You told us
People told us it is hard to find information about growing up with SEND, particularly what choices you will need to make and when. We noticed people hadn’t been downloading My Important Stuff document and you told us that was because no-one had told you about it. It also wasn’t very attractive to look at or fill in.
Material on Somerset’s SEND Local Offer was limited. Many things were linked without explanation of why you may want to look. There was no clear route to navigate or ‘this is what you do at this age’.
Lots of the important things about making decisions for your life aren’t a statutory council service so we haven’t had the information about them before – for example what to look for in a disability confident employer, learning to drive with additional needs, finding comfortable sanitary or period options for people with sensory differences.
There are also some things young people don’t want to ask their parents about and need another place to find the information, for example puberty and alcohol. Often it was a friend telling you rather than a webpage. Young people were also not aware that some of this information did exist and want professionals to signpost them earlier.
We created a series of pages which we hope will help access information about preparing for adulthood for young people with additional needs. We have grouped into one section all of the different types of choices you will need to make at each age – see Preparing for the future. We have added many new topics such as friends relationships and community, puberty, learning to drive, and making decisions and voting. We hope that the new pages will help young people and their families to navigate the teenage years with less stress.
We also used lots of headings and subheadings to section out the pages and make sure topics weren’t too much of a long read. We have added more videos and made links to easy read guidance.
We updated the My Important Stuff document. It is now more colourful with pictures and space to doodle, to make it appealing to use. The document takes you on a journey thinking about the people close to you that you see every day, things to help you access your local community, and the services that won’t know who you are but can still help you. And also support for getting around more independently. We have given descriptions of what services are rather than expecting young people to guess from the name.
You can find more information on our Preparing for adult life pages.
What happens next
We are looking at accessible ways to increase use of images to make it more visually appealing and help navigation. We also want to explore making more information available in an easy read format.
We are also working on improving the content for post-16 education, linked with work we are doing on improving information about options in school and educational settings.
We are increasing awareness and talking to professionals to help you find this information sooner.
What has the impact been
Pages were published at the start of the 2023/24 school year. We will update this once people have had a chance to use them.