Treatment is extremely expensive. Direct medical and nonmedical costs can add up to as much as $72,000 a year for someone with an extreme case of the disorder, and even $67,000 a year for those on the lower end of the spectrum, according to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health.
That figure includes medical costs like doctor visits, prescriptions and occupational and speech therapy, as well as expenses for things like special education, camps and child care, said Michael Ganz, the author of the study, who is now a health care consultant.
“The numbers are just amazing,” said Pat Kemp, executive vice president of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, “Unless we attack this like a national health crisis, we’re going to have a huge economic crisis on our hands.”
The Ganz study is available here. As baby boomers retire, he noted, many of their adult children with autism will move into adult care.
Those costs, combined with very limited to nonexistent income for their adult children with autism combined with potentially lower levels of savings because of decreased income and benefits while employed, may create a large financial burden affecting not only those families but potentially society in general.