Original Paper

Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 247-264

First online:

Financial Issues Associated with Having a Child with Autism

  • Deanna L. SharpeAffiliated withPersonal Financial Planning Department, University of Missouri-Columbia Email author 
  • , Dana Lee BakerAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science and Criminal Justice, Washington State University

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Data from the Family Experiences with Autism Survey are used to identify factors associated with financial problems in families that have a child with autism. Likelihood of financial problems was positively associated with use of medical interventions, having unreimbursed medical or therapy expenses, and having relatively lower income. Use of speech and language therapy was negatively associated with likelihood of financial problems. Many survey respondents forfeited future financial security and even experienced bankruptcy to provide needed therapy for a child with autism. Specific ways that financial advisors can help families that have a child with autism are outlined.


Autism Caregiving Financial burden Special needs planning