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Cost Comparison of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention and Special Education for Children with Autism

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The financial implications of the increased prevalence of autism, though rarely discussed, will be extremely important to society. We compared the costs associated with 18 years of special education to the costs associated with the implementation of an average of 3 years of Discrete Trial Training as an Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) in an effort to minimize the need for special education. Our results indicate that the state of Texas would save $208,500 per child across eighteen years of education with EIBI. When applied to the conservative estimate of 10,000 children with autism in Texas, the State would save a total of $2.09 billion with EIBI. Implications for taxpayers, policymakers, and treatment are discussed.

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The authors would like to thank Fredric M. Chasson, Jourdan Konier, Adam Kramer, Jim Palmer, and Adam Leventhal for their generous assistance with this paper.

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Correspondence to Gerald E. Harris.

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Chasson, G.S., Harris, G.E. & Neely, W.J. Cost Comparison of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention and Special Education for Children with Autism. J Child Fam Stud 16, 401–413 (2007).

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