Autistic Children Require More Money, Time

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The more than half a million U.S. children who have autism have health care needs that are more costly and time-intensive than children with other chronic ailments, according to a Maternal and Child Health Bureau study published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The study, which surveyed almost 40,000 children with special health care needs between 2005 and 2006, found that 2,088 of those children had autism. That figure translates to about 535,000 U.S. children with autism between ages three and 17, according to the study. Parents of those children were found to be three times more likely to quit their jobs or reduce work hours to care for their children than parents of children with other chronic diseases.

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The study also found that these parents spend more on care for their children, are more likely to have money difficulties and spend more time arranging for care, according to the AP/Chronicle.

Michael Kogan, the study's lead author and a researcher with MCHB, said the study is the first national study to analyze the impact on families of children with special health care needs. He added that a child with autism often needs more types of treatment than children with other chronic diseases, which may explain the disparity in money and time spent on care (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 12/1).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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