by Chloe Edridge, research assistant at The Anna Freud Centre
Young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) must have their voices heard, with their capabilities promoted not assumed. We have been informed by young people, their teachers, carers and clinicians that they want to be active in decisions that affect them, with a call for tools to be able to achieve this.
Power Up+ is a digital tool to support wellbeing in young people with SEND. It aims to support them in taking an active role in the decisions about their life, facilitate a level of independence and enable their voices to be heard through helping expression of feelings and emotion.
The tool is a webapp and can be used on computers, smartphones and tablets as a secure space autonomously or with teachers and parent/carers.
The development and design process over the last year has involved crucial input from young people with SEND and their network, resulting in the identification and implementation of multiple changes to the tool, both conceptual and tangible. Collaboration such as this, is an integral part of the design and research into tools and resources for young people with and without SEND. As an organisation, we feel young people and their families are at the heart of everything we do with co-production an essential part of this.
In addition to the benefits to project development, co-production can be an exciting opportunity for young people with SEND and the project team. Ensuring their thoughts, feelings and opinions are valued and listened to. It is a chance for them to be a part of developing a new app and work on their own communication skills in a group.
We are currently at the stage of the project for SEND schools and students to be the testers and help shape the future of Power Up+.
Please contact Chloe at firstname.lastname@example.org to take part or visit www.annafreud.org for more information on the work we do and other available resources.