Intended for healthcare professionals


Families with disabled children

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 02 November 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:928
  1. Tricia Sloper, assistant director (,
  2. Bryony Beresford, senior research fellow
  1. Social Policy Research Unit, University of York, York YO10 5DD
  2. Social Policy Research Unit, University of York, York YO10 5DD

    Social and economic needs are high but remain largely unmet

    The profile of disabled children in the United Kingdom is changing. More disabled children and young people live in the UK than ever before (about 770 000 according to criteria defined in the Disability Discrimination Act), and the number of children with the most severe or complex needs—such as those with autistic spectrum conditions or with complex health and nursing needs—is also increasing. The needs of families with a disabled child, which involve input from professionals working in many different agencies, are often unmet. This situation will continue unless efforts are made within the opportunities provided by new child and health service policies and structures (such as the Common Assessment Framework for Children and Young People; to give families better support.

    Around 55% of families of disabled children live in poverty; they have been described as “the …

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