‘And When did You Last See Your Father?’ Exploring the Views of Children with Learning Difficulties/Disabilities


  • Ann Lewis

Address for correspondence
Professor Ann Lewis
School of Education
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT
Tel: 121 414 4822
Email: a.lewis@bham.ac.uk


The Gulliford Lecture 2003 was given by Professor Ann Lewis of the School of Education at the University of Birmingham. Professor Lewis's lecture, on which this article is based, focused on the process of listening to the views of children and, in particular, children with learning difficulties. Following the near-universal ratification of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child, a plethora of recent initiatives, both in the UK and internationally, has encouraged professionals to access children's views about provision (educational, health-related, social and legal). A range of materials has been developed to support this process, often by, or in liaison with, children's charities. At the same time, research provides valuable insights into effective practice in exploring the views of children with learning difficulties. In this article, Ann Lewis reviews ten strategies for gathering the views of children and raises four challenges for the further development of policy and practice. She closes her argument with a call for greater rigour and critical evaluation in this crucial and demanding area.