Disabled children missing out on play opportunities

A report by the national deaf-blind charity Sense has revealed the severe restrictions facing disabled children in accessing play.

Swing. Image: Pixabay
Swing. Image: Pixabay

It identifies failings at every level that result in disabled children missing out on play opportunities that are vital to their emotional, social and physical development. A lack of attention by government, insufficient funding at a local level and negative attitudes towards disabled children and their families are all barriers, according to the report.

It calls for urgent action to address these inequalities and to enable the Prime Minister to deliver on his recent call to improve the "life chances" of all children.

The report was launched in Parliament on 24 February. It follows a three-month public inquiry into the provision of play opportunities for disabled children aged 0-5 with multiple needs in England and Wales. Chaired by former secretary of state for education and employment Lord Blunkett, the inquiry was established in response to parents' concern that they had fewer opportunities to access play services and settings than families with non-disabled children.

Blunkett said: "We know that play is vitally important for children with multiple needs and their families, bringing a wide range of developmental and emotional benefits. However, our inquiry found that all too often the parents of children with multiple-needs point to barriers they face in accessing and enjoying play. It means that disabled children don't have the same chance to form friendships, and parents are prevented from taking a break from caring. Both disabled children and their parents are excluded from their own communities.

"I know that there is strong support across the political spectrum for addressing the findings of this report, and I look forward to working with colleagues from all parties to achieve real change for parents and families across the nation."

Sense deputy chief executive Richard Kramer said: "Play is critical in giving children the best start in life and improving outcomes for children and their families. The report makes clear, however, that where a child has multiple needs, the barriers they face to accessing play settings and activities are also multiplied.

"We hope that local and national policymakers, as well as play professionals, reflect on today's recommendations, and make the necessary changes that will make access to play a reality for all children."

Sense will use the inquiry findings to campaign for changes to the way play services are designed and delivered and plans to produce a series of toolkits for parents, providers and commissioners of play.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

IoG Saltex 2016 - show preview

This year's Saltex will be looking to build on the success of last year by packing in a multitude of exhibitors and sessions over the two days, Sally Drury reports.



These tidy evergreen trees are not just for Christmas and come in a range of shapes and sizes, writes Miranda Kimberley.

Tree lifting, moving  and planting

Tree lifting, moving and planting

Successful relocations can see even big trees flourish while costing less than buying new stock, says Sally Drury.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Landscape Contracts & Tenders

Industry Data

New: We have pooled the wealth of data from the past six months' worth of Landscape Project Leads to create an exclusive report for subscribers looking at the key development trends, clients and locations for 2016.