Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Brother Can You Spare...$2 Million! Autism Care Costs Roughly $2 Million for a Lifetime

Autism Care Costs Roughly $2 Million For a Lifetime

Autism (Photo : hepingting/ Flickr)

Caring for someone with autism is no simple task. Oftentimes parents or relatives need to re-evaluate and opt for home-based employment to provide focused attention on the child as well as pay for additional expenses related to specialized instruction and the like. 
For most parents and caregivers, support is readily given but in totality, how much does it cost financially to support and care for someone with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? 
According to a recent study by Autism Speaks, published in JAMA Pediatrics, in the United States, families can expect to shell out about $1.4 to $2.4 million lifetime support and expenses for a person diagnosed with autism or an equivalent of 0.92 million to 1.5 million pounds in the United Kingdom.
The study describes ASD as "a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by impaired social ability, especially communication, and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. The disorders can be associated with significant functional impairment and result in high financial costs for families." 
The experts recognize that there is very little information on the economic effects of families and societies when it comes to dealing with ASD, hence a literature review examining the costs and economic impact in terms of autism lifetime support is in order.
According to the researchers, "[The] study presents the most comprehensive estimates to date of the financial costs of ASDs in the United States and the United Kingdom. [The] costs are much higher than previously suggested. ..."
They continued, "There is also an urgent need for a better understanding of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions and support arrangements that address the needs and respond to the preferences of individuals with ASDs and their families. Because the economic effects of ASDs in individuals with or without intellectual disability are considerable throughout life, so too should the search for more efficient and equitable use of resources span all age groups."

The research is an important analysis of the reach of ASD diagnosis. It is not limited to medical or service, it also has effects on the immediate circle of the patient including their social and financial way of life, especially in cases where there is a limited ability to be productive in adulthood. 
The research team, led by Ariane V.S. Buescher, M.Sc. of the London School of Economics and Political Science, believe that an increase in the understanding of the totality of ASD is important. That autism is expensive is something that is commonly known but this data puts an estimated numerical value on that expense. 
"Improving our understanding of how life unfolds will require a serious commitment to longitudinal, population-based data collection. For nearly seven decades, evidence from the Framingham Heart Study and other longitudinal studies has laid the foundation for our contemporary understanding of the epidemiology and treatment of cardiovascular disease. We need a Framingham Study for autism spectrum disorders, especially to track risks and outcomes into middle and later adulthood," concluded the researchers.

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