Secret Life of Us

What is the simplest task you do in your day-to-day life? Getting on the bus to school or work? Going to the local shops? Visiting the park?

For the majority of families caring for a child or young person with a disability, these run-of-the-mill activities could be the most challenging tasks they face in their daily lives. It can take weeks to plan, need specialist equipment and transportation, and require additional support.

This is made harder because the right support is simply not in place. During the pandemic, this situation was only made worse by even more support services being delayed. Parent carers have repeatedly told us they felt forgotten in the lockdowns.

The Secret Life of Us aims to provide families with disabled children an opportunity to have their experiences heard. Developed in close partnership with parents, the Secret Life of Us brings to life the realities of the challenges disabled children, young people and their families face in living a life many of us take for granted. It reveals the parts of their lives that most people simply do not see.

We want to remove the barriers to people being able to relate to the lives of disabled children, creating greater understanding, affinity and empathy for them and their families. You can sign up to our campaign to help us achieve this.

This is Toby’s Secret Life of Us, find more stories, both from before and during the pandemic, below. 

We want to hear your stories. To tell your own Secret Life of Us, get in touch at: disabledchildrens.partnership@mencap.org.uk 


February 13, 2018

Ellis, 10, doesn’t stop his disabilities getting in the way of doing the things he loves. His mum, Lisa, tells us how she feels let down by the system, and why people need to understand more about invisible disabilities.

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February 7, 2018

Angelina’s son has complex needs and requires 24/7 care. Having access to overnight short breaks allows Angelina to get the sleep she needs, while her son has the chance to see his friends, and do the activities he enjoys.

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Cathryn climbing stairs smiling
January 8, 2018

There’s a part of Cathryn’s life you do see: she’s 21, studying at university, and is really politically engaged. But there’s also part of her life you do not see: her hidden disabilities, which are her constant companions. Both parts are equally hers, and neither should stop her having a fulfilling life filled with exciting opportunities. She just needs support to do so.

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