Families with disabled children feel that they are not listened to by professionals and not accepted by society, according to a Contact a Family survey published today.
The charity's study of 615 families across the UK found over 60% did not feel listened to by families while almost 70% said the understanding and acceptance of disability from their community was poor or unsatisfactory.
Despite the government's Aiming High for Disabled Children programme to increase the provision of services including short breaks in England, the survey found vital support services were unavailable to almost half the families.
Not valued as carers
The survey also found that half of families said their opportunities to enjoy play and leisure with their children were poor or unsatisfactory, while over 60% said they did not feel valued by society in their role as carers.
Srabani Sen, Contact a Family's chief executive, said: "It is shocking that in the UK today, attitudes towards disabled children, from professionals and members of the public, are among the barriers preventing families from leading ordinary lives. Families with disabled children have enough challenges to overcome to secure the support they need without also having to cope with prejudice and ignorance."
The charity is calling for:-
- The government to invest in a UK-wide campaign to raise awareness of the needs of families with disabled children.
- Everyone working in a job that involves dealing with the public to receive disability equality training.
- The investment in short breaks - worth £370m for councils from 2008-11 - to be continued beyond 2011.
- The government to urgently review carers benefits and set a clear timetable for reform.