Having to care for a child with a disability caused by an injury can make life more challenging. Daily parenting duties like feeding, toileting and ensuring a child goes to sleep, can prove much harder than normal. However, you are entitled to get help from your local authority because the responsibility lies with them when it comes to providing non-medical care services that your child requires. This may include providing specific equipment that would assist you and your child cope with daily living requirements.
What Care Services Are Available for Children With a Disability Caused By An Injury?
As mentioned above, it is the responsibility of your local authority to provide you with non-medical care services that your disabled child may need. This would include the following:
- Specialist equipment to assist in daily living requirements
- Home care
- Access to play schemes
- Respite care – so that you can take a break from caring for your disabled child
In order to get these services from a local authority, your child’s needs would need to be assessed, bearing in mind that both your needs and the needs of your loved ones would be factored into the assessment. Should you believe that the assessment does not meet your specific needs as your child’s carer, you have the right to request an assessment of your own individual carer needs.
Accidental Injuries to Children Statistics
The statistics in the UK relating to accidental injuries to children are considered a major health concern. Accidental injuries to children over the age of one are among some of the more common causes of fatalities with many thousands of children suffering permanent disability or disfigurement as a result of being the victim of an accidental injury.
Every year over 2 million children who are under 15 years of age are involved in or around some kind of accident in the home that results in them being taken to hospital Accident and Emergency units. It is worth noting that many other children who suffer accidental injuries are treated by their own doctors as well as their parents or carers. Studies have established that an average of 62 children who are under 5 years old, died because they were involved in an accident and that more than 76,000 children who were under 14 years of age are admitted to hospital for treatment.
Research has also shown that the children most at risk of being injured in an accident in the home are between 0 and 4 years old with falls accounting for most of the non-fatal injuries a child sustains. The highest fatalities being due to accidents that involve fire.
Traumatic Brain Injuries That Result in Disabilities in Children
Children who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the most common causes of some kind of acquired disability. Even when a child suffers a concussion, it can lead to them suffering from a disability with many children under the age of 18 being at risk.
Getting the Right Support Following a Disability Diagnosis in a Child
It can be devastating for a parent when a child is involved in an accident that leaves them with a disability due to the injuries they sustained. As such, it is important and reassuring to know that support can be found from other parents who have been through the same kind of traumatic experience with their children.
There are many support organisations throughout the UK where you can find advice and support when you need it the most which includes the following:
- Bliss – is a charity that provides support and advice to people whose babies are in special care
- Local council – can provide information regarding parent carer groups local to where you live
- Carers Direct – provides advice to parent carers
- Contact – is a charity that provides information and advice to families with disabled children
If your own GP’s surgery runs a carers register, you can request that your name be added to it. When your own doctor knows that you are a carer, it means they are able to keep watch on your own health and well-being. Your doctor can also offer crucial advice on which local organisations as well as carer services are available that both you and your child may benefit from.
Understanding Your Child’s Medical Needs Following an Accident That Results in Disability
When it comes to your child’s healthcare and medical needs, it is the responsibility of the NHS health service in your area to cater for them. This would include the following which would typically be provided free of charge:
- Special beds
- Bed equipment
- Aids to assist with incontinence, hearing or mobility
Should your child require regular treatment at home, you may find that support would be provided by community children’s nurses who could also assist you with any treatment your child may need, examples being as follows:
- Administering injections
- Administering oxygen
It is also worth noting that a child could also receive what is referred to as a “continuing care package” if their needs cannot be met by specialist or universal services alone. Should this be the case, you would have the right to receive a “personal health budget” which allows all concerned to have more control over a child’s care.
Feeding a Disabled Child Caused By an Injury
When a child suffers an injury that leaves them with a disability, it can often mean they may have difficulty eating which could be for a variety of reasons. This could include the following:
- They experience physical issues which as a result makes it hard for a child to chew, swallow, suck and/or digest specific foods
- A child’s mobility may be limited which as a consequence makes it harder to sit up, eat or to drink
- They have a learning disability
It is important to note that it may take longer for a child to be able to feed themselves without assistance. However, being able to develop the necessary skills to do so can help them in many other ways. This includes with language and speech development as well as co-ordination. A health visitor would be in the best position to offer essential advice on feeding and weaning a baby or child who as a result of being injured in an accident suffers a disability.
As your disabled child matures, you could ask your GP or a health visitor to refer you to a specialist/consultant which could include the following:
- An occupational therapist who would be able to provide essential advice on what aids may assist your child – this could include things like special cups, plates, bowls and adapted cutlery as well as non-slip mats
- A speech and language therapist who would be able to assist with physical problems your child might be experiencing which could includes things like chewing and swallowing
- A dietitian who would provide essential advice on your child’s diet
- A physiotherapist who would provide valuable advice on things like making sure your child is sitting in a good position when eating
Should your child’s disability mean they have to be fed through a tube, the support group PINNIT – Patients on Intravenous and Naso-gastric and Nutrition Therapy would be able to offer essential advice and support.
Having to cope with a child with disabilities can negatively impact your own health and well-being and knowing that you can reach out to support groups and charities helps you feel less isolated. If you search for emotional support for carers in your area, it is another route to finding the sort of support and advice you need when caring for a child who was injured in an accident which resulted in them being disabled.
Getting Help With a Disabled Child Who Has Difficulty Sleeping
Very often a child who has a disability has issues sleeping which could be as a result of a variety of things. This includes the following:
- They experience muscle spasms
- They have difficulty breathing
If your child has learning disabilities, they may not understand when and why they have to go to sleep. If you find that your own sleep pattern is constantly being interrupted, you could ask social services to assess your carer’s circumstances because they may provide short breaks for you so that you are able to recharge your batteries by getting some undisturbed sleep. You can also find a lot of useful information about helping your child sleep here.
If your child requires constant care and attention during the night because they have problems sleeping, they may qualify for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). You can also get support and advice from support groups as well as other organisation like Scope if your child experiences issues sleeping.
Getting Help and Support Potty Training a Child With a Disability
Most children display signs they are ready to learn how to use a toilet when they are between the ages of 2 or 3. However, should your child have been injured and as a consequence suffers some type of disability, they may not be ready to learn to use the toilet until they are a lot older or sometimes it is not possible at all which could be for any of the following reasons:
- They have learning disabilities
- They face physical challenges which could include impaired mobility or impaired movement skills and/or muscle tone
Should your child not be able to use a toilet without assistance due to a health condition, they may need a permanent colostomy or ileostomy. If your child is unable to control their bladder and/or bowel, your doctor could refer them to a specialist. With this said, an occupational therapist would offer crucial advice on special potties and/or special toilet sets that could help your child.
An occupational therapist would be able to provide essential advice on adaptations to a bathroom that may also be helpful to a disabled child and they would be able to educate you on how to move and handle your child when they need to use the toilet.
It is also worth noting that a local health authority’s incontinence service could provide you with the following should you need them:
- Larger nappies
- Protection for bedding
If you are unable to get any of the above through your local authority, they would be able to inform you where the items can be purchased privately.
If your water use in the home is metered, and you are obliged to do a lot of laundry when caring for your disabled child, you may apply for a cap to be applied by the company that supplies your water under what is known as the WaterSure Scheme.
Getting Help and Support With Moving Around For a Disabled Child
You can ask your GP to refer you to a physiotherapist if you are worried about your child’s ability to move around. The physiotherapist would assess your child and offer essential advice on what type of mobility aids could be beneficial which could include the following:
- Walking aids – these can be loaned from a local hospital as well as a community health service
- Wheelchairs, adapted seating and buggies – these can be loaned from a local NHS wheelchair service
Whizz-Kidz is a charity that provides mobility equipment for children who are under the age of 18 that cannot be accessed through the NHS. The charity also provides essential wheelchair training skills.
Should your child receive a high rate mobility Disability Living Allowance, you could also apply for funds to buy a powered wheelchair or buggy through the Motability Scheme. You can also apply for the following if you care for a disabled child:
Blue Badge – for disabled parking if your child is 2 years old or they are older and they have a permanent disability that makes it hard for them to walk. You may be entitled to a Blue Badge if your child is under 2 years old and they need bulky medical equipment with them all of the time or they need to be near the car in case they are in need of emergency medical treatment.
If you care for a child who was involved in an accident that left them with a disability and would like more information on how to care for your ward, please click on the link provided below:
If you would like more information about the benefits you may be entitled to receive when caring for a disabled child, please follow the link provided below: