy, you’ll be authorised by the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf.

Find out more about becoming a deputy.

PALS offers confidential advice, support and information for patients, families and their carers.

PALS support you with:

  • health related questions
  • any concerns or problems when using the NHS
  • the NHS complaints procedure
  • support groups outside of the NHS.

For more information about your local PALS service visit the following websites:

Customer experience team at Medway

If you have any questions around the care at Medway or need additional advice, visit the Medway Community Healthcare website for contact details.


The Advocacy service may be able to assist if you feel you are not being listened to or unable to communicate your views.

Find out more about how The Advocacy People can support you.