What Is The Real Cost Of Raising A Child With Autism?
Parents of children with autism face a heavy financial challenge as they raise their kids. Rising costs of doctor visits, diagnostic testing, and specialized care take a considerable chunk from a family’s budget. However, the costs don’t end with medical expenses; they impact the entire family and can last a lifetime.
Costs of Care in Childhood
A recent study estimates that the annual costs of raising an child with autism in the U.S. is $61 billion dollars, annually. The bulk of the expense is believed to originate from high costs of special education and the multiple social programs that provide support for children with autism.
Incidental Costs on Caretakers
The annual cost of autism is not limited to childcare. Incidental expenses such as emotional costs are also real elements. A study reported by the Huffington Post showed that families of children with autism earn significantly less than those with healthy children. Mothers of children with autism earned 56 percent less wages than other mothers in comparison. This forces families to fall into debt to cover medical costs.
Costs of Care Mature with Age
Demands for care continue into adulthood. Adults with autism in the U.S. account for $175 billion dollars in expenses, annually. For adults with autism who cannot live independent lives, residential living communities are the primary reason for the high cost of care. These facilities are often the only option for individuals whose families have grown worn after raising a child with autism to adulthood.
Additionally, adults with autism have less social support programs to help them assimilate into normal society. As a result, many lose out on wages due to difficulties getting or keeping a job.
The study’s researchers suggest that despite the shocking estimated expenses, the cost of caring for individuals with autism imposes a much lighter burden than the societal costs of not caring for them. The numbers emphasize the importance of finding early interventions that allow children with autism to become more independent adults. This approach would also lessen the financial and emotional burden imposed on the family — a potential solution in which everyone benefits.
You can find more resources, information, and inspiring stories at The Autism Site.