There needs to be a better understanding of the needs of people with autism and/or learning disabilities in housing adaptations and the system-wide cost benefits, according to an independent review from Foundations.

Adaptations can transform lives and whilst they can sometimes be costly, adaptations can enable a young person to continue to live in the family home and avoid the need for less appropriate and much more expensive residential care.

Foundations have developed a guide to outline the rules and regulations relating to Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) and discretionary housing assistance policies; to provide advice on how funding can be used; and to provide case studies and examples of good practice.

Other key points include:

  • It is essential to see DFG funding as part of an integrated approach to meeting the needs of children or young people with autism and/or learning disabilities.
  • Behaviours that challenge have a specific purpose or function, and it is important to focus on the underlying reasons rather than the behaviours themselves. Understanding the reason for the behaviours and how to create a safe sensory environment is key to responding to the needs of the individual and providing effective support.
  • Flexible and creative use of the powers under the Regulatory Reform Order can enable local authorities to develop specific discretionary grants to meet the needs of children and young people with autism and/or learning disabilities.
  • The purposes for which a mandatory DFG can be given cover a wide range of situations which may help to create a better environment for someone with autism and/or learning disabilities.
  • Multi-disciplinary/multi-agency assessment and intervention planning is essential to ensure that the needs and rights of children and young people with autism and/or learning disabilities are fully understood.

Paul Smith, Director of Foundations, the national body for Home Improvement Agencies and DFG, said: “We’ve seen that very little of the Disabled Facilities Grant budget goes towards austism and behaviours that challenge – we wanted to shine a light and show what is possible.”


Copies of A Guide to Adaptations for Children and Young People with Behaviours That Challenge can be downloaded here