The Government published today non-statutory guidance on how to support children and young people with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions and mental health difficulties who are at risk of restrictive intervention.
The new guidance aims to help settings adopt a preventative approach to supporting children and young people whose behaviour challenges, as a result of learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions or mental health difficulties.
The advice is designed to support relevant education, health and care settings and services to put in place measures that will help them reduce the need for restraint and restrictive intervention, in special schools and health and social care settings.
What the guidance sets out
The measures outlined in the guidance are intended to help settings:
- understand the needs of children and young people, including the underlying causes of and triggers for their behaviour
- develop strategies and plans to meet those needs
- adapt the environments in which children and young people are taught and cared for so as better to meet their needs
- provide appropriate support for children and young people whose behaviour challenges, without the use of restraint or restrictive intervention
It also provides a framework of core values and key principles to support:
- a proactive approach to supporting children and young people whose behaviour challenges
- a reduction in the need to use restraint and restrictive intervention
In addition to the new guidance, the Government also launched a consultation to gather views on whether there is a need for further guidance on the use of restraint and restrictive intervention in mainstream schools, mainstream post-16 settings and educational settings offering alternative provision.
Response from the Council for Disabled Children
We have been aware and significantly concerned about the prevalent use of harmful restrictive intervention of disabled children and young people in the UK. Our Director, Dame Christine Lenehan responded to the announcement:
"We very much welcome the publication of the new guidance, and look forward to its full roll out and implementation. We especially look forward to the launch of a consultation on whether or not further guidance is needed to cover children with autism and learning disabilities in mainstream schools, as this was the foremost concern raised by the sector during consultation on the guidance".