The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on child welfare: d/Deaf and disabled children

Publication date February 2021

We’re using insight from Childline counselling sessions and contacts to the NSPCC helpline to highlight the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on children and young people.

This briefing focuses on what d/Deaf and disabled children are telling Childline, and what adults are telling the NSPCC helpline about d/Deaf and disabled children. This includes children who:

  • are d/Deaf
  • are on the autistic spectrum (in just over half of the Childline counselling sessions with disabled children between 1 April and 31 October 2020, children told us they are on the autism spectrum)
  • have a condition such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • have a learning disability
  • have a physical disability such as cerebral palsy
  • have visual impairment.

Key themes of the report include:

  • worries about the pandemic
  • coping with coronavirus restrictions
  • learning during lockdown
  • returning to school after lockdown
  • family pressures
  • children experiencing abuse
  • getting support during the pandemic.

This report contains quotes from children, young people and adults that some people may find upsetting.

Download The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on child welfare: d/Deaf and disabled children and young people
Download the briefing (PDF)

Childline and NSPCC Helpline insight briefings

Our insight briefings use data and insight from Childline counselling sessions and NSPCC Helpline contacts to explore concerns children and young people have raised and how these affect them.

View insight briefings

My 13-year-old son is autistic and I’ve noticed his mental health is suffering, he has been having suicidal thoughts. Since lockdown, he has been more aggressive and physically abusive. He tells me that he’s angry about not being at school. I feel overwhelmed because I’m expected to home school with no support, plus I have a younger daughter who refuses to do her homework. Home life has been intense and we are all completely exhausted both mentally and physically. Please can you help?

Mother, NSPCC Helpline
A lot of things have been making me low during this pandemic, with my disability being the cause of a lot of it. Like wearing masks for example. I know it is all about keeping people safe, and everyone has told me I need to try and wear one, but I just cannot cope with it. I want to wear a mask as much as everyone else wants me to, but I can’t stand how they feel. I worry that I will have a meltdown in public and be questioned and misunderstood.

Girl aged 16, Childline

Please cite as: NSPCC (2020) The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on child welfare: d/Deaf and disabled children and young people. Insight briefing. London: NSPCC.