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Mothers of Kids With Autism Earn Less, Study Shows
Date:3/19/2012

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- Mothers of children with autism and autism spectrum disorders earn significantly less than what mothers of children who have no health limitations earn, a new study has found.

These moms even earn less than mothers of children with other health limitations.

Mothers of children with autism earned, on average, less than $21,000 a year, the researchers found. That was 56 percent less than mothers whose children had no health limitations and 35 percent less than mothers whose children had other health limitations.

In addition, moms who have children with autism are 6 percent less likely to be employed, and work an average of seven hours less per week than mothers of children with no health limitations, the study found.

While the researchers did not find differences in fathers' incomes, the overall income in families that have children with autism suffers, said lead researcher David Mandell, associate director of the Center for Autism Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and associate director of the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.

"Families of children with autism experience a 28 percent reduction in income compared to families with typically developing children," he said. The family incomes of parents whose children have autism is also less, 21 percent, than those whose children have other health limitations, Mandell found.

The study is published online March 19 and in the April print issue of Pediatrics.

For the study, Mandell and his colleagues looked at data from the 2002-2008 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. This ongoing survey of U.S. households collects detailed information on medical conditions, health services use and expenditure, and other data.

The researchers looked at 261 children with autism spectrum
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