Cost of Support for People with Autism Over Lifetime

Author: The JAMA Network Journals
Published: 2014/06/09 - Updated: 2021/07/06
Contents: Summary - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: This study presents the most comprehensive estimates to date of the financial costs of ASDs in the United States and the United Kingdom. ASD is a neuro-developmental disorder marked by impaired social ability, especially communication, and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. Lifetime support for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) ranges from a cost of $1.4 million to $2.4 million in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Introduction

This study was supported by Autism Speaks. Estimates for the United Kingdom were built on previous research funded by the Steve Shirley Foundation.

Main Digest

Bottom Line:

Lifetime support for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) ranges from a cost of $1.4 million to $2.4 million in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Author:

Ariane V.S. Buescher, M.Sc., of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and colleagues.

Background:

ASD is a neuro-developmental disorder marked by impaired social ability, especially communication, and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. The disorders can be associated with significant functional impairment and result in high financial costs for families. The economic effect of ASDs on individuals with the disorder, their families, and society as a whole is poorly understood and has not been updated in light of recent findings.

How the Study Was Conducted:

The authors conducted a literature review of U.S. and U.K. studies on patients with ASD and their families in 2013 to examine costs and economic impact.

Results:

Conclusion:

"This study presents the most comprehensive estimates to date of the financial costs of ASDs in the United States and the United Kingdom. These costs are much higher than previously suggested. There is also an urgent need for a better understanding of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions and support arrangements that address the needs and respond to the preferences of individuals with ASDs and their families. Because the economic effects of ASDs in individuals with or without intellectual disability are considerable throughout life, so too should the search for more efficient and equitable use of resources span all age groups."

JAMA Pediatr. Published online June 9, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.210

Editorial:

Moving Toward Innovation, Investment Mindset

In a related editorial, Paul T. Shattuck, Ph.D., and Anne M. Roux, M.P.H., of Drexel University, Philadelphia write:

"A defining feature of the lives of many people on the autism spectrum is a lifetime of engagement with service systems providing health and therapeutic interventions, education and training, and other societal supports."

"Therefore, getting an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis is not just a medical experience or a service encounter. For the person with autism, diagnosis is a doorway into a social role as a potential lifelong service user. For families, an autism diagnosis can also mean a lifetime of absorbing many of the financial and care-giving burdens associated with the disorder, especially in adulthood when the availability of societal support diminishes."

"Improving our understanding of how life unfolds will require a serious commitment to longitudinal, population-based data collection. For nearly seven decades, evidence from the Framingham Heart Study and other longitudinal studies has laid the foundation for our contemporary understanding of the epidemiology and treatment of cardiovascular disease. We need a Framingham Study for autism spectrum disorders, especially to track risks and outcomes into middle and later adulthood," they conclude.

JAMA Pediatr. Published online June 9, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.585.

Attribution/Source(s):

This quality-reviewed publication titled Cost of Support for People with Autism Over Lifetime was selected for publishing by Disabled World's editors due to its relevance to the disability community. While the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or brevity, it was originally authored by The JAMA Network Journals and published 2014/06/09 (Edit Update: 2021/07/06). For further details or clarifications, you can contact The JAMA Network Journals directly at uphs.upenn.edu Disabled World does not provide any warranties or endorsements related to this article.

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