Low family incomes hit disabled children hard


Some children and young people with disabilities and SEN do not have sufficient food or clothing and their families cannot afford to heat their homes, according to a new report. The research, published by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, paints a stark picture of life for disabled children who are raised by families with low incomes.

The lack of basic necessities for low income families is compounded by inadequate access to services, personal support, and helpful information, the report says. The welfare benefits that families of those with disabilities and SEN are entitled to do not cover the extra costs of raising a disabled child.

Although the majority of disabled children reported feeling supported by their families, their ability to experience independence and inclusion in the community was adversely affected by low incomes. At school, most children with disabilities said they were bullied and felt isolated and anxious.

Children’s Commissioner for England Maggie Atkinson said the findings paint “a disturbing picture of the lives of many disabled children living in low income families.”

The report calls on the Government to establish an independent review of the adequacy of support for disabled children, and to ensure that the views of children with disabilities and SEN are reflected in legislation on welfare and tackling child poverty. The Government should also publish clear and reliable information about disabled children’s rights, and available service provision, and promote awareness of these rights through inspection and workforce training systems.

Local authorities should ensure that short-break provision for disabled children is effective in their area, and that disabled children from low income families can access play, sport, leisure and cultural opportunities.

The report, We want to help people see things our way, was written for the Children’s Commissioner by The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation at the University of Central Lancashire. Eleven disabled children and young people worked with the university and co-led the research that informs the report. The report is available at:


SEN News Team
Author: SEN News Team

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