Friday, December 05, 2008

Clinic Notes: The Cost of Autism

According to a recent Schafer Report article, over half a million families who have a child with autism are having financial problems. They pay more for autism treatment than parents of children who have other chronic diseases. I am not surprised. In my clinic I see this everyday. Children with autism need ABA, which insurance companies call "experimental" and do not want to pay for. School systems do not want to pay either even though ABA is the most effective treatment. Sending teachers to an ABA workshop is enough they tell parents. Of course, OT, SLP, and other therapies are also necessary and expensive. And these therapies may be needed for years. If we can start these therapies early we can mainstream many kids with autism and ultimately save money if these children can become self-supporting as many can. Hopefully, the new administration's health care plan will provide some relief to these families.

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