Thursday, 16 July 2009

We must make life simpler for parents of disabled children

David Cameron has pledged to provide parents of disabled children with support, trust and respect” and make the assessment process for them as pain-free and simple as possible.

In Austria, all the relevant specialists work together by coming into the home on the same day to make an assessment of the disabled child and give the family the support they need.

David stressed, in a speech to the Research Autism National Conference, “For the sake of these families’ sanity we are looking at the evidence and considering doing something similar in the UK, pulling professionals like doctors, paediatric nurses, physiotherapists and benefits specialists together in one team to act as a one-stop-shop for assessment and advice.”

In an article in het Independent, David earlier explained that, as a parent of a disabled child, he learned “five big lessons” that have had a direct impact on what he wants to do in government for those with disabilities and their families:

  • The importance of early intervention and help - which is why a Conservative Government will increase the number of health visitors
  • Life is difficult enough for parents with disabled children without making them jump through hundreds of government hoops
  • It must be easier for parents to get the right education for children
  • Like all other carers, parents need a break
  • More power and control should be put right into the hands of parents, carers or those with disabilities, through, for example, personal budgets and direct payments

David underlined the importance of supporting parents of disabled children, stressing:

“Just consider what it would mean if the army of parents and carers in this country gave up, packed up, said they couldn't cope any more. The financial cost of looking after those children would be immense – and the emotional cost doesn't bear thinking about.”

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