Young autistic people in Lambeth have been encouraged by the National Autistic Society to join a new special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) youth forum.
Tim Nicholls, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the National Autistic Society, praised the new plans and said that Lambeth Council must listen to, and learn from, young people.
The council’s new forum aims to give youths the ability to help shape changes in their community, increasing the voice of SEND young people in the area.
Nicholls said: “It’s great news that Lambeth Council are planning to open a SEND youth forum. This is an important initiative.
“Young autistic people must have a voice, and we would encourage all young autistic people in Lambeth to get involved if they’re interested.
“The council must listen and learn from the experiences in their community, so they can better support young autistic people in the borough in the future.”
Lambeth follows other councils in areas such as Birmingham, Cheshire and Norfolk, which have also introduced SEND youth forums in recent years.
These forums aim to give young people the opportunity to meet new people and help them understand and exercise their rights.
Cllr Edward Davie, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, recognised the need to give young people the opportunity to advise the council, saying that it was important that their views are heard.
He said: “At Lambeth Council, we believe that all children and young people with special educational needs or a disability, and all those who are vulnerable learners due to their life circumstances, have the right to a fulfilling adulthood.
“As part of that pledge we have developed Lambeth’s first SEND Youth Forum. It will work to give young people with SEND a chance to make changes to in their communities, get the services they need and to make sure their views are properly represented.
“This initiative will help give children and young people from vulnerable backgrounds services that reflect what is important, relevant, and useful to them, as opposed to what we as adults think is best for them.
“It will work to ensure we reflect the borough’s diversity and support all our communities.
“The new forum will also network with other existing forums and platforms for young people in the borough to expands its reach and impact.”
Those interested in getting involved with the forum should contact [email protected] or call 07999 019 189 for further information.
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