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The cost of Christmas for families with disabled children

a christmas tree
a christmas tree Image credit:

Hundreds of parents of seriously ill and disabled children have raised concerns they won’t be able to surprise their kids with presents this Christmas because they can’t afford to buy gifts.

Out of the 978 families who took part in a survey conducted by Family Fund at least two thirds believe they don’t have enough to spend on their disabled youngsters this festive season because presents for disabled children are more expansive compared to those for non-disabled children.

For example, sensory toys ideal for kids with autism and learning disabilities and suitable bikes for disabled children cost considerably more than your standard gift.

Cheryl Ward, CEO of Family Fund, said: “This research shows many families won’t be able to afford the cost of Christmas this year.

“And many families raising disabled children will struggle to afford the sensory toys that their children need due to the extra costs of the ‘disability price tag.’

“Sensory toys, which have features like light and texture are stimulating and appealing for disabled children, but they’re significantly more expensive than other toys - costing many families over £250 per item.

“Given the fact it’s already around three times more expensive to raise a disabled child compared with other children, we’re concerned that families on low incomes whose children have complex needs, may miss out.”

The survey also revealed families are going without vital shopping trips so they can buy suitable presents for their children at Christmas as well as limiting their heating and working overtime.

A total of 92 per cent of adults said they will buy their disabled children a gift instead of another family member and 82 per cent admitted they found Christmas shopping stressful.

Making sure they had enough money to buy specialist presents is the number one concern for families with disabled children ahead over paying bills and gifts for other family and friends.

Almost 50 per cent will need to borrow an average of £390 so they can cover Christmas costs with one in 10 expected to borrow at least £800.

At least a third will use credit cards, a fifth taking out personal loans and 25 per cent ending up with an overdraft over the festive season.

The average Brit spends £883 at Christmas according to a 2020 YouGov poll.