How do you keep yourself entertained during the summer holidays? Perhaps you’ve been playing with your friends or you might even have been dropped off at a summer club.
For some children in England though, it’s a lot harder to find things to do when you have additional needs.
The majority of families with disabled children (81%) would like a holiday club to send their child to during the six-week break.
But only 4% of families are able to find one to suit all of their children’s needs, according to research by the Disabled Children’s Partnership and Contact.
Why is it important to have accessible clubs nearby?
Max is 12 and autistic. He has a chromosome disorder and a learning disability and is fed up there is no holiday club he can go to near where he lives.
He told Newsround: “I would love to go to a holiday club but I can’t.
“It makes me feel a little bit upset because I don’t get to do things other children are doing.
“I’d like to meet some children and make some new friends. Instead I’m at home with my mum, either playing on my phone or sometimes going fishing with my brother’s friend.”
His brother, Luke, is 13 and can go to club.
Their mum Chloe said: “Luke can go to clubs but there’s nothing out there for Max.
“If he went to a mainstream play scheme it would be too much for him. He might not be understood by the other children. He finds it difficult if children don’t understand him or his additional needs.”
Lucas is nine-years-old. He is one of the lucky few who is able to go to a local club near him that caters for his needs.
It’s part of the OnSide network of youth centres and he loves it.
He told Newsround: “It’s important to me as it gives me somewhere to go in the holidays, [without it] I would be bored, my brothers go to other clubs that I can’t go to.
“I have made friends and the ladies are nice. I can go without my mum with me.
“If I didn’t have the club I would be stuck at home, bored, with my mum.
“At the club I enjoy playing football, pool, baking, crafts, music and making friends.”
The Loneliest Summer report
The Loneliest Summer report was based on a survey of about 1,800 parents of disabled children and young people. It was carried out at the start of the summer holidays.
For some disabled children, structure and routine is really important to keep up through the holidays to help reduce things like anxiety and to maintain their sensory regulation.
Some 77% of the families surveyed said they wanted to send their children to a holiday club so their children could socialise with other children.
More than half of the parents reported their child felt isolated during the summer break and 43% said it negatively affected their child’s self-esteem.