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Relationship Difficulties in Families of Disabled Children

Relationship Difficulties in Families of Disabled Children


Research shows that parents of disabled children are more likely to experience relationship difficulties and this can have a significant impact on a child’s wellbeing and behaviour.

With an endless array of doctors’ appointments, juggling work and caring commitments and the need to book alternative care months in advance there is little time for making a partner feel special. There are 770,000 disabled children in the UK, whose parents are affected by these issues. The majority of parents say that respite care is the key to the survival of their relationship.

The government has recently announced 21 areas which will receive extra funding to pilot improved respite care for families with disabled children in England. These areas have an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of these families according to leading charities Contact a Family and One Plus One.

Jill Harrison, Contact a Family’s External Affairs Director, said: “It’s important to remember that relationships are not only about romance, they are also a vital source of support and protection against life’s stresses and strains.

“Parents of disabled children are under considerable and varied pressures and need support especially in the form of short breaks to help meet the challenges they face.” According to a Contact a Family survey, more than half of parents report some or major problems in their relationship after having a disabled child. The reasons are put down to stress (76%), tiredness (72%) or financial difficulties (51%).

A recent One Plus One publication, “Growing Together, or Drifting Apart? – Children with disabilities and their parents’ relationship”, found that parents of disabled children were more likely to divorce and less likely to remarry. This means that a greater proportion of children with disabilities live in lone parent families.

Contact a Family and One Plus One have published a guide to help parents of children with a disability strengthen their relationship and meet the challenges they face together. The guide – Relationships and caring for a disabled child - has been produced using the evidence of 2,000 parents of disabled children surveyed by Contact a Family and research from One Plus One.; Source: Contact a Family

- More on Contact a Family at:


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