Opportunity for parents voices to be heard during crisis
The University of York, is giving the parents of disabled children, and those with special educational needs, the opportunity to have their voices heard during the global coronavirus crisis.
A team of researchers at the university, led by Dr Umar Toseeb, Lecturer in Psychology in Education, is interested in how this group of children are feeling during this period of enforced isolation, and how parents would like to be supported.
“We’d like to invite parents or carers to complete a 10-15-minute online survey,” explained Dr Toseeb. “This will allow us to get a better understanding of children’s feelings and behaviours as disabled children, and those with special educational needs, are more likely to experience social and emotional difficulties compared to their able bodied peers.”
The current health crisis presents a particularly challenging situation for many disabled children. School closures, self-isolation, and the potential for a prolonged period of uncertainty may be extremely difficult for disabled children and their families.
“The primary aim of the research project is to understand whether and how children’s and parent’s feelings and behaviours change during the pandemic,” continued Dr Toseeb. “We also want to understand what factors predict these changes.”
During the survey parents will be asked a series of multiple choice questions about themselves, their family, and their child with a special educational need or disability. “There are no right or wrong answers,” said Dr Toseeb. “We just want respondents to answer as honestly as possible.”
Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, believes it is a challenging time for disabled children. As she explained: “Families with disabled children are feeling vulnerable and isolated and the increased burden placed on the NHS and social services means that support for disabled children will be adversely impacted for the foreseeable future.”
Mrs Beswick says that Caudwell Children is working relentlessly to continue providing a lifeline to thousands of disabled children and their families at this unprecedented time. She said: “During this public health crisis, when the needs of disabled children are increasing, not lessening, the charity is determined to give them even more support by raising as much funds as it can.”
However, the charity is facing a dramatic loss of income from their largely events and challenges based fundraising activity, following the government guidance restricting social gatherings, but Mrs Beswick say that the charity must continue delivering its services at a time when many disabled children are being adversely impacted.
In order to achieve this the charity has launched an ‘Emergency Appeal’ to ensure that disabled children can access the services that they need following the coronavirus crisis.
“I can guarantee that 100% of the funds raised will go to supporting disabled children,” continued Mrs Beswick. “Not one penny will go towards the administrative costs of the charity as they are covered by the charity’s largest benefactor.
“By donating to our emergency fundraising appeal you can help us to support the seven percent of children in the UK who are disabled, that’s 800,000 children.”
You can make a donation through Caudwell Children’s website here.
You can complete the University of York’s online survey here.