Shared Care Network: Breaks help autistic children make friends

    Regular short breaks help children with autism to gain social skills and make friends, according to a charity survey out yesterday.

    Charity Shared Care Network, which promotes family-based short breaks for disabled children and their families, surveyed 16 families with children with autism in its report Breaking Down the BarriersOver half of parents said getting short breaks helped their autistic child make friends and nearly two-thirds said they helped them to gain independence, while giving parents and siblings a beneficial rest.

    However, it also highlighed that nationally there was a desperate shortage of short break carers. Candy Smith, Shared Care Network’s chief executive, said: “The challenge now is to recruit short break professionals in the numbers needed. We urgently need people to come forward.”  

    The survey was launched to coincide with the start of Share the Care Week, the charity’s annual campaign to recruit more short break carers.

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