Social attitudes and assumptions about disability can lower a child’s self-confidence and make them feel disempowered.
Building a child’s self-esteem can help to promote their safety. A child who feels empowered is less likely to blame themselves if they experience abuse and more likely to seek support.
Help empower disabled children by:
- consulting them on their views and wishes about their life and care in order to meet their needs
- giving them access to advocacy services
- providing them with communication support and opportunities to express themselves
- helping them to build a supportive relationship with a trusted person – this can increase the chances of a child disclosing abuse to that person (Taylor et al, 2015)
- providing accessible education on topics such as keeping safe, sex and relationships and online safety
- providing information in accessible formats.
Our PANTS resources help parents talk to their children about how to stay safe from abuse. We’ve developed resources which are tailored to the needs of children and parents with disabilities.
> Find out more about PANTS resources on the NSPCC website
Activities that can help improve disabled children’s wellbeing include:
Peer support and social activities.
Opportunities for recreational and social interaction can enable children to explore issues with their peers. Activities can also build on children’s confidence and reduce isolation.
Activities like art and music can provide children with opportunities to express themselves through indirect and non-verbal means.
Supportive and trusting relationships can help make a child feel safe and confident and know that they have someone to talk to.
Helping a disabled child to communicate with trusted adults can help them express their views and tell someone if they need help.
> d/Deaf children and young people can contact Childline through a qualified BSL interpreter using Sign Video