Autism Can Costs Families $2.4M

A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics estimates that having a child with autism can cost families as much as $2.4 million over a lifetime. These numbers suggest that autism is one of the most expensive disorders for a family and is ripe with indirect costs, such as parents sacrificing incomes to care for their children. When these children grow up, their own lost productivity and lack of job opportunities also create financial loss. “These costs are much higher than previously suggested,” the researchers write. The cost drops to $1.4 million if the individual on the autism spectrum does not have intellectual disabilities, but that’s still a high price. “My hope is that this is the beginning of a conversation—not the end,” said David Mandell, the study’s senior author. He also stressed the need to become more efficient about delivering services to families and ensuring better care in childhood to pre-emptively alleviate costly long-term problems in adulthood. “We often talk about the cost of care, and we don’t spend much time talking about the cost of not caring.”