On 14 May, the Disabled Children's Partnership published the findings of the third survey of its “Parent Panel” on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their families. The report reveals that, despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, a high proportion of disabled children and their families are still experiencing severe levels of social isolation. Although there has been some improvement for families in terms of accessing support via school or the health service, the difference between current and pre-pandemic levels of support is vast. More than half of families are unable to access therapies vital for their disability. Sixty percent are experiencing delays and challenges with accessing the health service appointments they need. These figures in isolation are concerning, but to an even greater extent alarming when considered in context. A large proportion of families with disabled children have multiple diagnosis culminating in multiple appointments with a variety of services.
Lack of support and its impact on parents’ mental wellbeing has been well documented in our two previous survey reports. This survey confirms that anxiety, stress and mental wellbeing levels experienced by our panel are significantly worse than the general population. Consecutive surveys demonstrate that this is an ongoing problem for families rather than a short-term response to the events of the pandemic. The lack of access to multiple services across education and health has been detrimental to the mental health of parents as carers, with their disabled children and wider family persistently isolated. Disabled children and their families are at risk of developing additional long-term health problems, ultimately culminating in adverse outcomes for their future goals and aspirations.
You can read the full report here.