Service and Wider Societal Costs of Very Young Children with Autism in the UK
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- Barrett, B., Byford, S., Sharac, J. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2012) 42: 797. doi:10.1007/s10803-011-1306-x
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Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are associated with a substantial economic burden, but there is little evidence of the costs in the early years; the period in which children are increasingly likely to be diagnosed. We describe the services used by 152 children aged 24–60 months with autism, report family out-of-pocket expenses and productivity losses, and explore the relationship between family characteristics and costs. Children received a wide range of hospital and community services including relatively high levels of contact with speech and language therapists and paediatricians. Total service costs varied greatly (mean £430 per month; range £53 to £1,116), with some families receiving little statutory support. Higher costs were associated with increasing age and symptom severity.