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A woman with dark hair and glasses and a teenage boy look at a laptop screen
Photo credit: Julie Howden/ARC

New app launched to help school leavers with additional support needs transition into adulthood

Posted 22.06.23 by Alice Hinds

A new app has been launched to help young people with additional support needs navigate the transition into adulthood.

Developed by health and social care charity ARC Scotland (click here for more), with funding from the Scottish Government, the Compass digital platform aims to be a “one-stop shop” for young people as they leave school, providing support and advice for students, as well as parents and carers.

For many young people, leaving school means a straightforward move to further education or the workplace but for those with disabilities and additional support needs, planning for the future is more complex, and many people require accessible, appropriate information and tailored support packages.

ARC Scotland says transition planning is a “huge part” of enabling the young people it works with to get the right support when they need it – and free access to Compass will play a key role in making the steps before and after leaving school more manageable for Scots aged 14 to 25.

Mum-of-three Alyson Smart (pictured below), from central Scotland, has already been making use of Compass, and says the app has been particularly useful as her son moves into sixth year of high school.

“We asked to get involved in the trial of Compass and have already found it invaluable,” she explained. “Trying to find the right information for children like mine as they move towards adulthood is extremely challenging.

"In an ideal world we would know who to speak to and where to go but life with two young people who have additional support needs is busy and with Compass, all the information is in the one place.

A woman with dark hair and glasses sits on the sofa with her teenage son as they look at a tablet computer

Photo credit: Julie Howden/ARC Scotland

"I’ve found myself sitting at midnight being guided towards the right places on Compass. It’s really easy to use. You complete one task and move to the next. My son, who has autism and a moderate learning disability, has used it too and he finds it very straightforward. It’s worded nicely also and there is no negative language.”

As well as supplying essential information for users, the platform also gathers feedback and statistics to enable local authorities to improve practice, and forms part of ARC Scotland’s work to make transitions smoother, identify gaps in provision, and provide better support to empower young people who require additional assistance to live fulfilled and independent lives.

James Fletcher, director of ARC Scotland, said: “Young people with additional support needs and their carers face all sorts of challenges as they move towards adulthood.

“Finding the right information at the right time is critical and this is something which we, as an organisation which advocates for people with disabilities, have been working hard to address in the past few years.

“Compass was trialled with young people, as well as their parents and carers. They have helped to create the finished product to make sure it covers the things most important to them.

“Those involved have also used Compass to give feedback to their local authority about their own experiences of transitions and how they can be improved. We believe this is a significant and pioneering resource which will pave the way for other interactive platforms.”

For more information and to access Compass, click here to visit the website:

A child reaching to put coins into a piggy bank

News: More than £3 million in disability benefits for Scottish children

Posted 18 May, 2022 by Nina Joynson

More than 3,000 children and young people have received the Child Disability Payment since it was launched in July 2021, including 2500 new applicants.

The Scottish Government published its first round of statistics on delivery of the Child Disability Payment this week, showing national uptake in the eight months since the benefit opened.

Figures show that, as of 31 March 2022, £3.25 million has been issued in Child Disability Payments to an estimated 3,050 children and young people across Scotland.

Scotland Act 2016

The new payment arose from the Scotland Act 2016, which devolved new powers to the Scottish Parliament regarding social security, including responsibility for disability benefits.

The Child Disability Payment replaces the Disability Living Allowance for Children previously delivered by the UK Government.

Of those currently receiving the Scottish benefit, 555 have had their payment transferred from the UK Government’s payment. The remaining 2,500 are new applicants.

Approximately 43% of applications were made for children aged 5-10, 30% for children aged 11-15, and 27% for those aged 0-4.

Ben Macpherson, Scottish Government Minister for Social Security, said:

“It is excellent to see that Child Disability Payment is already making a difference to the lives of thousands of children and young people, and their families.

"For the first time anywhere in the UK, we have an online application facility for applying for our disability benefits, and the high number of people choosing to use this demonstrates that we have been responsive to the way people want to access social security.

“We are determined to ensure there is a seamless process for all recipients whose payments are moving from DWP to Social Security Scotland, and we will continue to transfer cases in a safe and secure manner. Importantly, the process is automatic – people do not need to reapply and they will be kept informed at all times.”

The Child Disability Payment was made available nationally from November 2021, following a pilot across three Scottish local authority areas.

Abstract rainbow squares within one another

News: Transitions to Adulthood Bill to be formally introduced

Posted 13 December, 2021 by Jennifer Drummond

The proposed Disabled Children and Young People (Transitions to Adulthood) (Scotland) Bill has won enough support from MSPs to be formally introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

Last week, a total of 59 MSPs from across the political spectrum confirmed support for Pam Duncan-Glancy’s proposed Members' Bill to provide better, more consistent support for disabled children and young people leaving school, allowing the Bill to be formally introduced to Parliament.

The Bill needed 18 MSPs from a minimum of two parties to support it in order to be allowed to progress to the next stage.

The Bill will give a right to a statutory Transitions Plan to every disabled child or young person and secures provision of transition support until it is no longer needed, or the young person’s twenty-sixth birthday. The Bill would also require the Scottish Government to introduce a statutory national transitions strategy to improve outcomes for disabled children and young people in the transition to adulthood, and the appointment of a Minister with special responsibility for transitions.

Speaking on the support for the Bill, Pam Duncan-Glancy MSP said:

“I am so proud that the bill secured support from MSPs representing every party in the Scottish Parliament, and I look forward to continuing to work cross-party, and with Camphill Scotland, and Inclusion Scotland and others, to ensure that parliament delivers the changes that disabled children and young people need to see.

“Young disabled people have been held back for far too long. That’s why this bill is so important, and I hope we get it through parliament and ensure the support that young disabled people so desperately need.”

The Bill is being progressed with support from Camphill Scotland and Inclusion Scotland.

Emma Walker, Camphill Scotland’s Director, said:

“This is a huge step and we are delighted with the support from MSPs from across all parties. Young disabled people across Scotland deserve a positive transition into adulthood, opportunities to access work and further education, and a legal right to support when needed. Now that Pam has secured the introduction of this Bill to parliament we are hopeful that families in the not-so-distant future will no longer have to fight for their child’s access to these rights.”

Bill Scott, Senior Policy Advisor, Inclusion Scotland added:

“Inclusion Scotland welcomes the incredible level of cross-party support for the Transitions Bill. This legislation will provide support when it’s needed most to young disabled people facing the difficult transition between school and adult life. That support will be vital in reducing the huge employment gap between non-disabled people, 80% of whom are in work and disabled people , less than half of whom work. We look forward to working with Pam Duncan-Glancy to successfully steering her Bill through the Scottish Parliament”.

Click here for more information on the Disabled Children and Young People (Transition to Adulthood) (Scotland) Bill

Pam Duncan-Glancy features in the first edition of Insight, speaking to Editor Jennifer Drummond about the importance of representation and accountability, and giving a national platform to challenges facing young disabled people.

Click here to find out more about Insight

Making rights real: new digital accessibility resource launches

20 November 2019

We’ve launched a new resource allowing visitors to our website to customise content so that they can access it in ways that work best for them.

The move reflects our ongoing commitment to accessible communications and is part of our activity marking World Children’s Day and the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Recite Me is an easy-to-use web accessibility tool, which includes:

  • text to speech functionality
  • dyslexia software
  • an interactive dictionary, and
  • a translation tool with more than 100 languages.

It allows website users to interact with web content in the easiest and most useful ways for them.

To activate Recite Me, visitors to our website can simply go to the top menu bar on the home page and click ‘Accessibility help’.

Approximately one billion people globally have a disability and can face barriers when visiting inaccessible websites that prevent them from taking an active part in life.

In the UK, website accessibility is covered by the Equality Act 2010, which has provision for the right for disabled people to have access to everyday goods and services, which includes websites.

Article 2 of the UNCRC refers to non-discrimination, meaning rights apply to every child whatever their race, colour, gender, language, religion, ethnicity, disability or any other status.

Welcoming the launch of Recite Me, Children in Scotland’s Joint Acting Chief Executive Simon Massey said:

“We take our commitment to inclusion seriously, and that means making a real effort to engage and involve as many people in our network as possible.

“Adding Recite to our website is another step in making our communications as accessible as they should be, and removing barriers for disabled people to take part in what we do.

“We’re pleased to be introducing this resource on World Children’s Day and the UNCRC 30th anniversary, mindful of Article 2 of the UNCRC which reminds us that children and young people – including disabled children and young people – shouldn't be discriminated against.

“As the representative body for the children’s sector we’re interested to hear what our members and website users think of Recite and what further improvements to support accessible communications we should make in future. Please let us know!”

How to use Recite Me

Go to the top of the navigation bar on this website and click 'Accessibility'

Click to visit the website


Find out more about Enquire, the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning

Click to visit the website

My Rights, My Say

The My Rights, My Say service supports children aged 12-15 to use their rights

Click to visit the website


REACH helps young people understand their rights about support for learning

Click to visit the website