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Children with disabilities

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Children and young people with disabilities are a particularly vulnerable group in society. To reach their potential to make a positive contribution to society, children and young people with disabilities and their families need effective support from statutory health, education, social care and voluntary services at the appropriate stages of their lives. Current financial pressures and national policies call for a more integrated, joint agency approach to ensure the best use of resources in commissioning these services.

The needs of disabled children, young people, and their families are unique to them, often complex, and change over time. The challenge is to understand these needs and develop a system around them that is flexible enough to meet the needs of the person and their families. Some will have highly complex needs requiring multi-agency support across health, social services, and education – the most extreme example perhaps being those who are technology-dependent. Other children will require substantially less support, although nevertheless have a long-term disability.

Disabled children and young people are at greater risk of underachieving, are often excluded from the opportunities available to their non-disabled peers, and can experience greater poverty. These circumstances can lead to poor physical and mental health outcomes.

There are many dimensions of health, both mental and physical, including disabilities, short-term illness, milder longer-term conditions and short-term injuries. This broad spectrum of conditions means care must be taken when considering numbers affected by health issues and in associating these numbers with results identified in the literature. Throughout, as far as possible, the focus is on those who are disabled or experience limiting longstanding health conditions (LLSCs).

This report from the National Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network (ChiMat) brings together key data and information to help understand the demand, risk factors, provision and outcomes for services of a particular target population.

This includes:

  • appropriate evidence-based information on prevalence;
  • incidence and risk factors affecting the provision of healthcare services; and
  • relevant expenditures

ChiMat - Disability Needs Assessment: Children  pdf (292 KB)

Further information can be found on the CHIMAT website.