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Autism in the UK costs more than $41 billion every year, shows new research
Date:5/18/2009

billion each year. Lifetime costs for someone with autism were calculated as 0.8 million for someone with autism without intellectual disability, and 1.2 million for someone with autism who was also intellectually disabled (50 percent higher).

Significant costs were attributed to public services. For children, the highest costs were for special education, health and social care and respite care. 95 percent of the total national cost for children was accounted for by services funded by the state, and 5 percent by family expenses.

For adults, the largest cost elements were staffed/supported accommodation, lost productivity because the individual with ASD was not employed, and hospital services. For non-intellectually disabled adults, the largest elements were lost productivity for the individual, hospital costs, and lost productivity for parents. 59 percent of the total was attributable to publicly funded services, 36 percent to lost employment for the individual with ASD, and the remaining 5 percent to family expenses.

The researchers suggest that the high costs associated with supporting adults with ASD warrant attention, supporting calls for wider provisions of early interventions with children and young people with ASD, which have been shown to alter patterns of behaviour. They also call on the government to review policy frameworks for supporting those with ASDs, in particular reviewing support for independent living and for increasing productivity.

The researchers however caution that the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of intervention must be evaluated further. They add, "given the autistic spectrum includes a number of disorders and a wide range of needs, symptoms and characteristics, it is likely that a wide range of behavioural, educational and medical interventions could be required in order to meet some or all individual needs."

They conclude, "the costs presented in this paper certainly do not provide an e
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Contact: Mithu Mukherjee
mithu.mukherjee@sagepub.co.uk
44-207-324-2223
SAGE Publications UK
Source:Eurekalert

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