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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

One in five of children with learning disabilities asked to leave public places

Written by The Press Association

One in five children with a learning disability have been asked to leave a public place because of their behaviour, a new poll suggests.

Charity Mencap found 21% of parents said their child had been made to move from an area because of actions resulting from their disability.

The charity's poll of 1,000 parents across the UK found that 70% have felt unwelcome in public.

Mencap said the public should offer more support to parents of children with a learning disability.

Rossanna Trudgian, head of campaigns at Mencap, said: "Public attitudes may have improved in the 70 years Mencap has existed, but as a society, we should feel ashamed to have such little acceptance to children who may sometimes act differently to others.

"It's heartbreaking that not only are children with a learning disability being dropped off birthday invite lists or being asked to stay in the garden away from other children, but almost a third of parents have felt forced to miss social engagements, such as their best friend's wedding.

"If the public can think and not judge when they see a child behaving differently and instead offer support and acceptance, this suffering could end overnight."

Meanwhile, a new report released by information portal Disability Matters has detailed experiences of 123 parent carers of disabled children and adults.

Of these, 22 said they found it difficult to access healthcare services and 19 said their child hadn't taken part in any social activities such as visiting the cinema, bowling and youth clubs in the past year due to poor attitudes, inexperienced staff or inaccessible buildings and services.

Dr Karen Horridge, clinical lead for the Disability Matters programme and fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "Disabled people are entitled to the same opportunities as everyone else so we want service providers to learn from best practice, adapt their services and if they can, go the extra mile so they are fully inclusive.

"Training staff to be more disability aware is a very quick and easy way of beginning this process."

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