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

The Equality Act is a law which protects you or your child from discrimination, whether this be in education, employment or health services. It means that discrimination or unfair treatment on the basis of certain personal characteristics, such as disability, is now against the law in almost all cases.

Find out more about the Equality Act:

Education rights

The Equality Act states that education settings must not discriminate against a pupil because of their disability. It is against the law for an education setting to treat disabled students unfavourably.

For support and advice relating to your child's education rights visit:

Employment rights

Employers must make reasonable adjustments to make sure you are not substantially disadvantaged when at work. It’s against the law for employers to discriminate against someone because of their disability.

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.

Most health services in Kent are available to everyone and many children and young people with SEND will have their needs met by services.

Under the Equality Act 2010, all disabled people have the right to reasonable adjustments when using public services, including healthcare. These adjustments can remove barriers that you would face in accessing health services. To support you reasonable adjustments can include:

  • easy read documents
  • longer appointments
  • clearer signs.

For more information about how services support you:

Treat me well

Reasonable adjustments can be simple changes made by an individual healthcare professional such as a GP, nurse, dentist or an optician. Or sometimes adjustments need to be made by a team of multiple people. By making these changes, it means that barriers are removed from those with learning difficulties, and can provide them with extra care and support.

The treat me well programme have outlined the top 10 reasonable adjustments you can and should make when visiting a health service.

If you are concerned about the service you are being provided with, there are support services to help you.

Your local GP

Any concerns about a person’s health, wellbeing and development can be raised with their local GP. They can request the involvement of other health services, social care and community related support to promote the wellbeing of your child and family if needed.


You may feel you are not being listened to by health and social care workers. You may feel unable to communicate or express yourself in order to get your own view point across. The advocate service supports you to make sure:

  • that your views and rights are respected,
  • you are treated fairly
  • your concerns are taken into account
  • you have real control over the big decisions in your life.

Find out more about the Advocacy service.

Get Your Rights

Visit the Get Your Rights website to watch videos and find more information to help you with decisions and choices about your healthcare, or download an easy read guide of 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. You should complain to the person or organisation providing the service first, such as the GP, dentist, hospital or pharmacist.

Alternatively, complain to the commissioner of that service by contacting the clinical commissioning group (CCG).

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is an important law for people with a learning disability. Every adult, whatever their disability, has the right to make their own decisions wherever possible.

People should always support a person to make their own decisions if they can. This might mean giving them information in a format that they can understand (for example this might be easy read information for a person with a learning disability) or explaining something in a different way.

But if a decision is too big or complicated for a person to make, even with appropriate information and support, then people supporting them must make a ‘best interests’ decision for them

To find out more about the Mental Capacity Act:

Become a deputy under the MCA

If someone has lack of mental capacity, you can apply to become their deputy.  This means they cannot make a decision for themselves at the time it needs to be made. They may still be able to make decisions for themselves at certain times.

People may lack mental capacity because, for example, they’ve had a serious brain injury or illness or they have severe learning disabilities. 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.