Home adaptations for disabled children

New survey finds very significant costs savings result from home adaptations for young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders but are hampered by ‘integration difficulties’.

This report presents the findings of a small scale pilot study of the economic and well-being impacts of adaptations to family homes to accommodate the needs of young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

The research was funded by the disabled children’s charity Cerebra and undertaken by students at the School of Law, Leeds University under the supervision of Professor Luke Clements and the Access Committee for Leeds a Disabled People’s Organisation with national expertise in home adaptations.

Findings included:

  • The principal cost impacts were that the adaptations had avoided the need for the young people to be ‘accommodated’ ie to become ‘Looked After Children’ (LAC);
  • In the study sample it appeared that an investment in housing adaptations amounting to £300,000 had avoided social services expenditure of about £1.5 million (ie a five-fold return on the investment);
  • The study identified (but did not quantify) other substantial well-being benefits deriving from the adaptations – for the disabled person and their family (particularly their siblings);
  • The research identified significant problems for local authority staff trying to facilitate adaptations, as the work is generally funded from housing budgets but with the consequent savings evident in social services and NHS budgets. The research suggests that increased funding earmarked for home adaptations (channelled through the ‘Better Care Fund’) is unlikely to be of practical benefit for this group of disabled people.

Download the full report (including an Executive Summary)  

For further information contact

Professor Luke Clements (project lead) L.J.Clements@leeds.ac.uk

Sorcha McCormack (lead researcher)  S.M.McCormack1@leeds.ac.uk

Tim McSharry (Head of Disability and Diversity) tmcdiversitymatters@yahoo.co.uk

David Everatt  (Head of Advocacy and Casework) david@everattproperties.co.uk