News & Events

Undiagnosed Children’s Day 2016 press release

Last Reviewed 16/03/2016

By SWAN UK Digital Communications and support officer, Miriam Ingram

There are just over six weeks to go until Undiagnosed Children’s Day!

Please have a look at our press release about Undiagnosed Children’s Day, a nationwide event on Friday 29 April to raise awareness of children and young people with undiagnosed genetic conditions, also known as syndromes without a name – a genetic condition so rare doctors are unable to diagnose its cause.

Undiagnosed Children’s Day Friday 29th April 2016

75% of parents tell us that their experience of raising a child with an undiagnosed genetic condition is ‘isolating’[1].

Approximately 6,000 disabled children are born every year with a syndrome without a name – a genetic condition so rare doctors are unable to diagnose its cause.

On Undiagnosed Children’s Day on Friday 29th April, SWAN UK (syndromes without a name) is launching its Big Ambition: to ensure that every one of these families has the support they need, when they need it, regardless of whether they are diagnosed or not.

Many people don’t realise that it’s possible for disabled children and young people to be undiagnosed, or even how long they can be undiagnosed for. Some children and young people may never get a diagnosis because the genetic cause can’t be found. As a result, being undiagnosed is not always a temporary stage. Families can face a lifetime of not knowing and struggling to access the information, support and services that they need for their children. Without a diagnosis, children and young people’s needs are not taken seriously and families have no idea if their future children will be affected.

Without a diagnosis, families have no idea what the future will hold for their children – if they will walk, talk or even how long they are likely to live for.

Parents say that the words ‘frustrated’ and ‘lonely’ best describe their experience of parenting a child with an undiagnosed genetic condition.

Alison Bloomer, parent of an undiagnosed child, says: “When you have an undiagnosed child, they can go through years of medical testing. This can take an emotional toll on your family on top of the day-to-day demands of looking after a child with complex additional needs. Having an undiagnosed child has meant that we have had to fight harder to get access to social services support because there is an underlying assumption that your child will continue developing and eventually catch up with their peers, when in reality the gap gets greater year on year.

“Undiagnosed Children’s Day allows parents to lift the lid on some of the difficulties that come from having a child with an undiagnosed genetic condition. Hopefully this year we can spread more awareness of syndromes without a name so that ‘not quite fitting into a box’ does not equal fragmented and uncoordinated care.”

SWAN UK National Coordinator, Lauren Roberts, says: “Life with an undiagnosed child is tough. It can be almost impossible to access support. Despite a system theoretically based on need, the reality is that a lack of diagnosis often acts as a barrier to effective, appropriate and coordinated care.”

Now in its fourth year, Undiagnosed Children’s Day is a nationwide event to raise awareness of children with undiagnosed genetic conditions, also known as syndromes without a name. SWAN UK is the only dedicated support available in the UK for families of children with undiagnosed genetic conditions.

SWAN UK supports families in hospital and at home offering 24/7 access to support and information and running events to bring families together. SWAN UK also works to educate professionals and support the improvement of services.

ENDS

For further information, case studies or to arrange an interview with a family affected by an undiagnosed genetic condition, please contact Miriam Ingram:

miriam.ingram@undiagnosed.org.uk or 020 7704 3141

Please visit: undiagnosed.org.uk

On Undiagnosed Children’s Day SWAN UK will be using the hashtag #Undiagnosed on Twitter @SWAN_UK

Facebook: swanchildrenuk

Instagram: swanchildrenuk

YouTube: swanchildrenuk

Notes for editors

SWAN UK (syndromes without a name) is part of the charity Genetic Alliance UK, registered charity nos. 1114195 and SC039299. SWAN UK, Unit 4D Leroy House, 436 Essex Road, N1 3QP. 020 7704 3141.

[1] ‘SWAN UK member survey 2016’, SWAN UK, February 2016

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