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The Economic Costs of Autism: A Review 

The Economic Costs of Autism: A Review
The Economic Costs of Autism: A Review

Djesika Amendah

, Scott D. Grosse

, Georgina Peacock

, and David S. Mandell

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date: 01 March 2021

Most U.S.-based studies of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-related costs estimate medical expenditures at between 3% and 5% of the total. Few studies have evaluated nonmedical costs, including productivity costs incurred by persons with ASDs or their parents. Most estimates of nonmedical costs have relied on data from European countries, which are not necessarily representative of the United States. Published estimates of total lifetime costs for a child with an ASD, including an often-cited estimate of $3.2 million rely on speculative assumptions. This chapter assesses these assumptions in the light of available data. It reviews both the peer-reviewed literature and additional sources for information on the costs of care for individuals with ASDs, with a focus on the United States. It takes a lifespan approach and construes costs broadly to incorporate those of individuals with ASDs and their families. It also makes recommendations regarding the next steps in assessing costs of care for individuals with these complex lifelong disorders.

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