CHILDLINE ADVICE: The negative impact Covid-19 has had on disabled children
Here at Childline, we strive to be a beacon of hope and support to all children and young people living in the North-East and throughout the United Kingdom.
Research has shown that young people with disabilities are much more likely to experience loneliness and social isolation, and the pandemic has brought further difficulties over the last 18 months, due to shielding and spending more time at home during lockdown.
During 2020/21, Childline delivered 2,753 counselling sessions to children and young people where disability, health or special needs was their main concern, an 8% increase on the previous year.
One girl told our counsellors: “Me and my brother, who is 11, are both autistic but my brother is also nonverbal. Our relationship with dad was perfect before lockdown but has gone downhill since he was made redundant. He has become increasingly aggressive. Me and my brother used to go into respite every fortnight, but this stopped due lockdown. This has made the situation at home even more stressful.”
Another told us: ““I am struggling with depression and feel so alone.
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“I feel too ashamed to be honest about how depressed I feel and the suicidal feelings I have. I was diagnosed with autism around a year ago and believe this affects my ability to communicate my feelings. I struggle with social situations. I pretend I am fine, but if things carry on this way and I am not able to access the support I need, I am worried how bad things may get for me.”
At Childline, we want to help as many young people as we can. So to raise awareness of all the differences and experiences, we’re sharing stories from influencers who are deaf, disabled or have autism across social media channels to show young people they’re not alone in how they feel.
By encouraging them to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences on topics like bullying and confidence, we hope to let all young people with disabilities know that they’re not alone.
Most importantly, we want to remind them Childline is always here, whoever they are, and however they feel.