Autism Costs Projected To Soar
This year alone, researchers estimate that the cost of caring for Americans with autism is $268 billion and the price tag is only going up.
By 2025, costs related to the developmental disorder are forecast to reach $461 billion, according to findings published online this month in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
The projection comes from an analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, among other sources.
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For the study, health economists at the University of California, Davis estimated per-person spending and then determined national totals by factoring costs for medical services, residential care, special education, in-home care, transportation, employment support and lost productivity.
The analysis included considerations for fluctuating expenditures as people with autism age and also adjusted for the presence of co-occurring intellectual disability.
The researchers called their estimates conservative and said true costs related to autism could reach $1 trillion by 2025.
“The current costs of ASD are more than double the combined costs of stroke and hypertension and on a par with the costs of diabetes,” said Paul Leigh, a professor of public health sciences at UC Davis who led the study. “There should be at least as much public, research and government attention to finding the causes and best treatments for ASD as there is for these other major diseases.”
What’s more, Leigh said that added emphasis on early intervention for children on the spectrum as well as greater employment assistance and other supports for adults could help reduce long-term costs.