Half-day training event

Keeping Safe Online: Supporting children with additional needs or vulnerabilities

Traditional online safety education may not recognise that online risk is different for every child. How can we support vulnerable young people or children with additional needs to use digital technology safely?

At this half-day conference, we’ll delve into the benefits and disadvantages the digital world can bring to vulnerable young people; we’ll look at the links between offline vulnerability and online risk; and with a particular focus on learning difficulties and autism, we’ll explore the available research and materials available to support education practitioners.

Delegates attending this training will:

  • Be up to date regarding the impact of technology in children’s lives and key research regarding offline vulnerability and online risk
  • Be informed of available online safety educational resources for those working with vulnerable young people or those with additional needs
  • Have the opportunity to share best practice and contribute to roundtable discussions on the key messages and principles for supporting vulnerable children in digital safety – What further support and materials do educational practitioners need?


JESS MCBEATH, Online Safety Specialist, Lemon Tree Consulting
CHARLENE TAIT, Deputy CEO, Scottish Autism
DALJEET DAGON, Barnardo’s Scotland National Programme Manager for Child Sexual Exploitation
KIRSTY MACMILLAN, PhD candidate at Heriot-Watt University, researching online safety in autistic children
There is increasing awareness that not every child and young person has an equal and equivalent experience online. Online risk is not the same for every child. We are improving our understanding of the disadvantages some young people face due to a lack of digital access (Switched On). We are also learning about the online experiences of children with vulnerabilities such as being a carer, having a disability or a special educational need – recent research demonstrates a relationship between such ‘offline’ vulnerabilities and online risk (Vulnerable Children in a Digital World).

This event will explore the impact of technology in children’s lives, and how offline risk plays out online. We will look at the latest research, particularly regarding the online risks to young people with learning difficulties or autism. With reference to existing educational materials, attendees will have the opportunity to contribute to a round table discussion about the key messages and principles that would be helpful for educators, and what further support and materials that practitioners need.


Registration and arrival refreshments

Session One – Vulnerable children online: what we know

Chair’s Welcome and Introduction
Charlene Tait, Deputy CEO, Scottish Autism

Interactive session: Offline vulnerability and online risk

  • Young people’s use of technology
  • Recognising how offline vulnerability translates into online risk
  • Resources and sources of support for professionals

Jess McBeath, Online Safety Specialist, Lemon Tree Consulting

Tea and coffee break, opportunities for networking

Session Two – Providing young people with effective education, support and guidance

Learning difficulties and online sexual exploitation

  • The vulnerability of young people with learning disabilities to child sexual exploitation
  • What works – young people’s solutions

Daljeet Dagon, Barnardo’s Scotland National Programme Manager for Child Sexual Exploitation and
Children’s Services Manager, PACe, PCAS and Safer Choices

Autistic children online

  • Why autistic children use online devices
  • What online safety risks may be more prevalent for autistic children
  • Key points re screen time and parental apps in relation to online safety

Kirsty Macmillan, PhD candidate at Heriot-Watt University, researching online safety in autistic children

Opportunities for questions and discussion

Interactive session: “Education resources: fit for purpose?”
Roundtable discussions on the following key topics:

  • What key messages can we learn from this event?
  • Can we determine a suite of principles for supporting vulnerable children to be safe online?
  • In terms of both preventive education and responding to online safety incidents, can we identify and share best practice?
  • What support and materials do education practitioners need in future?

Chair’s Round-up and Closing Remarks

Jess McBeath, Online Safety Specialist, Lemon Tree Consulting
Jess McBeath specialises in online safety and digital citizenship within a Scottish context. She works with organisations that deliver services to children and young people to improve their knowledge, skills, policy and practice around online safety. Jess is a member of AACOSS (Association of Adult and Child Online Safety Specialists), a schools Online Safety Mark Assessor and CEOP Ambassador.

Jess has been awarded the NSPCC Childhood Champion Award as Schools Volunteer for Scotland 2018. Her career spans the public, private and voluntary sectors and she has a degree in Linguistics & Artificial Intelligence as well as an MBA.


Charlene Tait, Deputy CEO, Scottish Autism
Charlene Tait has worked in the field of autism for twenty nine years. In that time she has been engaged in direct practice and service development. She was lecturer and Course Director in Postgraduate Autism studies at the University of Strathclyde and has been involved in a number of national strategic initiatives.

Career highlights to date include being a co-author of The Autism Toolbox, a resource for Scottish Schools and the development of Right Click, an on line support programme for parents and carers. She is currently leading on the development of practice based research within Scottish Autism, an initiative that aims to build an evidence base related to an individualised, personalised approach to practice.

Her main areas of interest are in family support and enabling quality of life and quality lifestyles for people across the autism spectrum.

Daljeet Dagon, Barnardo’s Scotland National Programme Manager for Child Sexual Exploitation and
Children’s Services Manager, PACe, PCAS and Safer Choices

Daljeet has almost 25 years of direct practice and management experience working with children, young people and families affected by child sexual exploitation (CSE) and associated issues.

As well as managing CSE and intensive family support services, Daljeet provides strategic oversight of CSE for Barnardo’s Scotland. She has significant experience of designing and delivering training specifically for practitioners, communities and businesses in relation to CSE as well as participating in influencing, media and policy work in this area.

Kirsty Macmillan, PhD candidate at Heriot-Watt University, researching online safety in autistic children
Kirsty Macmillan is a PhD researcher at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Her work is concerned with online safety behaviours in autistic children. This research is focussed on whether autistic children experience particular online safety risks to different degrees compared with non-autistic children.

Kirsty is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and holds a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Children and Young People’s Mental Health. Outside of academia, she has worked as a practitioner with children and young people on the autism spectrum and other additional support needs. Kirsty’s recent work has been published in the Scotland on Sunday https://www.scotsman.com/news-2-15012/university-focuses-on-making-the-internet-safer-for-autistic-children-1-4831425?fbclid=IwAR3zthrV23hPbGDIsIeRnRNepZDDt77yN1bbfSsLGl3-tbrQ7iwWdwxVTw4

The early bird discount for this event ended on Friday 28 June 2019.

A group booking discount is available for this event. Book two delegates and get a third place at half-price. Offer valid until Friday 13 September 2019. To take advantage of this offer, just enter the discount code GROUP3 on the booking form.


Private sector rate
(Commercial organisations – Ltd, plc, LLP etc)

Public sector rate
(Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, NHS, police, universities and colleges etc.)

Third sector rate
(Charities, voluntary and community groups, tenant and patient groups, professional bodies, trade unions etc)

SPECIAL RATES (note: other promotional offers, including early bird discounts, are not valid with special rates)

Schools rate
Available to all attendees from schools

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Whitespace – Eventspace,
Norloch House,
36 King’s Stables Road,

Tel: +44 (0)131 625 5500


Norloch House is located at the foot of Edinburgh Castle.

By train
Edinburgh Waverley or Haymarket stations are both within walking distance (approximately 10-15 minutes) as well as having taxi ranks outside.

Walking from Waverley station:
Exit the station on to Princes Street. Heading towards the Castle, walk the length of Princes Street and at the end turn left on to Lothian Road. Continue along Lothian Road for approximately 150m, turn left in to King’s Stables Road and you’ll find us 50m along on the left. We are the first building you come to, set back from the road behind the black railings – you can’t miss us!

Walking from Haymarket station:
Exit the station and turn right on to Haymarket Terrace. Keeping to the righthand side of the road, continue walking along Atholl Place, past the West End tram stop at Coates Crescent and then along Shandwick Place (approximately 950m). At the junction of Princes Street and Lothian Road, turn right on to Lothian Road down the side of the Caledonian Hotel and continue for approximately 150m. At the first set of traffic lights cross the road on to King’s Stables Road and you’ll find us 50m along on the left. We are the first building you come to, set back from the road behind the black railings – you can’t miss us!

By car
If you’re coming by car the NCP Castle Terrace Car Park (EH1 2EW) is located opposite Norloch House. There are also a limited number of on-street pay-and-display spaces on King’s Stables Road itself.