Get the best start in life
Every child and teenager should be able to fulfil their potential and have the confidence to succeed as they grow up. But disabled children and their families face daily challenges that make life harder.
We are ensuring disabled children and their families can access the support and information they need, when they need it.
Our family services supported 10,706 disabled families. Our support included:
- emotional support for parents
- child sleep services
- family activities
Parents Connect is a support programme for parents and carers of young disabled children. Our workshops cover a range of issues such as dealing with diagnosis, benefits for families of disabled children and SEND support in schools.
Our Parents Connect service has supported 417 families.
Parents Connect customer
What I learnt is really useful, not just to my child but it also helped me a lot as a parent to be empowered, prepared and motivated to do far better in caring my child.
1,531 parents and carers received emotional support through our Navigate service.
Navigate is a national online mentoring service. It provides emotional support for parents and carers of disabled children who are learning about their child’s needs.
I felt listened to and understood. The advisor gave me realistic goals that were achievable, and this boosted my confidence. I came away from my sessions feeling positive about myself and my parenting. I recognise that my situation is tricky but I am doing ok!
We provided 3,268 families with tailored support to improve their child's sleep.
Sleep Right is a free support service, that helps parents and carers of disabled children to improve their child's sleep. Our sleep practitioners provide families with tailored sleep plans and practical advice via face to face and online sessions.
Heather and James' story
Heather's son James has autism and Global Development Delay. In the build up to Christmas 2021, James started to develop problems with his sleep.
Christmas was really, really distressing for James. The disturbed sleep was impacting his behaviour as well. It was making it more difficult for him to cope with situations. I wanted to cry all the time because I was so tired. When everyone is not getting enough sleep, it has such a massive impact on family life. I was at breaking point. Since using Sleep Right, life has been 100 times better. Sleep Right positively impacted my whole family. I can function so much better now. If you can function better, that makes you a better parent, because you've got more patience. I recommend this service to anyone who needs it.
Inclusive Activity Award
This award helps activity providers follow best practice in every aspect of their service. And gives parents and carers the confidence they need when choosing short breaks and activities for their children.
In the last 4 years:
- 1,176 families were supported with information and advice.
- 377 disabled children were supported to access a mainstream activity of their choice.
- 330 activity providers were supported to improve the inclusivity of their play and leisure activities.
The process has been super insightful, and the team feels more confident in our understanding and approaches to various aspects of inclusion.
Let's Play Fair campaign
Every child should have an equal right to play. However, half of families with disabled children we surveyed said they face accessibility problems with their local playground.
Our Let’s play Fair campaign calls for local authorities to work with families to create free, local authority-owned inclusive playgrounds. So that every disabled child can be themselves and form memories that last a lifetime.
- 31,236 people signed our open letter calling for the Government to create an inclusive playgrounds fund.
- 601 people contacted their MPs about the campaign.
Thanks to successful campaigning, the Government has included a proposal in its Disability Action Plan supporting our recommendation that local authorities make sure the playgrounds they build or refurbish are accessible for disabled children.
We’ve also produced The Playbook, a document for local decision-makers and Councillors, to show why inclusivity matters and what an accessible, inclusive playground can look like.
The Disabled Children's Partnership
We’re proud to be one of 60 charities in the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP). This major coalition of 100 organisations campaigns for improved health and social care for disabled children.
As a member of the DCP we called for the government to appoint the first ever Minister for Disabled Children and Families, dedicated to improving policies, services and funding.
40,000 people signed our ‘Now is the time’ petition that was delivered to Downing Street, calling for proper funding and support for families with disabled children right from the moment of diagnosis.
As a member of the DCP, we called on the government to fill the health and social care funding gap for disabled children.
In 2021 we led on this new piece of research showing that the funding gap for disabled children’s health and social care is £2.1 billion.
In February 2022 the Government announced a £30 million fund for short breaks for disabled children – a great win for the campaign.