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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2010): Services for the disabled - UK

Childhood disability: ordinary lives for extraordinary families

J. Heywood

Community Practitioner, vol. 83, Apr. 2010, p. 19-22

Government, campaigning groups and parents all argue that families with disabled children should be enabled to lead ordinary lives. However, families face huge barriers to living ordinary lives due to the negative impact of raising a disabled child on finances, housing, relationships, family life and mental health. Support services, both within health and the local authority, may use a medical model of disability that fails to acknowledge some of these challenges. This paper argues for a more holistic, social model of disability that takes into account the needs of the whole family, not just those of the disabled child, when planning and delivering support. Health visitors and community nurses are well placed to champion such a 'whole family' approach.

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