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 (UNCRCand the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). 

To find guidance on support and services, including information and advice on finance, housing, transitions, resources, support organisations, health and safety, online safety and education, visit the Scottish Government’s Supporting Disabled Children, Young People and their Families Information Website.

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 specifically 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. If you're in immediate dance call 999. If it is not urgent, call 101 or go to your local police station. 

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 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, 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 change. You can read more on the Scottish Government website. 

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

Disability Information Scotland also have 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 have 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 means: 

  • 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 development.  
  • The Reach website suggests some types of support you could need and provides information and advice about your rights to additional support for learning as well as other young people’s real-life stories. 
  • 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 – Reach have information on how to do this.
  • LEAD Scotland can provide advice and guidance on accessing learning opportunities.
  • If you are aged 14 to 25 and preparing to leave school you may be looking for advice on transitioning into further education, the world of work or generally the move into young adult life. For information, guidance and support, visit the Scottish Transitions Forum. 
  • If you’re thinking of going to university, take a look at the advice from the Complete University Guide.

Take a look at the different website and funds below to help you try 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 

If you're looking to get in to work, take a look at these different websites and opportunities:

Visit the Activate Your Rights homepage to find out more about your rights.