Department of Education
Posted on 7 January 2021
Senior lecturer Dr Umar Toseeb, a specialist on the mental health and wellbeing of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), has been working on research with hundreds of families since March.
While many of the early findings would be “intuitive” to those in the sector, he said, what was surprising was the extent of disparities when it came to families’ support needs, from calls for reassurance to help with shopping and respite care.
Less than half of parents felt the level of support they were given was enough to meet their child’s needs, while one in three said it was inadequate.
As early insight is given into research to be published in the New Year detailing how pressures mounted under lockdown, Dr Toseeb has called on services to consider how support can be given.
“Our research showed that families had unequal access to support during the first lockdown,” he said. “Some felt adequately supported whereas others felt completely abandoned.”
Dr Toseeb’s research, funded by Wellcome and launched just before March amid concerns over what was to come, covered a broad picture over families’ wellbeing, support and instances of sibling conflict.
Over 90 per cent of respondents were mothers, with the child’s average age being 10.
The pandemic and resulting lockdowns had a “huge” impact on society’s day to day life, said Dr Toseeb, but proved particularly challenging for young people with SEND and their families as carefully established routines and relationships were lost.
Read the full story titled, 'Yorkshire research details scale of pressures faced by families of children with special educational needs'.