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Disabled People and Need


All individuals have 3 basic needs to survive, the need for warmth, shelter and food. ‘The National Carers Strategy’ emphasises the importance of ‘ensuring that services allow parents and carers to live out a full life whilst maintaining their mental and physical health, have the opportunity to access their own community and to maintain employment where desired.’ (1999.) Regarding short breaks services, four quality criteria have been identified by parents. They are, ‘flexibility, reliability, continuity and actually providing a break for parents and other family members.’ (Mitchell & Sloper 2003.)

Disabled people have generalised every day needs, much like the rest of the population such as money and benefits, housing, equipment and aids, work and employment, education and training, transport and getting around, holidays, leisure and the arts and also possibly with forming and maintaining personal and/or sexual relationships. Disabled people also have more specific needs realting to their impairment.

Carers of disabled pchildren or adults, whether professioanls or family members may experience difficult times regularly as a result of the caring role in general, since as a carer, your own needs often remain in the background and over time, this may result in ongoing increased stress. Therefore, the need for social networks and support is important to ensure that where possible, the family will remain together as a unit. 'Short breaks have a role in enabling parents to continue to care for their child at home.' (Barnado's 2002.) These support networks could be the use of relatives or a teacher as emotional support or a social service department offering specific support services. Of the needs reported by families, the most frequently reported is the need for a 'break from caring.' (Mencap 2006.) This usually takes the form of a short break, whether residential or family based.

Short breaks offer a child with a disability a new and hopefully positive experience that can allow them opportunities to learn, to make friends and to gain independence, whilst 'enabling parent and siblings to have some time themselves, which is vitally important in sustaining the relationship within the family and meeting parent's and siblings personal needs.' (Tarleton & Macaulay 2002.) Other services that exist focus around advice and support, advocacy, home care, residential/respite or short breaks and can take many forms such as being home based or community based. befriender schemes also fall into this catagory and a range of different provider exist offering these services.

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