Children and young people with learning disabilities


photo: a very smiley young person is holding something oragne which is hanging from a blue tape.

DIY’s work with children and young people with learning disabilities makes a positive difference in the following key areas:

  • Health and well-being
  • Developing leadership skills and providing leadership experience
  • Developing creative and essential skills
  • Developing digital skills
  • Increasing access to creative opportunities
  • Supporting young people towards the workplace

DIY’s work with schools

DIY theatre has had a positive effect on our learners in Discovery this academic year; 5 young people who each have complex and additional needs. Through sensory stories this has given the learners a chance to practice engaging in social interactions with others and also provided sensory stimulation, increasing their self-esteem and confidence as it enables them to communicate when they do not have a voice”
Staff feedback to a recent project in Chatsworth Futures

We have established partnerships with a number of local special schools that enable us to bring creative opportunities to children and young people with learning disabilities from across Salford. The work we do is tailored to the requirements and aspirations of the partner schools and their students.
For example DIY has been working with a group of young people at Oakwood Academy, supporting them to achieve their Bronze Arts Awards. Meanwhile at Chatsworth Futures we have been promoting the school’s own theme of Community by making collaborative objects and developing a sensory story about a journey under and over the sea.

The pupils have significantly benefited from our links to develop performing arts at Oakwood…. we are very proud of the project to develop this key area of the school curriculum. From 2 years ago, engaging in the Performing Arts project that culminated in the amazing performance at the Lowry, to establishing a qualification pathway at Key Stage 4 to now, being able to lead this curriculum in house at school is brilliant! We could not have done this without you and your amazing team. Hoping our links can continue so that many more young people can benefit from the arts”
Staff feedback to a recent project in Oakwood Academy

Why not have a look at our Dec 23 news on our schools work: Lighting up young peoples’ faces

If you are interested in bringing DIY into your school please email us at


Gamechangers Emerging Leaders

photo: a young woman is sitting on a chair. She is wearing pink and pale blue matching trousers and top. She is leaning back, looking straight at the camer and smiling whilst holding her hands up pretending to take a photograph back at the person with the camera!

Gamechangers Emerging Leaders Group is an encouraging and friendly space where emerging leaders with lived experience of learning disability support one another to develop their facilitation and leadership skills in the arts. The group meets weekly during term time – Mondays, early evening.

Find out more: Gamechangers Emerging Leaders page

picture of a circus tent and ringmaster with flags "Circus Tricks"Circus Tricks

‘Circus Tricks!’ is an Animated Performance & Participatory Activity Pack aimed at children and young people with learning disabilities.

Created by our Passing the Baton* Young Leaders Group, this resource is freely available and can be enjoyed from home or the classroom. Find it: Circus Tricks Resource page

*Passing the Baton was a 3 year DIY programme which ended in 2022 – click to see the report

Arts Award

We offer the Arts Award Qualifications (Levels Explore – Gold) across our Youth Arts Programmes. Young people participate in a range of art forms, including Drama, Music & Circus which develop communication teamwork and collaboration skills.  Throughout the Arts Award journey participants reflect upon and develop their work; essential skills for further study & workplace opportunities.

In 2020, three young people achieved their Explore Arts Award with our Youth Drama Sessions – partially completing their portfolios whilst working remotely during Lockdown! Congratulations to Eve, Georgia & Shay! Each developed a Circus Inspired character, collaborated to write songs, make music & short improvised scenes. They worked with DIY members to learn about our performance piece ‘Patient 36’ and with professional circus company ‘Poppins Presents’.

In 2021, three Bronze Arts Awards were awarded. Visit our news page from the time to find out what Viv, Georgia and Lewis did to get their Bronze Arts Awards.

Viv said that what she liked best about the project was…

I really enjoyed thinking about images that could go with the song, and how the song conjured up lots of images in my head.”

Well done everyone!