Building confidence with parents of disabled children

Four key questions when consulting with parents:

  1. Were you treated well?
    • Were you listened to?
    • Were you treated with respect?
  2. Did we help you? or Did our involvement make a difference?
  3. Do you know where to go for further information, advice and support if required?
  4. Can you suggest any way we can improve our service? Or Are there further things we can improve for you? Or Is there anything else you would like to say?
    • What could we do better?
    • What could we do differently

Five top tips - identified by parents

Remember parents are the experts on their child.

  1. Tell parent/carers what you are going to do and when .
  2. Ask parent/carers for feedback about how your work supports them.
  3. Make it explicit how you've changed your support in response to their feedback. "Following you feedback, I am now going to..." 
  4. Summarise discussions with parents outlining what is agreed and who will do what. 
  5. Involve parent/carers in the planning and review of your service. Their knowledge will help you to plan to meet the needs of other families as well.

Areas of good practice

  1. Listen to parents and carers, they are experts in their child.
  2. Ensure someone is taking on the lead practitioner or key working role for families where children have multiple services involved. This supports thier confidence and coordination of support.
  3. Provide a wide range of information in accessible formats.
  4. Engage with parents throughout.
  5. Provide feedback about what you have done, or about what has happened as a result of any queries/consultation

The role of a lead practitioner

The overall aim of a lead practitioner should be to make sure everyone works together well and listen to the child/young person and family’s views. 

"Parents with disabled children are likely to face higher levels of stress, and they value the practical and emotional support of a key worker. Key workers can help to reduce this stress, help parents to navigate the system and help them agree the right support for their child." Green Paper on SEN

"We have a son, Alexander, who is severely deaf and has cerebral palsy.  He has a key worker and they work closely with our family and other professionals, particularly our Portage Home Visitor.  Alexander has around 11 professionals (health, education and other) who support him, and the key worker helps to ensure a holistic approach to Alexander's health, educational and development needs. Managing this number of people and different inputs without a key worker would be a nightmare!" 

Useful documents


York Family Information Service and Information Service for Young People

01904 554444 / 01904 555400

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