It should be no surprise to anyone that caring for a child with an autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is expensive and demanding. A previous report has stated that the direct medical and nonmedical costs of caring for a child with autism can range from $67,000 to $72,000 a year.
Another study that appeared in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in 2007 estimated that the "the lifetime per capita incremental societal cost of autism is $3.2 million."
A new study that will be published in the April issue of Pediatrics, "Implications of Childhood Autism for Parental Employment and Earnings," has found that "childhood autism has substantial economic impact on families."
This isn't just about the high cost of caring for a child with autism, like previous studies. Instead, it describes the fact that "On average, mothers of children with ASD earn 35 percent less than the mothers of children with another health limitation, and 56 percent less than mothers of children with no health limitation. They are 6 percent less likely to be employed, and work an average of 7 hours less per week than mothers of children with no health limitation."
It is not hard to see that these families have "a significant economic burden for families of children with ASD, especially given that these families face substantial health care expenses."
The study suggests that "it is essential to design both universal health care and workplace policies that recognize the full impact of autism, as well as targeted policies and resources to alleviate costs for the families with greatest needs."