Dealing with disability

Discovering that your child has a special need or disability will be devastating for parents. This page discusses dealing with this and offers resources for parents.

Discovering that your child has a special need or disability is probably one of the most devastating experiences that a parent will live through. The feeling of isolation – both physically and emotionally – can often be acute. However, in time it will be found that some of the pain can be relieved by sharing thoughts and fears with other families in a similar situation.

Although brain damage is not reversible, it is true that much progress is possible. Parents must remember that their child has the capacity to grow and change, and that he or she must be given room to do so. Treatment options should be discussed and when a decision is reached it can hopefully be supported by all members of the family. It is very important that a sense of balance be reached and maintained by the family as soon as possible.

Advice on Children’s care services can be found by visiting Contact’s website. The information provided explains what social care is, how to gain access to services, and much more.

Local authorities have a legal responsibility to help families with disabled children. Many children have additional needs and disabilities, and some are more severely affected than others. Some disabled children and their parents will need practical support both inside the home and outside it. For further information, please refer to Citizens Advice website about looking after people and Local authority services for children in need.

Also, there is guidance available for obtaining help with education. For more information, refer to Contact’s website offering information about Special education needs. In 2014 the Children and Families Act came into force. The law extended the Special educational needs to young people up to the age of 25. It also brought in Education, Health and Care plans to replace statements.

Further information can be found by consulting our page on disabled children’s services to view a list of the guides and supplementary pamphlets that are published by Contact and Citizens Advice.

Many voluntary organisations also exist to support families in their search for information and service provision.

Date of next review: December 2021