Autism Costs U.S. Billions of Dollars Each Year

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The annual cost of supporting U.S. children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is between $236 billion and $262 billion, depending on the prevalence of associated intellectual disabilities, researchers estimated.

On an individual basis, the lifetime cost of an autism spectrum disorder ranged from $1.43 million to $2.44 million, again depending on the presence or absence of an intellectual disability, according to David Mandell, ScD, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues. Reported in JAMA Pediatrics.

ASDs are often associated with important functional impairments, as well as persistent "health, social, and financial costs for individuals with ASDs, their families, and society as a whole," Mandell and colleagues noted.

Rising numbers of people diagnosed with an ASD "emphasize the urgent need for accurate estimates of the economic effect of ASDs."Based on a literature review conducted in 2013, the new study contains "the most comprehensive estimates to date of the financial costs of ASDs in the United States and the United Kingdom," the authors stated. "These costs are much higher than previously suggested."

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Autism Costs U.S. Billions of Dollars Each Year
The annual cost of supporting U.S. children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is between $236 billion and $262 billion, depending on the prevalence of associated intellectual disabilities, researchers estimated. Lifetime costs are similar in the United Kingdom, although a lower number of people with ASDs reduces the annual costs, Mandell and colleagues reported online in JAMA Pediatrics.
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