Your Rights as a Disabled Young Person

Everyone has rights.  

As a young person under 18, there are specific rights that you are entitled to that are outlined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). 

What rights apply to me as a disabled person? 

As a disabled person, there is a section of the UNCRC called Article 23 which applies especially to you. 

Article 23 says that you have a right to: 

  • Live with dignity 
  • Get the care you need 
  • Develop as a person 

Let’s break these down! 

Live with dignity 

law called the Equality Act (2010) makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because they are disabled.  

This means you cannot be treated unfairly because you are disabled. This law applies to public services like school and doctors, banks and buses, but also to employers, landlords and the government itself. 

If you think you have been treated unfairly because of your disability, you could contact a disability rights organisation. These are groups of people who support people with disabilities in all kinds of ways. You can find one near you on the Disability Information Scotland directory 

You could also contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) who can help you decide what to do next. 

If someone commits a crime against you, like assault or harassment, because you are disabled, this is a hate crime. This means that they should receive a more serious sentence in court for their crime. If you have been bullied or threatened by someone because of your disability, this is also called a hate incident.  

Read more at the Disability Safety Hub, Citizens Advice Scotland, or Police Scotland. 

Call the police if you have been a victim of a crime. Dial 999 for emergencies. Dial 101 or go to your local police station if it is not an emergency. 

Get the care you need 

You are entitled to get the help you need to live a happy life. This should be provided at a reasonable cost to you and your family, or for free. 

The government will usually give you some money to help with the extra costs you might have as a disabled person. This money is often referred to as benefits or social security. Financial support for disabled people is now the responsibility of the Scottish Government, rather than the UK Government. 

There are a few different types of benefits. 

If you are under 16, your family or carers can claim Disability Living Allowance (or DLA) to help pay for some of the things that you need. If you are over 16 you should be able to claim Personal Independence Payments (or PIP) to help pay for things.  

Very soon, the Scottish Government are replacing DLA and PIP with the new Disability Assistance for Children and Young People (DACYP). This is for all young people up to the age of 18. You and your family should receive information about this transition. You can read more on the Scottish Government website. 

There are other benefits that might be available to your family too, check out our article on which benefits you can claim in Scotland.  

Disability Information Scotland also has info guides on a whole range of things, including benefits. 

In addition to these benefits, you can get cheaper train travel and may be able to get access to powered wheelchairs and scooters through the Motability charity.  

Get in touch with your Local Authority to find out about a concessionary bus travel pass too. The Family Fund can provide grants for equipment around the home that can help. Disability Information Scotland has guides on accessing home adaptations and other useful things that might help. 

Develop as a person 

Developing as a person includes lots of things, like learning and trying new things, making friends, finding a job, and exploring your culture.  

Education and learning 

  • You are legally entitled to additional learning support if you need it 
  • Your Education Authority will assess your needs and create a plan on how to support your learning and personal developmentThe Reach website suggests some types of support you could need 
  • You will be educated in mainstream schools unless it is better for your wellbeing and learning needs to attend a special school or a mixture of the two 
  • You have a right to have your opinion counted about your education. My Rights, My Say can help you to do this 
  • If you disagree with the support you are provided, you can speak to your school or college and even appeal the decision – Enquire has information on how to do this 
  • If you’re thinking of going to university, read this advice from the Complete University Guide 

Trying new things 

  • You can apply to Family Fund for money for activities and equipment  
  • The Transition Fund awards money to disabled young people 16+ to try new things and have new experiences 
  • Become involved in the disability community in Scotland through organisations like Disability Equality Scotland 
  • Join a youth club near you – these are usually run by Local Authorities or charities, so have a search for what’s near you.  
  • Look for volunteering opportunities on the Volunteer Scotland website  
  • Get active! Scottish Disability Sport has a list of suggestions, but you could find something at a local leisure centre or support group too 
  • Discover arts and culture – Euan’s Guide has reviews on places all over Scotland by disabled people 

Getting into work 

Check out more information about your rights.