Research suggests that disabled children* are 3.8 times more likely to be neglected than non-disabled peers (Sullivan and Knutson, 2000). In this blog we will explore some of the reasons for this, and what educators can do to further protect disabled children from neglect. For more information, please have a look at our Neglect webpage and sign up for our Introduction to Neglect and Neglect and Disabled Children training courses.
*The term ‘disabled child/ren’ is used for all children who have significant problems with communication, comprehension, vision, hearing or physical functioning, in line with the ‘Social Model of Disability’.
Do disabled children have the same care needs as non-disabled children?
In a nutshell, yes. Disabled children still have the same needs, but they may have different ways in which their needs must be met. For example, a child who needs more supervision to keep them safe when out in public, or a child who needs a specialised diet to meet their nutritional needs, or a child who requires a particular communication method to meet their needs for stimulation and engagement. So, when it comes to identifying neglect, professionals need to have a very strong understanding of each individual child and how their needs must be met.
Why are disabled children more likely to experience neglect?
The higher prevalence of neglect experienced by disabled children can be explained in various ways (come to our Neglect and Disabled Children training course to learn more), but this blog will explore 3 in particular:
What can we do?
Support from LGfL: