Law Students Investigate Social Needs Assessments

23 March 2021

Students from the University of Leeds School of Law have worked with Cerebra on a project to understand the experiences of disabled children and their families with the process of social care needs assessments.

Law Students Investigate Social Needs Assessments

23 March 2021

Students from the University of Leeds School of Law have worked with Cerebra on a project to understand the experiences of disabled children and their families with the process of social care needs assessments.

Student Group Photo

The Cerebra Legal Entitlements and Problem-Solving (LEaP) project is innovative and helps families of children with brain conditions cope with the legal barriers they face. This programme is led by Professor Luke Clements, with the support of Dr Ana Laura Aiello.

We listen to families and help them get the knowledge they need to access health, social care and other support services. We identify the common legal problems that prevent families getting access to services and we develop innovative ways of solving those problems. We aim to reach as many families as we can by sharing our solutions as widely as possible.

In collaboration with the University of Leeds, School of Law, every year the project benefits from the support of volunteer students. They receive in depth training, which includes the allocation of practical legal research tasks. In 2020-2021, the project has focused on the experiences of disabled children and their families with the process of social care needs assessments.

Students provided assistance with an analysis of the survey run by Cerebra on ‘parent carers’ experiences of ‘child in need’ assessments for disabled children as well as searching for local assessment protocols on local authorities’ websites.

At the end of the training sessions, students have been asked to provide their feedback on the programme by completing a short survey:

  • 100% of respondents stated that taking part on the programme had improved their research skills as well as their understanding of disability law;
  • 100% of respondents stated that the training prepared them for the project;
  • 92.2% of respondents stated that they felt they made a contribution to a worthwhile project.

In addition, our students particularly felt moved by the experiences of the Mums of disabled children, and other guest speakers (including from NGOs and the media), who kindly spoke to them. One student commented:

“Hearing from all the guest speakers, especially parents, was so helpful in understanding just how many layers of hardships are faced by parents of children with disabilities/special needs. These people are among the most deserving and disadvantaged in society, yet they are routinely discredited, ignored, and denied support by their local authorities. Knowing that this research will not only help bring about justice for parents of children with disabilities but ensure that current and future families are able to access social care services to which they are legally entitled, is beyond rewarding.

We are most grateful to our brilliant students and wish them all the success in their future careers! We also hope that taking part in our research will have inspired them to think about how they can contribute further to the fight for the rights of those who deserve social justice.

Student Group Photo
Student Group Photo,
University of Leeds School of Law.

2 thoughts on “Law Students Investigate Social Needs Assessments”

  1. I’ve just read the wonderful comment by the student ,being a mum of a chronically ill autistic 16yr old, and working for social services for 26yrs the words are very poignant. The life long lessons we all endure are very difficult at times but very rewarding thankfully aswell .My Son was a very happy storyteller fun loving little chappie but due to the lack of services /nhs understanding , he now has a diagnosis of PTSD ,low self esteem, high anxiety and Depression .Covid has effected everyone over the last year but welcome to my sons world for the last 5yrs being affraid of dieing ,having just his family to care for his every need ,no education and little understanding from some authorities, we even had no treatment for him under the hospital he had his kidney transplant it was there way or No way !! Which has been very scary as we didn’t feel we trusted them with his overall well being .So it felt like they wiped there hands of his after care ,he’s had sepsis , and his lungs were full of fluid and we had to resort to the peadreactic local hospital and thankgodness they were kind , patient and most of all they listened to our son and he’s started building bridges and started to cope a little with his drs !!These children don’t have a voice in these medical situations and his words to the phsycologist were “They made me feel like a nothing “I can repeat what he said now without breaking down .I’m his mum and have struggled for yrs with what I’ve seen, and been so affraid for his life!! I’ve told his social worker various professionals around the table I feel like I’ve abused my son, because I was supposed to protect him and I lost him mentally and nearly physically several times one being when he was given a huge dose of steroids and he had a huge internal bleed and the renal team new he had esophageal varices that he was known to bleed internally, I questioned could they have asked the liver team for advice! I was told buy his liver dr he could have been given a medication called sucrafate.we were so traumatised ,my son nearly died he was pumping up blood it was horrendous !! Then his notes went missing to add to this already horrendous situation! we could have never imagined subjecting him to anything so appalling
    he started fearing for his life as we did ,he was isolated in a room for mths and mths no access to family, being 120 miles there and back !! he had dark moods they were sedating him for most procedures it was awful they put a sign on the door saying he could be violent it was only there a couple of days its illegal to have a little boys information for all to see on a door !!but it was for whole ward to see he had never had a violent episode in his life before he was a good boy in school everyones friend !! he was fighting for his life he was petrified he was going to die The phsycologist explained this to us ! I live with that everyday it haunts me how he was treated well and myself and poor husband only just having surgery himself .my Son asked the dr why has he never regained his health no answer!! But to my boy he was happy doing well in school he was eating drinking normally he said he could pee normally!!it was presumed by the professionals it would be the right thing to operate on him before he went into failure but first a 10hr opp to reconstruct his bladder using his appendix to make a mytrof channel through his navel so he could Catheterization he is hypertensive and he cant accept why we did this to him it hurts him ,hes had infection after infection his words why would you do that when I can wee normal he was devastated, he never went into failure between the 3mths we think hes kidney was no wear near failing stage and his mind and body weren’t in sync and he had the kidney transplant kidney off dad !! And he never recovered to his previous health state .never went back to school and now has saver mental health!! I have flash backs I struggle with myself that how could I have let this happen!! Because I was told by the professionals but they are only professionals in there own field. I got the local pediatrician on board during work up to transplant and the educational phsycologist to address concerns I was having the hospital were not treating him as an individual with learning disabilities heightened sensitivities Asd !!it was a vigorous protocol and they were brilliant with the kidney the first few days of transplant but my son started having dysphoria and they isolated us saying he had c dif he was in isolation for mths it was supposed to be 2wks and home !! 8,000 mile later over 12mths of extreme pressure making us feel guilty if we didnt get there everyday for bloods at 9am on the dot 60miles with a very poorly boy waiting 4 to 6hrs for blood results it was horrendous, the way they treated us .I had a cancer in scare having to have a hemithyrodectomy my husband was struggling to get my son to hospital and he was developing a bronchial infection and was mentally unrecognizable so it was agreed we could it was no longer right to treat him as a protocol but we were assured if at anytime we needed to reconsider they would be there for our son! and thankgod dr Rees a local pediatrician lung specialist saw our son and took on his overall care .we have tried to speak to the renal team but they ask why have we changes our mind we need there evidence our son is on a class A anti rejection drug which by the way his liver specialist changed a 2yrs ago our son had diarrhoea for 3yrs we have a letter sent to the renal team back in the early stages of transplant that liver patients don’t do well on a the anti rejection they had put our son on so 3yes later on finding this letter we auctioned it called for a meeting with liver & Renal drs and the liver dr changed one of his anti rejection drugs hes doing much better on ! And on that note actually our usually supplier has informed us Birmingham children have cancelled the prescription of anti rejection drugs now worrying times we only have 2wks and it isnt something our go can prescribe , our son is transitional and is waiting for kidney team in adults near where we live ! But where is the hand over from Birmingham we could be abusing our son this last 5yrs he has been forgotten about he now has his ASD diagnosis, a learning disability probably due to birthing difficulties we didn’t see him for 6hrs and he was on a ventilator for 3days and none of this being his fault .But why dose everything have to be a battle . So I would like to Thankyou for training these wonderful young ambitious ambassadors off the future hopefully go forward make a difference to these families that really need your help .
    Kind regards
    Hayley pugh
    Mum none paid care for my son

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