Disabled children ‘still not accepted’, says report


More than two-thirds of families with disabled children feel that their sons and daughters are not accepted by the local community, according to a new survey.
The charity Contact a Family, which surveyed 615 families for its What Makes My Family Stronger report, found almost 70 per cent were unhappy with the level of understanding and acceptance of disability in their community.
The online survey also found that more than 60 per cent of families did not feel that health, education and social care professionals listened to them, and almost half had no access to “vital” support such as childcare or short breaks.
Nearly three-quarters said access to play and leisure for disabled children was unsatisfactory.
And more than six in ten families said they didn’t feel valued by society.
The report also found that only “a tiny proportion” of families were receiving regular support from social services.
The report concluded that three barriers stood in the way of families leading ordinary lives: lack of services, attitudes towards disability and poor support from professionals.
Contact a Family called for a government campaign to raise awareness of the needs of families with disabled children; disability awareness training for everyone in a public-facing job, particularly in health and leisure services; and a stronger focus on teaching disability awareness in schools.
It also called for the government’s “much welcomed and significant” funding of short breaks to continue after 2011.
It said there was “still a long way to go” before there was a “consistent, sustainable” short breaks service, particularly for children with the most complex needs, and that more funding was needed from the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
And it called on the government to carry out a promised review of carers’ benefits – carers allowance is £50.55 a week – and launch a campaign to increase the take-up of disability living allowance, particularly focusing on minority ethnic families.