New report says autism costs US $126 billion annually

    Autism costs the U.S. $126 billion each year, that’s according to a new study released by the advocacy organization “Autism Speaks.”

    Individual life-time costs for caring for people with Autism were $2.3 million for people who had intellectual disability in addition to Autism, and $1.4 million for those who had autism but no intellectual disability.

    Healthcare, education, intervention services all contribute to this multi-billion-dollar figure, as do lost wages for parents who quit jobs to take care of their children with autism.

    Dr. David Mandell of the University of Pennsylvania is one of the lead authors for this study. He says the biggest costs for autism are in adulthood.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    “The residential needs of adults with autism are part of this,” said Mandell, “and even more importantly that we have not been successful in developing programs that help adults with autism become productive members of the workforce.”

    Mandell says in addition to more programs for adults living with autism, better and more accessible early intervention could also help reduce the overall costs.

    Mandell says caring for people with Autism is an ethical and moral question, and should not come down to economical costs. Doing this cost analysis is a way to get policy makers, service providers and healthcare experts to discuss more effective ways of providing services.

    Just-released data from a national survey of 8-year-olds from the Centers for Disease Control state that 1 in 88 children have autism. That is a 78 percent increase from a 2002 survey.

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal