Mencap marks 70 years with the launch of new online community providing peer-to-peer support for parents of children with a learning disability
Survey reveals parents of children with a learning disability are most useful group to provide emotional support to parents
70 years since the Mencap movement began, the charity is launching FamilyHub, a new online community, after parents with a learning disability highlighted how valuable emotional support from other parents is to them.
In a survey of over 1000 parents of children with a learning disability, Mencap found that other parents of children with a learning disability are the group that parents wanted to speak to and have found most useful for emotional support when their child was born.
The survey also found:
28% of parents said that they sought out other parents of children with a learning disability when their child was born for emotional support, second only to family and friends
40% of parents said other parents of children with a learning disability were the most useful for emotional support when their child was born
Of the parents who received no emotional support when their child was born, 27% said other parents were the group they thought would have been most helpful in providing emotional support.
To mark Mencap’s 70th birthday, the charity is launching a brand new online community to offer vital peer-to-peer support for parents, family members and carers of people with a learning disability, www.mencap.org.uk/familyhub.
The Mencap movement began in 1946 when Judy Fryd, a mother of a child with a learning disability, wrote to Nursery World magazine with a call to arms for other parents of children with a learning disability to come together and offer each other support and campaign on important issues.
Tom Bachofner, whose daughter Rosie is 5 and has Down’s syndrome, said:
“My daughter Rosie was diagnosed before she was born and I remember having a range of emotions, from deep shock and anxiety to a complete fear of the unknown. My lack of knowledge of Down’s syndrome meant that I had preconceptions of what it was – but I know now, with the support of clinical knowledge, other parents and people with a learning disability, and most of all, Rosie herself, I know these to be completely wrong.
“One of the most helpful things we found when Rosie was born was being able to speak to other parents who have experienced similar things. Being able to do this online and connect with people who could offer words of support and personal perspectives on the positives of having a child with a learning disability was invaluable for me and my wife. It led me to starting a blog and I hear through this that other parents found this just as helpful. Being able to access such readily available support and comfort at home has been a lifeline.”
Carol-ann Bond, online community manager at Mencap, said:
“Mencap’s new online community aims to provide parents with a place that will help them to overcome challenges, voice concerns and, of course, celebrate the positives of having a child with a learning disability, among a community of parents who have had similar experiences and can share much-needed first-hand experience and emotional support.
“The Mencap movement began because of Judy Fryd’s desire for parents to come together, to ensure that their children and families are able to access the support and information they need to help overcome the challenges that learning disability can bring.
“Emotional support is invaluable for parents and family members when a child is born and being able to access support from others who may have had similar experiences to themselves is incredibly important in helping parents to become better equipped for the challenges that their child’s diagnosis may bring.”