On Monday, for the first time MPs are debating the Children and Families Bill – this is the biggest chance to improve support for disabled children in 30 years. For the 700,000 disabled children across the country, it could be a day full of anticipation.
But the reality for these children is that the Bill is bitterly disappointing. The proposed changes will make little difference to thousands of families, or ease the pressure on parents seeking support for their disabled children.
I spoke to Heidi last week, whose daughter has Down’s Syndrome. Like many parents, she feels let down by such a wasted opportunity. She said the Government don’t understand just how “time-intensive and emotionally draining” it is to be the parent of a disabled child.
“You feel like you’re continually battling to get services and support, just to try and get your child to be part of society.”
Heidi worries that her daughter is very socially isolated. Even the support she does get, like speech and language therapy, is under threat. Heidi has to fight to ensure her daughter keeps even this basic support. And shockingly, therapists are put under pressure by local councils to tell parents that their children don’t need their support.
We know Heidi is not alone. Every day, we speak to parents who tell us of an on-going battle and the constant feeling that their child’s needs are less important than council budgets. Sharon, whose son has Asperger’s, feels the current system is “impossibly difficult”.
For Mums like Heidi and Sharon, and their children, we must make the Government see how important support for disabled children is.
Michael Gove MP is the Secretary of State for Education, it’s his responsibility and he can’t ignore families with disabled children any more – so let’s get his attention!
Join us and tweet using the hashtag #GoveUsABreak. Share a personal experience if you have one, or just say how you feel about families with disabled children being neglected, and encourage your friends to do the same.
Here are a couple of examples:
‘You win one battle, then onto the next. It’s never-ending.’ Disabled children’s families need Children&FamiliesBill to do more #GoveUsABreak
I’m stunned at how tough it can be for parents of disabled children. Why doesn’t the Children&Families Bill do more? #GoveUsABreak
We must tell Michael Gove to do something now for families with disabled children. Join us and together we can show the Government that they must give families with disabled children a break.
If you’re not already part of our Thunderclap action – please join now! On Monday we can make sure MPs know how valuable local support is for disabled children.