Study finds families spend $34,000 per year on autism therapies

WESTERN AUSTRALIA – A paper published in this month’s edition of the journal PLOS ONE has established the median cost of treatment and therapy for a child diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder to be $34,000 per year. This is a huge amount of money for any parent with a child on the autism spectrum.

Dr Falkner one of the authors of the paper stated on the abc.net Australia news site:

“The majority of that cost, 90 per cent of it … is because of the lack of the chance to have employment because parents have to stay home and take care of the children with autism, because they don’t get the support they need,”

Support group coordinators for the parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders feel this may be an underestimate of expenses for most families. Most children are supposed to have between 20 and 40 hours of therapy a week. Presently a Centerlink carer’s allowance is $115 for a fortnight and this does not even come close to what is needed.

There are also emotional and psychological costs of the diagnosis that impacts upon families, that is well beyond just financial issues.

One parent is quoted as saying:

“It’s certainly not that simple because its a 24 hour a day job being a parent of an autistic child”,

The paper entitled The Cost of Autism Spectrum Disorders by Horlin, C, et al can be read here

 The original article by Rebecca Trigger on the abc.net Australia news website can be read here