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Involve, Engage, Inspire 2023

Deaf young people and decision-making

Photo: Involve, Engage, Inspire. Our 2023 online conference was aimed at educational professionals working with deaf children and young people and focused on participation and decision-making.

Our 2023 conference brought together deaf young people, expert leaders and practitioners to highlight ideas for empowering deaf young people to take greater control of their lives and the support they receive.

Conference overview

Involve, Engage, Inspire was designed for educational professionals working with deaf children and young people aged 10 to 25. The event shared ideas and skills to enable professionals to shape future practice in deaf young people's participation in decision-making.  

The event focused around three key themes:

  • Gathering the views of deaf children and young people.
  • Building deaf young people’s confidence in making decisions about their education.
  • Real-life examples of co-production between deaf children and young people and education professionals.

The conference was fully co-produced with deaf young people — they worked closely with professionals to shape the content and shared their own experiences of being in education. 

Catch up on keynote speeches

Dame Christine Lenehan, DBE

Director of the Council for Disabled Children

Christine began her career as a social worker in 1980. In 2000 she joined the Council for Disabled Children. In 2022 she carried out Government Reviews into the treatment of children with significant needs and the experiences and outcomes of children and young people in residential special schools and colleges.

In 2009 Christine was awarded an OBE for services for disabled children and young people and in 2013 she was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. In 2016 she was awarded a damehood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in recognition of her outstanding work for disabled children and young people spanning over 35 years.

Christine talked about the small things professionals can do to embed participation, with a focus on small stepping stones that organisations can take to build participation into their culture.

Catch up on Christine's presentation:

Christine's discussion about co-creation with young people was captured in this downloadable infographic (PDF). 

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Rosie Eggleston

Participation Manager, National Deaf Children’s Society

Rosie joined the National Deaf Children’s Society in 2017; she has worked in participation with children and young people in various settings for 10 years. She is passionate about ensuring deaf children and young people’s voices influence decision making, service planning and delivery. 

Kirsty Reed

Young person

Kirsty (19) is a student at University. She has been involved in a variety of participation projects with the National Deaf Children’s Society and has created recommendations for NHS mental health services. Kirsty uses speech and British Sign language (BSL) to communicate. 

Rosie and Kirsty discussed building a culture of co-production. They shared their own experiences as well as practical tips and approaches for adopting participation practices in education.

Catch up on Rosie and Kirsty's presentation:

This downloadable infographic (PDF) summarises Kirsty's and Rosie's tips for co-producing with young people. 

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This event was funded by the #iwill Fund. The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to a £66 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.