Autism is a very serious disease that affects brain development. The Autism Speaks website does a fabulous job explaining exactly what Autism is, and how not only children with Autism are affected, but how the families who have a child with Autism cope with making sure their child has a great life.
Autism is also more common than many would believe. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I learned the following:
– Studies have shown that among identical twins, if one child has an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), then the other will be affected about 60-96% of the time. In non-identical twins, if one child has an ASD, then the other is affected about 0-24% of the time
– Parents who have a child with an ASD have a 2%–8% chance of having a second child who is also affected
– It is estimated that about 10% of children with an ASD have an identifiable genetic, neurologic or metabolic disorder, such as fragile X or Down syndrome. As we learn more about genetics, the number of children with an ASD and an identifiable genetic condition will likely increase.
– About 40% of children with an ASD do not talk at all. Another 25%–30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Others may speak, but not until later in childhood.
– Recent studies have estimated that the lifetime cost to care for an individual with an ASD is $3.2 million
– Individuals with an ASD had average medical expenditures that exceeded those without an ASD by $4,110–$6,200 per year. On average, medical expenditures for individuals with an ASD were 4.1–6.2 times greater than for those without an ASD. Differences in median expenditures ranged from $2,240 to $3,360 per year with median expenditures 8.4–9.5 times greater.
This information tells us that the children who suffer from Autism are not the only ones dealing with it. Every family with a child that has Autism suffers. The financial and psychological impact that this disease brings to families is so immense, and there is little or nothing we, as a society, can do to bring comfort to these groups of people. The rate of children with Autism is growing exponentially, and it is currently at an all time high, and with the right financial resources, we can help ease these families and prevent further stress to find a cure and help more children live out normal lives.