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Enquire Blog

A young girl with Down's syndrome is sitting at an art table surrounded by pens, pencils and paper.

LDAN Bill Consultation response

Enquire have responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the proposed Learning Disability, Autism and Neurodivergence (LDAN) Bill, highlighting how the Bill could impact the families we come in contact with.  

Our response, written in collaboration with our partners in the My Rights, My Say service, reflects on the experiences of those accessing our services to comment on the scope of the Bill and how it could impact the delivery of education support for children and young people with a learning disability, who are autistic and/or neurodivergent.  

The consultation asked questions about the definition of neurodivergence, and who might be included in the scope of the Bill or not. We share what parents and carers have told us about the impact of long waiting times for a formal diagnosis, raising our concern that legislation which requires a diagnosis in order to access support could exacerbate this issue. We therefore suggested learning from broad definitions like ‘additional support needs’ in the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (‘the ASL Act’) that don’t require a formal diagnosis, or have exhaustive lists of who is included or not, in order to give rights to specific people.    

Reflecting on the importance of tailored and individualised support, and the difference this can make to a child or young person’s educational experience, our response highlights the need for more opportunities for training and support for all school staff.  We refer to our helpline enquiries over 2023/24 when a lack of understanding of a child’s additional support needs was the third most common issue raised, accounting for approximately 25% of all our enquiries.

Finally, we express our support for a revision of the categories in the pupil census data on types of additional support need. We also recommend more accurate and consistent data gathering around topics such as the use of part-time timetables, numbers and reasons for children out of school and access to out of school education.  

Other considerations

Throughout our response we also:  

  • Highlight the steady and increasing demand for advocacy and support services and the pressure these services are under,
  • Recommend more involvement of disabled and neurodivergent children and young people in any next steps that are taken, for example in the development and delivery of any training for school staff, reflecting article 12 of the UNCRC that every child has the right to share their views, 
  • Urge for some consideration of how the proposed Bill will interact and integrate with other policy and legislative developments in the field of ASN, including the Independent ASL Review and subsequent Action Plan, Scottish Parliament’s current ASL Inquiry and ongoing work around behaviour in schools. 

Read the response in full here

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