The cost of bringing up a child with autism

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Social Sciences


The cost of bringing up a disabled child is an important empirical question relevant to social policy, influencing the structure both of public support for families and of third sector activity. Yet there is currently a serious lack of usable research in this field. Previous research on the cost of a disabled child in the UK (Dobson and Middleton, 1998) has been highly influential but is out of date. Moreover, a growing recognition of the importance of autism spectrum disorder as a source of disability and childhood disadvantage has not been matched by adequate research on its demands on families and the costs that they face.
Since 2008,CRSP has established the Minimum Income Standard (MIS), a pioneering, internationally acclaimed research technique for assessing minimum household costs. This provides a new means of measuring additional costs of disability, using non-disabled costs as a baseline, so far applied for the case of adults with sensory impairments (Hirsch and Hill, 2016). Charities supporting families with disabled children have made it clear to CRSP that they would greatly value the extension of this work to explore the cost of a disabled child. The Centre is ideally placed to host such research, given its unique expertise in the MIS method and its application to disability. Moreover, Professor Jo Aldridge, based in the same Department, brings a deep understanding of the issues raised, having conducted research with people with profound learning difficulties and with complex cognitive and health needs, and having previously supervised post graduate research on young people with autism and their experiences of the criminal justice system.
A PhD project would initiate this strand of research on the cost of childhood disability, focusing on autism as a particular disability type. This would provide valuable findings as well as knowledge and perspectives on which subsequent/parallel work could build.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000711/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2103962 Studentship ES/P000711/1 30/09/2018 29/06/2022 Chloe Blackwell