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Autism Takes an Economic Toll on Mom's Job, Income: Study
Date:5/11/2011

"When we are thinking about developing workplace policies and insurance policies we have to take those costs into account; otherwise, that's a huge economic toll for the U.S. in general."

Commenting on the study, Dr. Jeffrey P. Brosco, a professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the associate director of the Mailman Center for Child Development, said the data is very preliminary.

"But there is a lot of research in the past that says the stress on families with children with autism is extraordinary and is even greater than that of other chronic conditions," he said. There is also a study that shows that family income goes down by about 14 percent when there is an autistic child, he added.

Brosco thinks parents of children with autism know their children well and know the best way to care for them. "It's extremely hard to find any other child care arrangement to help take care of your child," he said. "So many parents of autistic children just have to be with their child."

Having a child with autism puts an enormous burden on families, Brosco said. "It affects them in all aspects of their lives, and it wouldn't be a surprise if employment ended up being one of them," he added.

Because the study was presented at a medical meeting, its findings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

For more information on autism, visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

SOURCES: David S. Mandell, Sc.D., associate professor of mental health services research in psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Jeffrey P. Brosco, M.D., Ph.D., professor of clinical pediatrics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, associate director, Mailman Center for Child Development; May
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