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Understanding abuse

DISABLED children are twice as likely as non-disabled children to suffer abuse of all forms, and may have much more difficulty in communicating their plight, according to the National Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to children. A new training pack from the NSPCC aims to help special needs teachers and care workers to understand and respond to disabled children who are being abused.

Two-Way Street, which includes a video and handbook, was created in consultation with deaf and disabled children. In showing how disabled children can use many ways to express themselves, the NSPCC hopes to break down the physical, social and even geographical isolation which restricts the lives of disabled children.

Disabled children represent 28 per cent of children in care - although they are less than 10 per cent of the general population - and are eight times as likely to end up in care as non-disabled children.Rosemary Gordon, a training and consultancy manager at the NSPCC, says: "Disabled children can and do communicate. Acknowledging what the disabled say is imperative if they are to be properly protected."

Adults need to adapt their usual methods of communication. As one young person said: "We don't mind if you ask us to repeat if you don't understand. But we don't like to be ignored."

Two-Way Street from NSPCC Training Centre , 3 Gilmore Close, Beaumont Leys, Leicester LE4 1EZ. Tel 0116 234 7223. pound;55.

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