Economics of Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Overview of Treatment and Research Funding
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Without question, autism research and treatment are big business. Autism impacts multiple aspects of the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), their families, and the communities in which they live, attend school, and engage socially and vocationally. With no easy cure or preventative measures on the horizon, the field of autism treatment has attracted a plethora of questionable industries, promoting everything from dolphin therapy to fad diets. While researchers around the globe endeavor to determine the etiology of ASD, the reality is that intervention based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) remains the only evidenced-based treatment for children with ASD. While fidelity and reliability are critical to its effectiveness, bad purveyors of ABA are ubiquitous, triggering government task forces and certificate programs as local, state, and federal governments struggle to regulate a growing multibillion-dollar business.
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