There was a study in 2006 that showed the economic costs associated with autism were $35 billion a year. Treatment for a preschool child with autism typically costs over $50,000 a year. The New York Times has estimated that only 10% of afflicted children are getting those services, and as a nation we’re letting down 25,000 more children every year.
Autism is not getting the financial support it needs. In 2005 the National Institutes of Health dedicated only 0.3% of its budget to autism. Though recently the Senate authorized $1 billion for autism research, autism is still behind in private funding. And the number of children diagnosed on the autistic spectrum is growing.
- Leukemia affects one in every 25,000 and has $310 million in private funding.
- Pediatric AIDS affects one in 8,000 and has $394 million in private funding.
- Autism now affects about one in 50, and has only $15 million in private funding.
It’s time to acknowledge that we have a childhood epidemic on our hands, and if we don’t address this we’ll soon have an unprecedented number of autistic girls and boys reaching adulthood with need for support that we’re not in a position to provide.