Disability

We currently have very little information on childhood disability available from routine sources in Scotland, either locally or nationally. Routine health data are collected for admissions to hospital; however, living with a disability may not involve many admissions to hospital. Until recently, very little coded information has been collected in relation to children and young people with disability attending out-patient clinics.

The best currently-available estimates of the overall prevalence of disability are derived from UK-wide household surveys. The UK-wide Family Resources Survey (FRS) in 2004/5 found an overall prevalence of Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) – defined disability in childhood of 7.3%. The rate for Scotland was slightly higher, at 8.5%. Some disabling conditions are evident from birth. Others are present from birth, but are only recognised when the child reaches an age when they would be expected to be demonstrating a new developmental skill and they fail to do so, whilst some conditions are not present at birth and only develop later. Age breakdowns for the UK, and the corresponding numbers that would be expected for Glasgow City, are given in the table below.

Age group: years

Population Glasgow GRO figure mid 2013

FRS DDA-defined disability %

Expected numbers for Glasgow City

0-4

34,764

3.7

1,286

5-11

38,813

8.2

3,182

12-15

22,880

9.5

2,174

16-18

19,746

8.5

1,678

Population prevalence of impairment of some specific fields of function was as follows:

Memory, concentration and learning       2.2%

Communication                                    2.0%

Mobility                                               1.5%

Physical co-ordination                          1.3%

Manual dexterity                                   0.8%

Continence                                           0.7%

 

It is well known that there are strong associations between childhood disability and deprivation. Examples of research evidence for this can be found e.g. Blackburn et al, Sundrum et al and also in data from the Growing Up in Scotland Study in section 6.2.2.

NHS Specialist Children’s Services across Greater Glasgow and Clyde are collecting increasingly good diagnostic data, and Education Services hold information to support planning services for children with additional support needs, so there is the prospect of some locally-derived data being presented here in due course.

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