The financial burden that autism puts on families is unspeakable! I don't discuss the financial part a lot because I don't feel comfortable doing so. However, there needs to be an awareness raised in this world about the cost of autism. Getting help for your child isn't life or death when it comes to autism but it is a matter of how functional of a life you want for your child. It is so sad that families who want the best for their child are forced to go into poverty in order to get the help their child needs. In 2015 alone, the cost of getting Trenton the help he needed was well into the 6 figure digits. That is not even college tuition for one year! Families of "normal" children get that free education for their child and then send them off to college but I guarantee no one pays what we do for one year of college. However, I am very thankful that I live in a country where I can get him the help that he needs.
The following is some really great information from www.myasdf.org
Today’s economy is rough on families around the country, but there are some who are impacted more than others. Having a child with autism is an emotional, physical, and fiscal feat. Parents of autistic children have additional expenditures that can turn a middle-income family into a low-income family in a matter of months. Unfortunately, poverty amongst families with an autistic child is growing in the United States at a rapid rate, and there are not enough government-funded programs available to assist them. Families with autistic children do have options and assistance, but from privately funded organizations.
The Financial Impact of a Child With Autism
Many people do not know the costs associated with raising a child with autism. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every 68 children is diagnosed with a form of autism. The severe financial strain associated with the diagnosis does not help the fact that the families with autistic children generally earn 28 percent less than families with non-autistic children.
Typical costs for an autistic child include, but are not limited to:
- The loss of one parent’s income: Autistic children require around-the-clock care and stimulation. Though this can be done by a caregiver, many parents choose to quit their job and stay home to care for their autistic child. In a two-parent family, that means one parent must shoulder the burden of earning enough money to support the family and the extensive cost of care.
- Specialty schooling: Children with autism often cannot attend the same classes or schools as non-autistic children. This is because they require different learning environments and instruction. Specialty schools, tutors, and teachers can cost families several hundred dollars per month—or thousands per year.
- Special activities: It has been shown that specialized activities with other autistic children help those with autism learn to function in a non-autistic environment. These activities include special camps, swimming lessons, and social events, but these activities can be expensive. Parents can spend hundreds of dollars annually sending their children to these special events that are imperative for the social development of their child.
- Special equipment: Autistic children require specialized equipment to learn. Recent studies have shown that iPads help autistic children relate to the world, learn, and socialize in a non-confrontational environment. Parents who wish to provide their child with an iPad can expect to spend upwards of $500 for the most basic model.
- Lacking health coverage: Health insurance has not caught up with the times. Unfortunately, many health insurance plans exclude treatment for autism or outright refuse to cover behavioral-related therapy because it is considered “educational” rather than medical. By denying coverage, parents are left to pay these treatment costs out-of-pocket, which can be several hundred dollars per visit, and visits can occur several times per week. Occupational and emotional therapy, for example, costs an average of $150 per session, which parents must pay themselves.