Lifetime support for patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) ranges from a cost of 1.4 million US dollars to 2.4 million dollars in the United States and the United Kingdom, a new US study said Monday.
The study, published online in the US journal JAMA Pediatrics, found that costs for a person with ASD and an intellectual disability reaches 2.4 million dollars in the United States and 2. 2 million dollars in the United Kingdom.
Costs for those who have ASD without an intellectual disability are estimated to cost 1.4 million dollars in both the US and the U.K., according to the study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that leads to significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. The disorders can be associated with significant functional impairment and result in high financial costs for families.
"We sought to look at the overall economic affect of ASDs, not just the cost of caring for this population, but also the costs of individual and parental productivity loss across both the US and the U.K.," senior author David Mandell, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a statement.
"We also separated out those with intellectual disabilities (ID) , as the presence of ID may significantly influence costs."
The team, which also included investigators from the London School of Economics, analyzed existing literature in both countries, updating and supplementing as needed to estimate the cost of accommodation, medical and non-medical services, special education, employment support and productivity loss.
According to the researchers, the number of people with ASD is estimated at 3.54 million in the US and about 600,000 in the U.K.
"These numbers provide important information that can help policy makers and advocacy organizations make decisions about how to allocate resources to best serve this population," said Mandell.
"Of particular importance is that one of the largest costs was parents' lost wages. This finding makes it imperative that we examine how high-quality intervention can reduce burden on families, allowing them to stay in the work force. It also suggests the need for policies that make the work place more friendly to families of children with disabilities."