Being a parent is a tough job. With the added pressure of your child’s additional needs it can, at times, seem overwhelming, especially at this time of year. The schools are breaking up, everyone is tired and ready for a break and parents feel like it’s up to them to make it a good one.
If you need some support, advice or just someone to talk to, My Family, Our Needs guides you through some of the places to go when you, as a parent, need a helping hand.
The teenage and young adult years can be difficult for any parent without any added influence of additional needs. If you’re struggling with your situation or your child feels unsettled, their behaviour changes or they are finding it tough to manage their hormonal or body changes, there are a number of organisations you can talk to for support.
Don’t be afraid to look for and ask for support if you feel you need it. There are many organisations that can help, and they are often started by people in a similar situation themselves.
It’s also good to share your experiences with other parents of disabled children to help gain a sense of belonging and realise that you are not alone.
As well as emotionally, families can have trouble with their finances too, as it costs more on average to raise a disabled child because of additional items, such as equipment or clothing. Visit www.gov.uk/benefits-adviser or www.turn2us.org, as you and your family could be entitled to extra financial help through welfare benefits. Apply through Department for Work and Pensions (0800 882 200), or HM Revenue & Customs (0345 300 3900).
Who can help?
Family Fund is the UKs biggest provider of grants to low-income families who raise disabled and seriously ill young adults and children. Family Fund helps provide the essentials, such as washing machines, fridges and clothing. They also provide grants for family breaks, electronics and sensory toys. Read more about Family Fund here.
KIDS is a national charity who specialise in working with families of disabled children and young people in England, as well as the individuals themselves. They run specialist youth groups, short breaks, transition support, as well as Parent Partnership Services and training for parents. Visit the website for more information.
Contact a Family
National charity Contact a Family support the families of disabled children in the UK, regardless of their condition or disability. They are committed to ending poverty, disadvantage and isolation – things that often strike families of those with a disability. Offering support to over 34,000 families, Contact a Family offer a range of support and services to those in need. Find more information here.
Parents of Disabled Children Forum
Sometimes you can get the best advice from the people who experience it directly. Parents of Disabled Children Forum is an online place you can go to share your journey with other parents who wish to share and listen too. All members of the forum have concerns regarding their child’s upbringing in society, from education to services, respite and other issues. The forum is designed to bring families together for friendship, information and support. Visit the website here.
Scope is a one of the UKs leading disability charities that supports a quarter of a million disabled individuals and their families. You can call their helpline, Scope Response on 0808 800 3333 or email email@example.com. As well as this, they run Face 2 Face, a befriending service that is designed for parents of disabled children. Parents can talk to one another, offering the right kinds of support, both emotionally and practically and the schemes run all over the UK. Find more information here.
Special Kids in the UK
Special Kids in the UK is a member-based charity that brings people together by offering contact, friendship, information and support for families of young people and children with physical, learning and behavioural difficulties. Find more information here.
Closer to home
Sometimes, a chat with your partner, parents, family or friends may help you. In 2014, Parent Partnership Services evolved into Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Services. Each IAS Service provides similar support to the PPS, although the type of support and who is entitled to it has been significantly expanded. There should be an IAS Service in every local authority and they have a duty to provide information, advice and support to young disabled people, those with special educational needs (SEN) and their parents.
You are important
It is important to take care of yourself, so that you can support your child. You need to be healthy emotionally, physically and mentally. Plan some time into each day that is just for you, whether that’s watching your favourite TV show, reading a book or going for a walk. Half an hour’s break can make all the difference. Don’t forget your own needs and wants.
You can find help wherever you are – remember that you are not alone. If you have something in particular that you need to talk to somebody about, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our very best to point you in the right direction.