'Give it Back' campaign illustrated image - silhouette of a family alongside text/statistics


Today, as part of the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP), we are calling on the Government to return the funding that has been cut from services for disabled children and their families in England. In this blog, Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs at the National Autistic Society, explains the DCP’s new ‘Give it Back’ campaign and why we want as many people as possible to sign Vickey’s open letter to the Chancellor.


Every day at our charity, we hear about children and their families not getting basic support from councils. Too many families are left without advice and information about how to help their children. Too many families have to fight in courts to get any services at all. Too many families never sleep because they don’t ever get a break from caring for their children.

The result is ill health, relationship breakdown, difficulties at school and families struggling financially.

Today’s campaign highlights the distress caused to all disabled children and their families by the lack of support from councils, including autistic children. A new survey of almost 3,500 families with disabled children found:

  • only 4% of parent carers feel they get the right support to safely care for their disabled children
  • more than half (54%) of parent carers have been treated by a GP for depression, anxiety or stress (including suicidal thoughts)
  • 53% of parent carers have been forced to give up a paid job to care for their disabled child
  • 40% of parent carers have experienced relationship breakdown with a partner since diagnosis. 64% of those say a lack of support had a major impact on the breakdown of a relationship
  • more than a third (37%) of parent carers say their disabled child has missed school or college because the staff or services are not available to support them
  • a third (33%) of parent carers say their disabled child has been in unnecessary extra pain because the right equipment, doctor or health service hasn’t been available.

By working with 59 other organisations as part of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, we are hoping we can get the Government to pay more attention to the enormous pain and distress being caused unnecessarily to disabled children. We don’t just want to raise awareness of this problem – we want the Government to act.

We’ve had a good start – The Sun is covering this story and declaring their support for this campaign. Can you help by adding your name to a letter to the Chancellor asking him to fund these services for children?

Sign Vickey's letter

Every day, disabled children are missing out on £1.2 million worth of support from councils. This lack of money stops councils giving children the support they and their families need. Families and children are suffering right now as a result. And what is more, in the long-term this lack of support will cost more as more children and families reach crisis point and need more expensive support. The current situation doesn’t work for anyone.

We are not asking for disabled children or their families to be singled out or treated differently. We’re asking for disabled children to be able to do the things other children take for granted: go to school or go out to play. Because right now there is an unacceptable contrast between the opportunities available for disabled children and their families, and children and families who live without disability.

As the families featured in the ‘Give it Back’ film show, too many families feel overwhelmed, isolated and scared.

We don’t want anyone to feel sorry for families who have an autistic child. We want people to understand how little help many families get, and how this can affect their lives – and why this lack of funds means they can’t do things that other families take for granted.

We want you to join us in calling for change. Please add your name to a letter from Vickey, who cares for her disabled son Ollie, to the Chancellor. Vickey says she wants him to give back the millions that have been cut from support for disabled children.

Add your name to Vickey's letter

Further information

  • Find out more about the Disabled Children’s Partnership on their website
  • For information about autism, support, education and benefits for children and young people on the autism spectrum, visit our 'About' page
  • For information and guidance about autism, including our Education Rights Service, Autism Helpline and Parent to Parent service, visit our helpline page.