If you’re a parent or caregiver of a disabled child, there are several resources available to help support you. It’s important to know what you can access, to help you to give your child the best care possible.
Helpful resources include financial aid and benefits, government schemes, charities, council services and social groups. As well as finding practical tips and advice, there are also plenty of forums that allow carers and family members of disabled children to find new friends, interact with each other and exchange support.
This article lists some of the best resources available for parents and caregivers of disabled children.
Did you know?
If you care for a disabled child, the Motability Scheme could help – you can read our article to learn more.
Become familiar with your local council
Firstly, it’s worth contacting your local council and requesting a needs assessment from the social care team. They can help to guide you on the support available for the disabled child you care for. This could include some financial aid to help with everyday costs, at-home care, some home aids and adaptations, play schemes in the school holidays and even short break services.
Take a well-deserved break
Also known as ‘respite care’, there are some short-term services that can help you take a break from caring for a disabled child – for example, local clubs and activities for children with disabilities.
Your local council will be able to tell you what options are available in your area. There’s a postcode search on the Government website to help you find what support is available.
Accessibility support when out and about
If you don’t already have one, consider getting a Blue Badge to help you find accessible parking when you’re out and about. The scheme is there to help disabled people park nearer to venues so that they are able to go places more easily – and the badges are £10 in England, £20 in Scotland and free in Wales.
It could also be worth looking into the RADAR key scheme, too. This is a universal key that unlocks over 10,000 disabled toilets across the UK. They cost £5, but some councils and local authorities offer them for free.
Get help with extra costs
If your child is under 16 and meets all eligibility requirements, you could apply for the Government’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children. It can help with the extra costs of looking after a child. As of December 2022, the rate is between £24.45 and £156.90 a week – the amount awarded depends on the level of help the child needs.
You could also be eligible for Carer’s Allowance, which is up to £69.70 a week as of December 2022. This allowance is for someone who cares for a child for over 35 hours a week, where the child is in receipt of certain disability benefits – such as the middle or higher rate care component of DLA.
Enjoy worry-free motoring
If your child receives DLA, you could consider applying for the Motability Scheme on their behalf. The Motability Scheme provides worry-free access to a brand-new car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV), scooter or powered wheelchair, in exchange for your qualifying weekly mobility allowance.
With over 640,000 people across the UK already on the Scheme, it can be a great help in giving you and your child a greater sense of independence and freedom. You can find out more information here.
Have more choice and flexibility with a Personal Health Budget
With the agreement of your local NHS team, you may be able to agree upon a Personal Health Budget to access the support your child needs. This is essentially an opportunity to redirect spending, giving you more choice on how you wish money is spent when it comes to your disabled child’s care. Although this may not be the most suitable option for everyone, it can help some people by allowing them to personalise their care provisions.
Seek out social groups and forums
It goes without saying that as a carer, you also need to look after your own personal health and wellbeing. Talking to other parents of disabled children through online forums, Facebook groups, or in-person group activities can be reassuring. No two caring experiences are the same, but talking to someone who can relate can help to lighten the load and boost your confidence.
National disability healthcare charities like Scope, Carers UK and Bliss have forums for parents, as well as social media groups and podcasts to listen to. There’s also the opportunity to call a free confidential charity helpline if you need to talk, such as the one provided by Carers UK. The Contact charity also has some online resources to read and learn from, alongside a helpful chatbot service.
Take the time to talk
Lastly, it’s important to be open and honest. Talk to your family, friends and healthcare providers about how you’re feeling – and if you need it, ask them for support. There are some simple habits you can put in place to avoid ‘carer burnout’ by looking after your wellbeing – take a look at some of them here.
Interested in joining the Scheme?
The Motability Scheme offers an all-inclusive package. If you are in receive a qualifying mobility allowance you can use it to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. The Scheme provides flexible and hassle-free access to a brand-new, reliable vehicle of your choice.