How are services reaching out, adapting and making a difference to children, young people and families during Covid-19?
Nicola Dean talks to ACT Safeguarding Young People lead Sarah Goff about how children and young people with learning disabilities, and their families, have managed during lockdown.
Families of children and young people with learning disabilities often struggle to get the support they need. The last few years have been particularly difficult, due to extensive cuts to essential services. So for many, Covid-19 and lockdown made an already-challenging situation much more difficult.
Sarah talks about how some children and young people with learning difficulties struggle with certain virus containment measures. For example, some rely on lip-reading to communicate. How are these young people supposed to communicate when we’re all told to wear masks? Sarah also worries about the children and young people with special caring needs who have returned home during lockdown. While it’s great that they’re back with their families, are they still getting the support they need?
And we must not forget that this situation can be challenging for the whole family. Sarah and Nicola talk about SIBS – the UK charity that supports brothers and sistersof disabled children and adults. You’ll find loads of useful resources on their website.
Listen and ACT
Sarah directly quotes some young people with disabilities who talked about their experiences of lockdown. But she urges everyone to remember that it’s one thing to listen to these voices. We also must act upon what they say. She also refers to the recent We Matter Too report, which looked at how young people with disabilities experience certain forms of abuse. You can learn more about this report here.
Finally, Sarah takes the time to praise how families have met the various challenges that Covid-19 and lockdown has posed. This is a theme she explored further in a recent blog. But she wants everyone to remember that this situation is not tenable. We must not assume that, just because a situation’s working now, it’ll work indefinitely. As the country gradually comes out of lockdown, these families will need all the support we can give.