‘Making the case for play’, a report by the national deafblind charity, Sense, reveals nine out of ten parents of disabled children say their child does not have the same opportunities to access play, compared to non-disabled children. One in two disabled children have been turned away from play settings and activities.

Family Fund contributed to the report which 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 highlighted in the report.

The report 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.

Due to be launched in Parliament this afternoon, the report 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.

Chair of the Play Inquiry, Lord 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.”

Family Fund know how vital opportunities for play are to a child’s development and that disabled and seriously ill children should have the freedom to direct what they see as play.

This month we have been hearing from our parent bloggers about what constitutes as play for their children and how other people’s perceptions of their child’s play can also be very restricting.

Let them play!

Play and Breaking Down Barriers

Screen time vs. Outdoor Time

This theme also runs through our Siblings report; ‘Do Siblings Matter Too?’ released recently with the University of Portsmouth looking at the affects of having a sibling with a disability.

Read the full ‘Making the case for play’ report on sense’s website