“These costs are much higher than previously suggested,” the researchers noted. Costs were also surprisingly similar in the two countries, despite the differences between their health care systems. Direct nonmedical costs, such as for special education, and indirect costs, such as for lost parental productivity, are the largest contributors to total costs in both countries across all age groups. For adults with ASD, the highest costs came from residential care or supportive-living accommodations and from loss of individual productivity. Other direct medical costs are higher, too, especially among adults.
In a related editorial, Paul Shattuck, Ph.D., and Ann Roux, M.P.H., praise the study for breaking new ground and called for viewing costs as investments and then measuring long-term outcomes across the lifespan.
To read more in Psychiatric News about autism across the lifespan, see the articles, "Teens, Adults With Autism Need More Support" and "Adult ASD Knowledge Expands Rapidly." For more information about ASD, see American Psychiatric Publishing's Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
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