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MSPs urged to give disabled children a just transition

This news post is 8 months old

Support is currently "inadequate"

Politicians have been urged to back legislation supporting disabled young people to make the transition to adulthood.

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus (SBH) Scotland has written to party leaders urging them to back Pam Duncan-Glancy MSP’s Disabled Children and Young People (Transitions to Adulthood) (Scotland) Bill when it is debated in Scottish Parliament this afternoon (23 November).

The Bill seeks to make it a legal duty for the Scottish Government and local authorities to set out how they would coordinate support for disabled people under 26 years old, as they move into adulthood.

SBH’s chief executive and father to a young disabled daughter, Lawrence Cowan, is urging MSPs to back the legislation.

He said: “There is a widespread consensus that the support available for disabled young people and their families in navigating the various transitions into adulthood and adult services is inadequate.

“At SBH Scotland we have expertise in supporting young people with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus through such transitions and providing specialist training to professionals.

“There is clear evidence that negative experiences of transitioning have a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of young people into the future. Poor transition planning for disabled young people in fundamental public services such as education and healthcare can make them feel overwhelmed, scared and anxious for the future. No disabled young person should ever feel this way.”

He added: “Disabled young people deserve the best chances in life. This Bill has the potential to kick-start one of the most fundamental advancements in disability rights since Devolution. We must not miss this opportunity. All parties need to work together to make sure this Bill progresses, improvements are made, and resources are available to put it into action. 

“Disabled people's independence and belonging matters. For disabled young people and their families, the transition through everything from education to adult healthcare creates needless barriers to their independence.

“Time and time again they have to fight for the coordinated support they need. It's exhausting, confusing and hugely isolating - it has to stop. Putting plans and resources in place to help disabled people be happy and healthy in life shouldn't be a choice - it's our duty. That is why we need this Bill."