This is My Child - NetMums Online Campaign


An online campaign by Mumsnet has brought children with special needs and their families into the spotlight.

A widespread campaign

Mumsnet, the online parenting network, has tried to support families with special needs children and raise awareness of many of the myths that surround special needs.

Because of the campaign, parents have started sharing their experiences, and information has also come from other sources. An example of this is a Q and A with a child psychologist.

Special needs

According to Scope, there are about 770,000 disabled children in the UK. The definition of disability and what kinds of things are considered 'special needs? is often debated. However, it covers a huge range of problems. Children may have:

A new insight

Mumsnet have raised an awareness of the issues families with special needs children have. They have improved the general public's understanding of disabled children.

The campaign has opened the eyes of many people to a wide range of information from a variety of sources.

One particularly moving story that was shared involved a neighbour calling the police when an autistic child next door was distressed. The mother of the child also described how a lack of awareness about autism has caused her and her child to feel isolated and ridiculed.

Myths busted

Some of the myths debunked by Mumsnet include that:

  • Behavioural disorders are an excuse for bad behaviour, or a sign of bad parenting.
  • People who get disability grants and benefits are scroungers.
  • The use of "disablist language" doesn't matter. This includes things such as using the term "tourettes? in trivial conversations, such as jokes.
  • If your child has a disability, you are readily given a large amount of easily accessible support.
  • You can tell when someone has a disability, by the way they look. In reverse, you cannot look at a child and say they're not disabled.
  • People with autism are incredibly intelligent and unaffectionate.

Getting involved

We at Simpson Millar know just how false these views are, and that parents often have to fight hard just to get a limited level of support for their child. It's not too late to get involved. If you would like to share any of your experiences, get on twitter and use the hashtag #ThisIsMyChild or check out the twitter profile @MumsnetTowers. Alternatively, the Mumsnet website has a wide variety of information available to the public, as well as information for parents with disabled children.

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