The United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (1989) , ratified by UK government in 1990, sets out internationally agreed standards as to the basic rights of children. Of particular significance is Article 12 that states that every child has the right to participate in decision-making matters that affect their own lives. The 2008 concluding observations from the UN regarding the Convention on the Rights of the Child expressed concern that insufficient action had been taken in the UK to ensure that the participation rights enshrined in Article 12 had been delivered for disabled children.
The UK is also a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006 although as yet it has not ratified it. This international convention states that disabled children and young people should have access to the same rights and freedoms as all children, with particular reference to ensuring they have the right to express their views on all issues which affect them and the right to be provided with the appropriate support to enable them to do so (Article 7).
This is supported by Article 21 which states that to enable disabled people to exercise their right to freedom of expression, they have the right to give and receive information using a range of formats, including assistive and augmentative communication. It also states that information provided to the general public should be made available to disabled people in a range of appropriate formats.