Parents of children with disabilities have been speaking out on the struggles faced by their children throughout the pandemic due to being from a low income household
Statistics from the Mental Health Foundation show that “children living in households in the lowest 20% income bracket in Great Britain are two to three times more likely to develop mental health problems than those in the highest.”
A secondary special-school for children in the West Midlands has 85% of students eligible for free school meals as highlighted in their last three Ofsted reports.
The school accommodates students with special learning needs and currently has 100 percent of pupils with a primary diagnosis of autism. Research by the National Autistic Society found that autistic people were seven times more likely to be chronically lonely than the general population during lockdown in the UK.
Sarah, a teacher from the school, told Buzz: “We cant wear masks in school as the children can’t process we are talking to them because they cant see us properly and to tell them they need to stay away increases the anxieties they already have and as far as they’re concerned if you get covid you die.
“There is anxiety from the parents as well, there’s a very quick turnaround if a staff member gets a positive test as one day the students will be in and the next they won’t, they had a routine and you’ve ripped it away.
“The parents are also planning their day, once their class bubbles are closed they could be going from one benefit check to the next, but they don’t make it because they have children who are in meltdown.”
Sarah also added: “The free school meal vouchers should be made more easily accessible. 40% of the parents at the school do not have English as their first language which makes accessing the vouchers on email hard.”
Whilst the school recently spent £25 000 on laptops for their students to take home to aid online learning, there is still a need for more mental health support for those who need it the most.