In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the economic costs of autism. A previous post described a new study on the topic.
David Gorn reports at California Healthline:
"California is one of the few states with a developmental disability department," [lead researcher Paul] Leigh said. "But of course, you could certainly argue that department is not getting enough, given these [high autism cost] numbers."
As an economist, Leigh said the strong progress shown by autism therapy "makes it a good economic investment," he said. "It costs more money now, but you spend so much less on them when they get into middle school and high school."
As a researcher, Leigh was astounded by the lack of research on autism -- in particular, a dearth of literature on cost-effective treatments and the likely causes of autism.
"I must have found 200 studies on diabetes, but on autism I found less than 10. There just weren't many studies on cost-effective treatment," Leigh said. "I almost fell off my chair when I saw that."
And one last thing, Leigh said. His research showed little care offered to adults with autism across the country, he said. "I would like to see more attention to adults with autism, so they can be employed and stay employed," he said.This passage reinforces a major theme of the book: the great uncertainty surrounding the issue.