By Lisa Ackerman
Another report just released outlines that autism costs families MILLIONS (1.) Sadly at TACA, not a day goes by without providing best practices to help families understand who pays for what and how to obtain what their child needs to make meaningful progress. Much of the TACA website content is focused on autism on a budget. We take the time to educate families because much of the burden of raising a child with autism is directly placed on the parents of children.
According to a statement provided to Jonathan Berr from MSN Money:
“Even if no new instances of autism occurred starting today, the number of adults who would potentially turn to the human services delivery system for services and/or supports by 2030 will be 500% higher than it is today.”
We know that the numbers are getting worse. The previous autism incidence increase had been released just over one year ago (2.) As per new statistics just revealed last week by the CDC, 1 in 50 children have autism in the United States. We need to change TACA graphics again and reprint our materials – just one year later.
Last April 2012, we surveyed the TACA membership (2,000 members participated) regarding how much is being spent for autism-related costs for their children. We shared the results in an article “The Annual Cost of Autism” (3.) As part of the survey results, we found that TACA families spend an average of $27,000 per family yearly resulting in over $50,000,000 in annual out of pocket expenses. The annual total of $50,000,000 is just for those 2,000 TACA families! Some of these families were spending more than their annual take-home pay for basic services like behavioral, medical care and speech therapies.
It is important to note that an estimated 80% of those living with autism are ages 22 years or younger. We don’t have enough data to calculate the lifetime costs of autism. Based on what we know today, it is estimated that these costs are $3-5 million per affected individual. Sadly, with articles highlighting the increase of costs, we don’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon.
Treatment should not be dictated based on your family’s savings or wallet. For centuries, communities have taken care of our society members in most need. Each younger generation is there to help our older generation. What happens when the younger generation isn’t able to do so?
The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.
We need to act.
Once again, at TACA, we agree – the costs that families face are incredible. Many families are choosing between housing costs over autism therapy and medical expenses for their child. They should not be faced with that CHOICE. The hardship endured by families and individuals living with autism can’t be measured. Those costs are much higher.
We are gearing up for Autism ACTION month. Now, more than ever, our community needs to take action to drive positive change. It will take change to make change. Everyone can be part of it (4.)
1) MSN: How autism can cost families millions: http://money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?post=00d9751b-dad1-4d2a-b3ea-01287216ce21
2) Autism affects 1 in 50 U.S. Children http://www.tacanow.org/category/news/
3) The Annual Cost of Autism https://tacanowblog.com/2012/05/31/the-annual-cost-of-autism/
4) Activate: Autism ACTION Month http://www.tacanow.org/ways-to-help/autism-awareness/
Resources for Families:
Who Pays for What http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/who-pays-for-what-a-guide/
TACA Autism on Budget series http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/autism-on-a-budget-series/
I have jokingly called my son Steve Austin – he was a character on the show “Six Million Dollar Man”
No joke, here, just $1.3M in 10 years, with a lifetime to go…
Wow! It will take years to catch up with these kinds of numbers. I hope that Mendability can play a part in that. Have you thought of what the ideal solution looked like? If you had a magic wand, what would the ideal solution to the cost of autism be? The cost only, not even talking about the myriad of other issues parents face every day.