Myth 2: if your child has a disability, you're given lots of easily accessible support

"When people get talking to me about my child and the support she needs and the support she doesn't get, they are always, pretty much without exception, astonished to hear the truth." Mumsnetter R3dh3d

It costs three times as much to raise a disabled child as it does a neurotypical or physically typical child. (Source: Paying to Care: The Costs of Childhood Disability, by Barbara Dobson and Sue Middleton)

"I think others see us as people who just take. It never occurs to them that they get too. They get schools fit for their kids, playgrounds their kids can access, after-school clubs so that they can have successful careers. They get so much more." (Source: Contact A Family)

  • All Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments (PIP) claimants complete a detailed claim form (55 pages long). Over half of all new DLA claims are denied. (Source: Hansard)

A 2012 survey of 2,312 families with disabled children across the UK showed:

  • One in six (17%) going without food
  • More than one in five (21%) going without heating
  • A quarter (26%) going without specialist equipment or adaptations
  • 86% going without leisure and days out (Source: Contact A Family)

"The NHS does not provide all the therapy that's needed. I have a child with cerebral palsy who cannot get hydrotherapy, as my county doesn't provide it; who cannot get enough physio, due to staff shortages; who cannot get splints for months after he has outgrown the last ones (again staff shortages). I spend 2-3 times as much on my son's condition as I get in DLA. The postcode lottery is alive and well in most medical and educational provision, and what you get does depend on when you live." Thereonthestair

"There's a postcode lottery. Specialists will recommend something, but that doesn't mean your local authority, school or hospital will provide it. I know several parents (including myself) who are having to move home to ensure that their child continues to receive the level of support they desperately need." proudmum

"I would like people to understand what it is like to fight for your child's legal entitlement. My son has been in five schools and he is only six years old. Two tribunals plus thousands of pounds in independent assessments and expert witness fees meant we had to sell our house (luckily we had a house to sell; many don't). Thousands of pounds of our own money to pay for therapy that was indicated but not provided. Local authorities not following national guidelines on the basis that they were only guidelines and not law. Giving up my career not to care for my child, but to do all the admin and paperwork necessary to secure him a safe environment in which to be educated." StarlightMckenzie

  • Over a third of teachers claim they have received no training for special educational needs, and 60% of primary teachers say they lack confidence to meet children's language needs. (Source: I CAN)

"It's a myth that schools have to cater for children with additional needs. If the needs aren't educational needs, it's purely voluntary. If your child has a physical disability which means they cannot attend school without support, the school can say 'no, find another school'." BerthaTheBogCleaner

"Statements of special education needs are not something that the LEA gives out readily. Parents have to fight for months for them. So next time you tell me that I'm really lucky to be able to just jump any school waiting list, think how you would feel to (a) have a child who is disabled enough to need one or (b) have to spend six months having a group of professionals send you almost daily reports pointing out, in great detail, what is wrong with your child. Then spend the next ten years fighting for these provisions. Then come back & tell me how lucky I am!" Proudmum74

"We spent a fortune on a legal case to get our visually impaired daughter a statement of SEN. We won but the stress was horrific and the process truly appalling." Rocket1

"One myth I'd like to tackle is how much training or experience the average class teacher gets in teaching children with SEN. Almost none - and that covers ALL SEN." StarlightMckenzie

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August 2013

Last updated: over 1 year ago