Beating isolation…by helping children make friends

Posted by / Thursday 23 June 2016 /
robert hero image

One of the biggest positive impacts for disabled children who attend our services is when it comes to their friendships.

Outcomes star

They’ll develop friends at the services they attend as well as improving the skills needed to form strong bonds.

Outcomes data (pictured right) for all our services for disabled children and young people shows the distance travelled in key areas including communications and social skills.

“Friends are a really important part of your life,” explains Clare Gent, Service Development Manager. “For some disabled children the only time they have social contact is when they’re on a short break with Action for Children. They’re quite often isolated.”

One of our strengths is in helping children make friends and learning the social skills that are critical. Whether it’s helping a child to learn to wave or sign hello or helping them play and share.

The outcomes star shows a whole array of interlinked outcomes. The measures include communications skills, managing behaviour, making sure views are heard and engagement with the local community, all of which have an effect on the improved social skills and friendship measure, which ultimately has an impact on emotional well-being.

“It clearly shows the baseline and average closure and when you look at all the skills, such as communication, there’s a good bit of distance travelled,” adds Clare.

"It’s so important for the children we support to manage behaviour, difficult feelings and importantly to make sure their views are heard."

Clare Gent, Service Development Manager

“There’s now massive investment England-wide in participation with disabled children – there’s a national programme around that and here we have some great data that shows how Action for Children makes a difference.”

She concludes: “Disabled children are more included and have better lives when they are part of their communities so I’d encourage everyone to think about how you could make a difference outside work, too.”

Robert

We help young people like Robert. 

Before being supported Robert found it difficult to make friends, he’d been bullied, picked on and laughed at because of being “different”.  Not only was this upsetting for Robert and his mum, Susan, who also has disabilities, the situation was severely affecting his mental health and led to him self-harming.

Through one of our short break centres, Robert’s social and physical needs were support such that he was able to make a good friend.  This helped build his confidence and make the move to secondary school much better.

Read Robert's full story here.

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