A new report by Cerebra has identified that inequalities experienced by children with disabilities in health and social aspects can be better prevented through early intervention. The team have analysed data from a variety of health and education research that show the stark contrast in the number of children with disabilities facing multiple layers of inequality.
‘Investing in Early Intervention’ recognises that policy and guidance is in place to support early intervention for children and young people with learning disabilities, however in practice this is not available to all families. There have been many local areas without the means to meet the needs of children, resulting in out of area residential school placements or inpatient admissions. A recent study of over 600 families found that less than 30% had received targeted early intervention support in the preceding 12 months.
Alongside the evidence, the report highlights a series of early intervention case studies and attests to their efficacy and the long term benefits, not only to the family but to society as a whole. The report gives four key recommendations:
- Empowering and equipping families to meet the needs of their child
- Investing in the wellbeing of family carers
- Workforce development
- Timely access to specialist support
The new Family Hubs, Integrate Care Systems and the SEND Green Paper present opportunities to set the standards for early intervention across health, education and social care. As Dame Christine Lenehan, Director, Council of Disabled Children said:
“When all the evidence screams at us that intervening early can transform children’s lives; when we can see the toll on children and their families when we don’t intervene early; when it makes good human sense and good economic sense to intervene early; and when we can see the commitment and creativity of professionals working with children and families, it is hard to understand why we are not doing more.”