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Let us Learn too!

The Disabled Children’s Partnership carried out a survey of 1,084 parents and carers between November 2021 and January 2022. The results showed the lengths families have to go to in order to secure adequate support for their children. The Report (Let us Learn too) claims:

“The special educational needs and disabilities system (SEND) is extremely difficult for families to navigate and not at all transparent. Parents and carers spend inordinate amounts of time “fighting” the system and this has significant impact on their wellbeing and their financial situation.  Often families have to dip into or use up savings, give up jobs or take part-time work to devote enough time to “fighting” for the rights of their children.

This disproportionately impacts women, with a particular bias towards mothers with early years children who would like to return to employment, but feel they cannot due to the time, effort and resources required to ensure their child’s future is looked after.

The Government Code of Practice for disabled children states: “Our vision for children with special educational needs and disabilities is the same as for all children and young people – that they achieve well in their early years, at school and in college, and lead happy and fulfilled lives.”

When participants of the survey were asked how much money they have spent on therapy for their child:

  • 33% of respondents said they could not afford any
  • 26% said they have spent between £1,000 and £5,000
  • 11% said £5,000 to £10,000, with a number of families saying in excess of 20k.

When asked how much they had spent on professional reports and advice:

  • 33% of respondents said they could not afford private reports
  • Nearly half (48.5%) said they have spent between £1,000 and £5,000
  • 11% said they have spent more than £5,000 to £10,000
  • 6% said they have spent more than £10,000

 

A huge 61.24% said that it had led to lasting money worries.

Spending on services for special needs children and their families needs urgent attention.  At a time when parents should be supported, their attempts at fighting for help for their child are frustrated by a lack of provision, money and waiting lists of over 2 or 3 years.  The impact on the earning potential and mental health of the parents in these families is often devastating and long lasting.  These parents need to be better supported in order they can continue their careers if they so wish so that they can give their children a better life.