Skip to content

Surgery Door
Search our Site
Tip: Try using OR to broaden your
search e.g: Cartilage or joints
.

Children

If your child is born with, or acquires, a disability it is vitally important that you get as much information as possible about its implications and prognosis. Not all doctors find it easy to talk openly and honestly to parents about their child’s disability and, at a time when they are trying to come to terms with the situation themselves, not all parents find the medical terminology easy to understand. Some people, therefore, find they get more positive emotional support from a voluntary organisation or group concerned with the child’s particular disability, or with disabled children in general, than they do from the medical profession, at least initially.

Independence

The great majority of children with disabilities grow up to be independent adults who hold jobs and form friendships, fall in love and have children if they choose to do so - in other words, they live a life as fulfilling and as varied as anyone else. But first they must be allowed to take risks and make choices like any child does, in order to learn the life skills that will see them through their future. Of course, certain additional precautions may need to be taken, especially in the early years, but these will generally be required as the result of a medical condition, rather than for social, environmental or intellectual reasons. 

Most children are quite conservative and don’t like being different from, or treated differently to, their peers - particularly if this has the effect of drawing attention to their disability. Your child might enjoy taking part in activities which enable him or her to mix on an equal basis with non-disabled children, for instance by joining the Guides or the Scouts, both of which have a policy of integration.

Siblings

Sometimes, non-disabled siblings may experience a certain amount of disruption to their lives, such as disturbed nights, and might also have to take a share in the responsibility for providing additional care. They may also experience feelings of isolation, resentment or guilt. As a result, they might benefit from extra attention being paid to them to compensate for what they perhaps perceive as being an unfair proportion of time and effort being devoted to their disabled brother or sister, and to be reassured that no fault rests with them, or anyone else, for their sibling’s disability.

Finance

Having a disabled child in the household can often result in additional expense, for example as they outgrow special equipment which then has to be replaced. Parents can receive the mobility and care components of Disability Living Allowance on behalf of their children, and may also be entitled to Invalid Care Allowance in their own right (see Social Security Benefits). In addition, The Family Fund Trust can provide grants for severely disabled children up to the age of 16 to help towards items for which there is no statutory assistance.

Further Information

Information relevant to disabled children can be obtained from most organisations concerned with specific disabilities, as well as from the Council for Disabled Children. Contact a Family has parent advisers available to offer advice and support as required. The Family Fund Trust produces a number of useful publications, including "After 16 - What’s New?". In Touch can help to find contacts for parents of children with rare conditions, and Parents at Work aims to support working parents of disabled children. See also Education and Training, and Personal Relationships.

Carers association

We are indebted to RADAR for providing the information for this section.