A diagnosis of autism can not only be shocking for a family’s emotions but their pocketbook too. A shock in the pocketbook can be caused by the estimated $60,000 per year* after the initial diagnosis. Why is having a child affected by autism so expensive?
The increase of financial responsibility is sometimes caused by the (potential) need for privatized schooling, specialized learning equipment, various therapies, and other supports provided for individuals with autism. As years continue to go by, the pile-up of expenses only gets larger unless early interventions are implemented (note that various interventions/therapies may not suit everyone, and that is okay). However, enrolling your child in multiple treatments or supports early will encourage independent living later in life.
According to research provided by Ontario’s Autism Intervention Program on how early interventions such as ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis, the most sought-after therapy for children with autism) therapy, Occupational therapy, and even swimming lessons can increase the amount of “DFLYS.”
Dependency-Free Life Years, or DFLYS, are the years after an autism diagnosis that a child can be independent (or more independent) financially or caretaking-wise. However, many people do not have insurance coverage or can put their children into these various interventions, making DFLYS appear to be moving further and further away.
To reel these DFLYS back in, organizations like Hope For Three can aid families in providing children vital therapies and supports. The big picture for families, organizations, and therapies is to increase the quality of life and independence in any way possible because children with autism deserve to have as much of a “normal” life as possible. Covering the initial cost of autism and placing children into their specialized therapies may be expensive now, but eventually, that cost may pay off in DFLYS. Parents, family, and caregivers, please do not hesitate to apply for assistance at Hope For Three or any organization similar. It takes a village to raise any child, but it takes additional outside sources and support to raise a child on the autism spectrum. You can apply, or learn more about our Family Assistance programs at www.hopeforhree.org/programs/family-assistance – or call 281.245.0640
*Autism Speaks: On average, autism costs an estimated $60,000 a year through childhood, with the bulk of the costs in special services and lost wages related to increased demands on one or both parents.