The Cost of Autism in the Billions
The thought of a disorder costing the average family thousands of dollars annually is quite frightening, let alone the overall cost of $11.5 billion in the United States. That's exactly what what said- billion. Over $11.5 billion are spent per year, according to 2011 statistics, to care for the country's autistic children. That is enough to cover part of the country's national debt, build a full-functioning city or two. The figures are scarily high and seem to be climbing by the year.
Autism in itself is a disorder that can range from the very low to the extremely-high functioning. What does this mean? A genetic disorder that has been supported by twin studies, autism can encompass everything from one being able to conduct him or herself in society with a few quirks that define the differences to growing up but having the mind of a child and the abilities of one as well. One can be a savant, while the other non-verbal and unable to care for him/herself.
Covering the Costs
According to a news article today, an autism diagnosis brings with it an annual cost of $17,081 per child. For families barely earning their daily bread, that could mean the difference between living and merely surviving. If there are two or more children diagnosed in a family, that price tag only goes up, making life extremely difficult for the average family. Too many children with autism live with single mothers as well, if the informal surveys on Facebook groups are any indication to go by. This further increases the risk of a family falling under the poverty line, as finding proper caregivers when family and friends might shun you could create living chaos in one's life.