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Disability History month takes place from November 16 to December 16, shining a light on the struggles faced by people of all ages with disabilities historically, but also the barriers still facing people with disability today.

As a result of medical advances over the years many more children are surviving who are born with conditions causing disability, along with those who suffer accidents, illness, or infection, but are often left with very complex needs. There are now more than 1.3 million disabled children in the UK, many needing specialist equipment for everyday life so they can be kept safe and free from pain, are able to go to school and learn, to reach their full potential.

Newlife has spent more than 30 years battling to overcome barriers faced by children with disabilities of all kinds, as well as terminal illness across the UK, ensuring that wherever possible we not only provide specialist equipment – even when time is critical – but also improve quality of life, provide access to specialist toys to help children develop, support families and even campaign for positive change at government level to secure a better future for all disabled children.

At Newlife we listen to families and professionals about the barriers they face every day and the needs that aren’t yet being met and adapt to meet these new challenges. As a result, Newlife has developed all their current services including grants, emergency equipment loans, play therapy pods packed with specialist toys to loan, and a nurse helpline which offers support to families. Each one of these services makes a difference to a disabled child and their family every single day. To find out more click here.

One teen helped by Newlife is 18-year-old Aaron Wood who has Cerebral Palsy affecting all his limbs, so he needs 24-hour care and his body needs to be regularly repositioned. Although Aaron has good cognitive ability and awareness, he can’t speak, so communicates using his eyes and symbols. He desperately needed a chair he could be comfortable and supported in – that would also help give him some independence, so Newlife provided him with a chair which had topper specifically moulded to his shape which can be put into an upright or reclined position, while a solid and secure base on wheels means he can be easily move around his home, or outside. Aaron’s position can easily be changed to keep him comfortable – and although it has a chest harness as part of the seat, the new specialist chair keeps him so supported he’s been able to use the top part of his body independently for the first time and lift his own head up and look around!

Mum Sarah said: “The chair allows Aaron to be more involved in simple family times like sitting at the table for a meal, because of the comfort and good position it provides. He is now relaxed, comfortable and happy – that’s all we ever wanted for him.”

There are lots of ways you can support Newlife to help more disabled children overcome the barriers they face. As well as raising funds for Newlife through the Newlife Lottery, donating to our fundraising campaigns – such as the current Play Therapy Pod Christmas Campaign – or through your own fundraising activity, you can also volunteer, either as an individual or through corporate volunteering. For more information click here or contact the Fundraising Team on 01543 462777 to find out more.