Disability Matters: Changing the Landscape of Disability in the UK

Disability Matters logo


Disability Matters is a free and flexible learning resource to help those who work, volunteer or engage with disabled children and young people (from 0 to 25 years) and their families to support them as effectively as they can. It encompasses both physical and intellectual disabilities and is available as both online learning for individuals and face-to-face training for groups. The RCPCH is delighted to lead on Disability Matters for our consortium partners. 

We actively encourage College members to:

  • sign up and complete the relevant learning package;
  • promote this learning opportunity to colleagues, both clinical and non-clinical;
  • ask your organisation to adopt Disability Matters as the good practice learning resource on disability.
Register and access the e-learning

Quick links

Smiling young girl

Disability Matters in Britain 2016

Download Disability Matters in Britain 2016: Enablers and challenges to inclusion for disabled children, young people and their families report (iPDF, 4 MB)

Launched on 30 November 2016, this report offers practical, inspiring and down to earth examples of inclusion and a range of suggestions on how to ensure that disabled children and young people are meaningfully included in the health and education services, leisure opportunities, sport and everyday activities that we all take for granted.

Inspired by the United Nations global blueprint for disability action and its challenge to ‘leave no one behind`, Disability Matters asked young people and their parent carers about their experiences of inclusion. At the same time, educators, health professionals, community workers, volunteers, training providers and employers were asked how they ensure that disabled people are included in their service or community. This report reflects the views of the 10 young people, 123 parent carers of disabled children, young people and adults and 128 professionals and volunteers who responded to this ‘Call for Evidence’.

A lot of good and inclusive practice was celebrated by those who responded. Alongside this, frustration and disillusionment was expressed at the increasing barriers to meaningful inclusion brought about by austerity cuts in services as well as at the ‘shocking lack of can-do attitudes’.

From the simplest of adjustments to comprehensive approaches involving policy change and service redesign, the organisations profiled in this report have developed and delivered their commitment to inclusion in many different ways. They show us that inclusion is not a static two-dimensional concept but a multifaceted, dynamic and ever-changing landscape shaped in constant partnership with disabled people and their families.

The report encourages readers to challenge their attitudes and behaviours towards disability by accessing identified modules within the Disability Matters e-learning portal to support change at both a personal and organisational level to help disabled children and young people to achieve what matters to them.

To access this free online learning resource, please visit www.disabilitymatters.org.uk where you can register and find out more about the resources available to support individuals and organisations.

To contact the Disability Matters team, please email disability-learning@rcpch.ac.uk or call 0207 092 6112.

What is Disability Matters?

Launched in February 2015, Disability Matters seeks to address the barriers that make society disabling. These challenges are faced by those with either physical and/or intellectual disabilities.

Developed by disabled young people, parent carers and other experts, Disability Matters arranges individual modules into helpful bite-sized learning packages so that the training offered matches the needs of specific individuals, groups, organisations and sectors. It offers practical advice about supporting disabled children, young people and their families to achieve the outcomes that matter to them.

Why do we need Disability Matters?

Boy and his fatherDisabled children and young people (from 0 to 25 years) and their families face many barriers in their everyday lives; from social events and sports to accessing health services and coping at school, college or work.  To bring about the changes we think will make a positive, practical and lasting difference, we need to help those who work, volunteer or engage with disabled children and young people to gain confidence they need to be as effective as they can and want to be.

We believe that people across the UK are looking to change society for the better on disability. Disability Matters wants to make a significant contribution to the way in which the UK challenges current attitudes, fears and insecurities about disability. Disabled children and young people, their families, friends and other carers should receive the support they need on the issues that matter to them.

Learning packages for the paediatric workforce

The College has produced two packages specifically for paediatric trainees (Basic) and paediatricians (Advanced).

Girl on a net swingDisability Matters for the Paediatric Workforce (Basic):

  • Covers physical and intellectual disabilities
  • Highlights the importance of listening to young patients and their family
  • Provides a reminder of disability rights
  • Identifies challenges disabled people face and ways to overcome them in a person-centred way

Access this invaluable paediatric workforce (basic) resource

Disability Matters for the Paediatric Workforce (Advanced):

  • Builds on the learning from Disability Matters to the Paediatric Workforce (Basic)
  • Covers physical and intellectual disabilities
  • Looks at more advanced communication techniques, including:
    Button Images Artwork5.png- planning in advance for future care
    - consideration of complex conditions
    - transition
    - advocacy

Acess this invaluable paediatric workforce (advanced) resource

Top 10 benefits for learners

  1. Increased awareness and understanding of disability
  2. Confidence to tackle challenging situations positively by identifying and using creative problem solving skills and techniques
  3. Developed by disabled young people, family carers and other experts
  4. Credible, high quality learning resources to challenge and inspire
  5. Button Images Artwork16.pngSupported by a consortium of well-respected partner organisations
  6. Easy to use: with stand-alone modules that can be grouped for their relevance to you and your situation
  7. A range of real life case studies are used to inform your learning
  8. Flexible approach with online or face to face learning opportunities
  9. Free to register and learn
  10. Certificates can be printed as proof of completion


77% of learners say Disability Matters boosted their confidence.

86% of learners say Disability Matters was helpful or very helpful.


What learners have said about us since its launch

“Useful and interesting content. Well presented and easy to navigate.”

“Eye opening and empowering."

“It has made me consider how I should listen.”

“Made me think about my choice of words and helped increase confidence in asking and talking about conditions.”


“Excellent! This module shows that impairment doesn’t need to disable you.”

“I have never had the confidence to work with children with certain hidden disabilities because I didn’t have the knowledge or skills. These short e-learning sessions are very good and I can’t wait to do some more next week. Thank you for a wonderful resource.”

“Really useful to hear from young people and their families about their experiences.”


Young boyContact us and keep in touch

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