November 14, 2022 – 09:47
Research confirms alarming increase in loneliness among disabled children
1 in 5 children with special needs have no friends. This is evident from the results of the annual standard survey of the Disabled Child Foundation, which will be announced today at the beginning of the Disabled Child Week. Another influential finding of this study among 600 children between the ages of 6 and 18 is that only half of children with disabilities are invited to children’s parties. So they are more dissatisfied with their lives compared to last year. For this reason, both politicians and society are urged to seek greater contact with families with a disabled child. It is very important that all children with disabilities participate in society as quickly as possible. They can simply participate in a regular school, in the sports club, and in the playground in the neighbourhood. To further this call, the report with the research numbers will be delivered to Secretary Connie Helder (Long Term Care and Sports) at the VWS Department tomorrow, Tuesday, November 15 at 3:30 p.m. For parents who want to involve children with disabilities more, the foundation has put together a set of tips on how to do so as part of Disabled Child Week.
“Half of disabled children are not invited to a children’s party”
Index Study 2022
Commissioned by Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind, research agency Kien conducted research among children aged 6-18 on how they experience their daily lives and how they see their future. A total of 600 children participated in this study.
At least 19% of children with disabilities indicate that they do not have a single boyfriend or girlfriend. Children with disabilities who have a friend indicate that they do not see their friends as often as they would like. This is mainly because the school is too far away and facilities, such as playgrounds or sports clubs, are not accessible nearby. Children with disabilities also indicate that they do not find sufficient contact with children without disabilities.
This can be done differently according to Joël Spierlings (11 years old): “Handicapped and non-disabled children can play very well together, but many parents don’t realize this. Adults often say, “It’s not possible.” We also understand that not everything is possible, but it is often possible. During a soccer match, for example, someone in a wheelchair could hit the goal well. We kids are creative in finding solutions. I would like all children to participate. We are too “.
Only 52% are invited to children’s parties
One of the most important activities in a child’s life is to organize children’s parties. This is what children experience as an affirmation of friendship and belonging. 9 out of 10 non-disabled children are simply invited to a children’s party. That’s only 5 in 10 children with disabilities, and one of the reasons for this is that parents of non-disabled children think it is difficult to play with children with disabilities.
Pauline Moggs, 12, says: “I’m glad my friends are increasingly talking to me when they’re having their kids’ parties. I can do more with a wheelchair than often thought. It happens sometimes that a friend’s parents have already decided I can’t come. Then I always ask the question: why do you think That I can’t do that? Sometimes it turns out that it really is and sometimes I can agree with it. I think it’s important for parents to start from the positive and try.”
Disabled children are invisible
Henk Willem Lahn, Director of the Disabled Child Foundation: “We have developed good care and facilities for the disabled in the Netherlands, but unfortunately the result is that children with disabilities live in a parallel and separate society. With serious consequences, such as not having any friends. Children with disabilities have already experienced this great sense of loneliness during the Corona crisis, when they were Forget about them. You might think that now that the lockdowns are over, these children will also become less isolated. However, the opposite has been proven: children with disabilities are more unhappy than before.”
The Disabled Children Foundation fights for a society in which 100,000 children with disabilities are fostered in the Netherlands. Where all children with and without disabilities grow up together. In a regular school in a “Together to School” class, on a playground and in the neighborhood sports club. Lan continues:When children with and without disabilities come into contact with each other from an early age, this is seen as normal for the future generation. During Disabled Child Week, we invite you to contact these children so they can be seen again. Do you have a kids party soon? Find out if a child with special needs can join. As a society, we all have to contribute to that.”
About the Disabled Child Foundation
A society where every child has friends and no disabled child has to play alone – this is the ideal of Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind. Most children learn to live with their disability. Their biggest drawback is that they cannot participate and therefore feel lonely. With the support of donors and volunteers, Stichting het Gehandicapte Kind helps facilitate access to stadiums, sports clubs and schools. So that disabled and non-disabled children meet, play and make friends. Purpose: No child without friends. The week of the disabled child coincides with the week of the institution’s collection. For more information see: www.gehandicaptekind.nl