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The Cost of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Curtin University, Australia.
Curtin University, Australia; Jonköping University, Sweden.
Curtin University, Australia.
Curtin University, Australia.
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2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 9, e106552- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: A diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorders is usually associated with substantial lifetime costs to an individual, their family and the community. However, there remains an elusive factor in any cost-benefit analysis of ASD diagnosis, namely the cost of not obtaining a diagnosis. Given the infeasibility of estimating the costs of a population that, by its nature, is inaccessible, the current study compares expenses between families whose children received a formal ASD diagnosis immediately upon suspecting developmental atypicality and seeking advice, with families that experienced a delay between first suspicion and formal diagnosis. Design: A register based questionnaire study covering all families with a child with ASD in Western Australia. Participants: Families with one or more children diagnosed with an ASD, totalling 521 children diagnosed with an ASD; 317 records were able to be included in the final analysis. Results: The median family cost of ASD was estimated to be AUD $ 34,900 per annum with almost 90% of the sum ($ 29,200) due to loss of income from employment. For each additional symptom reported, approximately $ 1,400 cost for the family per annum was added. While there was little direct influence on costs associated with a delay in the diagnosis, the delay was associated with a modest increase in the number of ASD symptoms, indirectly impacting the cost of ASD. Conclusions: A delay in diagnosis was associated with an indirect increased financial burden to families. Early and appropriate access to early intervention is known to improve a childs long-term outcomes and reduce lifetime costs to the individual, family and society. Consequently, a per symptom dollar value may assist in allocation of individualised funding amounts for interventions rather than a nominal amount allocated to all children below a certain age, regardless of symptom presentation, as is the case in Western Australia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library of Science , 2014. Vol. 9, no 9, e106552- p.
National Category
Basic Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114031DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106552ISI: 000347993600036PubMedID: 25191755OAI: diva2:786461

Funding Agencies|Department of Social Services (DSS); Australian Governments Cooperative Research Centres Program; DSS [RES-HEA-CRD-TB-50940]

Available from: 2015-02-05 Created: 2015-02-05 Last updated: 2015-03-30

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Falkmer, Torbjörn
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