As we start enjoying more freedoms as pandemic restrictions ease, this isn’t going to be true for many disabled children and their families. My good friend Mark shares the findings from a recent report and the action we can take to help these families
As part of its ongoing research partnership with Pears Foundation, the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP) of which I’m a member, surveyed roughly 300 parents in June 2021 in our final survey as part of the series. I had the privilege of being one of those parents. The findings, released today, reveal that whilst the rest of the population has been able to enjoy additional freedoms as pandemic restrictions have eased, disabled children and their families are struggling to heal the pandemic and remain cut off from the rest of society. This blog post shares the report finding and action required to make a difference.
The findings: · Three quarters (71%) of disabled children have seen their progress managing their conditions reverse or regress due to the pandemic. · Disabled children, their parents and their siblings remain more isolated than the rest of the population, with 9 in 10 disabled children…
Have you ever felt led to change what you’re doing as a job, your role in church or something in your family life? These decisions aren’t always easy to make, especially if it’s something that you’ve done for many years. I believe, as a Christian, that if God has asked you to do it, he will be with you on the journey. About ten years ago God started me off on a change of course which would ultimately lead me to being an Inclusion Champion at the church we were at at the time. Here’s the story of those last ten years….
As a Mum to someone on the autistic spectrum, I have witnessed several meltdowns over the years. To onlookers these often look like temper tantrums. However, anyone who has either experienced a meltdown or supported someone through one, will know that they have nothing to do with having a temper tantrum. With both a meltdown and a temper tantrum there may be crying, shouting, screaming, kicking, biting, hitting, etc. So what is the difference between them? Let’s look at just five areas where they differ.
Today is the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week. As well as having physical health, we all have mental health too. Some people have good mental health, others have poor mental health and then there are people, like myself, who yo-yo between the two. My mental health is currently pretty good and I pray that it stays like that for the foreseeable future. It hasn’t always been like that though.
Anyone who has spoken to me for more than a few minutes will tell you that I’m pretty passionate about churches being accessible to disabled people and those with additional needs. But why do they need to be? Surely if they turn up each week, that’s enough, isn’t it? Personally, I don’t think it is. They may be turning up, but do they struggle to access the building and, once they’ve finally made it into the building are they able to access what is going on & understand it? Are they able to do more than just hand out the Bibles or make the drinks after the service? Are they talked to as friends or is it more of a case of being ignored? It’s estimated that 90% of disabled people don’t attend church and, to be fair, if I didn’t feel like I was being welcomed, I wouldn’t want to show up either.
Here in the UK, today is Mother’s Day – a fact I only became aware of just a few days ago! However, it will pass almost unnoticed in our house. Now, that isn’t down to my grown up children forgetting about it! Nor is it that I’m anti Mother’s Day – I have celebrated it in the past. However, in recent years I’ve preferred not to celebrate it. This post will hopefully explain why.
I was watching BBC Breakfast last week and they showed a report on difficulties getting employment at the moment due to the pandemic. They interviewed one lad who they described as having “ADHD and mild autism”. I have to admit that that description annoyed me…..a lot! Why? Well, you’re either autistic or you’re not! There’s not a mild version of autism, but each autistic person will have a variety of things that they struggle with. I assume that the lad probably has Aspergers, like my son. By saying that he had ‘mild autism’ it says that he doesn’t really have any struggles fitting into a neurotypical (non autistic) world, which I’m sure isn’t the case and that, like Kieran, he’s learnt strategies to cope.
One of my favourite characters in the Bible is Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter often did and said things before he’d properly thought about what might happen as a result. One of these times was just after Jesus had fed the 5,000 people. Jesus had sent the people away and had told the disciples to head over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee while he went off to pray. The Bible tells us that their boat was a long way from land and being pounded by the waves. The disciples then see a figure walking across the water and assume that it was a ghost. It was, of course, Jesus and he tells them that it’s him and not to be afraid. This is where Peter speaks, I assume without thinking too much. He says: “If it is you, tell me to come out to you on the water!”. When Jesus says “Come!”, I imagine Peter giving one almighty gulp, knowing that he’d have to do it or risk embarrassment in front of his friends. Peter does, of course, do it and, although he starts to sink when his attention is taken away from Jesus, I reckon he still felt pretty chuffed that he took the risk of getting out of the boat. Peter literally stepped out of his comfort zone!
Today would have been my Dad’s 89th Birthday. However, on 28th September 1980 he died from a heart attack, aged just 48. It was a Harvest Sunday at the Sunday School where I used to go. Mum and I had been out to distribute the harvest gifts to the older people on the estate where the church was. When we arrived home the dogs didn’t appear at the door to welcome us home like they usually did. We soon discovered my Dad lying on the bed. Both dogs were sitting on the floor, one dog by his head and one by his feet. It was as though they were guarding him. Mum phoned for an ambulance, although we both knew in our hearts that he was dead. That day, at the age of 13, I joined a club that I had no wish to be a member of, namely that of children who lose a parent before the age of 16.
Last Sunday started out pretty much like any other Sunday. My husband had got up and made me breakfast in bed – just one of many reasons I love him! Our son had also got up and made sure everything was ready for him to go to church to do sound for today’s service. After he had left, I got ready and then my husband and I also left for church.
As it was a lovely day we decided to walk the 3 miles to church. We were about halfway there when my phone rang. It was the church Worship Leader informing me that our son had had a seizure which had lasted about 3 minutes, that an ambulance had been called and asking if there was anything extra they could do to help. Another friend came to pick us up from where we were and we were soon at the church. Our son was lying on the floor with a paramedic by his side. Before we knew it , he was being put into the back of an ambulance. As he has Aspergers and is also needle phobic, I was given permission to go to hospital with him. On our way, I messaged a few friends to ask them to pray. Very soon, messages arrived assuring me that we were being prayed for.