A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has shown that families with at least one child diagnosed with autism earn 28 percent less than families without an autistic child. Further, the study found that parents of autistic kids earn 21 percent less than families where a child has a different health limitation.
The income discrepancy among families with a child with autism is likely due to mothers leaving the workforce and taking lower-paying jobs, said study co-author David Mandell.
These mothers aren't just staying at home to take care of their children with autism, says Mandell, associate director of the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania. They're on the phone arguing with their insurance company about getting services, going to multiple meetings about school, and shuttling kids from provider after provider.
"It's not that caring for a child with autism is more difficult per se than caring for a child with cerebral palsy, for example, or intellectual disability," said Mandell, associate director of the Center for Autism Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "But the service system for kids with autism is not as well defined. There's not as much appropriate treatment available for these kids."
Approximately 1 in 110 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder.
Image: Financial statement, via Shutterstock.