Reviewed by: Claire Guppy
Author: Steve Broach, Luke Clements and Janet Read
Publisher: Legal Action Group
ISBN: 978 1 903307 76 2
Price: £40

Disabled children and their families face substantial barriers in their lives – they are financially worse off and have poorer standards of living than families who don’t live with disability, experience difficulties accessing suitable education provision and services and knowing what their entitlements are; as well as facing significant challenges coping with a disabled child’s transition from childhood to adulthood.

Knowledge about what can be done to overcome these barriers from a legal perspective makes Disabled Children: A Legal Handbook essential reading not only for families of disabled children, such as those with autism, but all those working in the field – lawyers and advocates, commissioners, voluntary and statutory sector advisers, education, social and healthcare professionals, public authorities, students and academics.

The book appeals because it looks at its subject matter holistically, considering not only the legal framework relating to disabled children, but the broader social context drawing on real life expertise of disabled children and their families and research that highlights the common problems they experience.

As a result, the book has focus, concentrating not on abstract considerations, but on relevant and essential information on how the law can assist disabled children and their families.

Disabled Children: A Legal Handbook is comprehensively researched and accessible in its layout.

Focusing, as it does, on the areas of social care, education and healthcare law, it includes useful tables of cases, statutes and statutory instruments, international conventions and European legislation.

A useful summary of the key provisions of the Equality Act 2010 is also included.

The book is reasonably priced and the Council for Disabled Children, who provided funding, have created a website to make the contents, including the introduction and a summary of the legal entitlements of disabled children, available free online.

Claire Guppy is Legal Development Co-ordinator at the National Autistic Society. Working with a number of law firms, barristers and other organisations, as well as widely within the NAS, she has spearheaded the NAS’ campaigning through the courts.