Video: Carolyn Dudley details the staggering costs faced by families with children with autism and what policy measures would help alleviate this financial burden.
CALGARY, Jan. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - A report published today by The School of
Public Policy identifies staggering costs associated with autism and
advocates increased support for families dealing with this challenge.
"An autism diagnosis of a high-needs child at age two represents the
equivalent of telling the family that they must make an immediate
lump-sum investment on that day of $1.6 million, invested at a
five-per-cent return, to pay for the lifetime costs of care and support
their loved one will require," write Herb Emery and Carolyn Dudley, the
These numbers form only a part of the authors' analysis, which charts
lifetime support-care needs and costs for three hypothetical
individuals living with varying degrees of autism spectrum disorder
(ASD). The annual value of caregiver time for a "high-needs" case is
$158,359. For a moderate-needs case it is $82,769 per year and for a
lower-needs case it is $30,711 per year.
The authors argue that regardless of the case, costs are often
underestimated by society and government, and families are left
shouldering most of the burden.
"A scan of provincial programs finds a patchwork of unequal and
incomplete supports for individuals living with autism spectrum
disorders. Gaps are particularly evident once individuals leave the
public school system, where they are at least provided with some form
of day support. Sufficient adult day supports, evening and night
supports, quality group homes, the availability of properly trained
caregivers and respite services, recreational activities,
post-secondary opportunities and employment supports all suffer varying
levels of inadequacy across the country," the authors write.
Emery and Dudley identify several approaches to relieve pressure on
families. Increasing the current annual caregiver tax credit of $300 is
one option. Government can also show its support by providing funding
to help boost the supply of caregivers and care centres. Introducing
autonomy insurance, which has already been proposed in Quebec, is
another government initiative that could assist adults with
Removing the IQ screen for eligibility of services at age 18, which
exists in some provinces, is another measure endorsed by the authors.
This would help individuals living with ASD who have higher IQ but lack
functional skills of independence. Offering these individuals support
could assist them in gaining employment, which would eat into the
overall costs associated with their disorder.
The report can be found at http://www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/?q=content/value-caregiver-time-costs-support-and-care-individuals-living-autism-spectrum-disorder
Video with caption: "Video: Carolyn Dudley details the staggering costs faced by families with children with autism and what policy measures would help alleviate this financial burden.". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20140115_C9045_VIDEO_EN_35565.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20140115_C9045_PHOTO_EN_35565.jpg&clientName=The%20School%20of%20Public%20Policy%20%2D%20University%20of%20Calgary&caption=Video%3A%20Carolyn%20Dudley%20details%20the%20staggering%20costs%20faced%20by%20families%20with%20children%20with%20autism%20and%20what%20policy%20measures%20would%20help%20alleviate%20this%20financial%20burden%2E&title=THE%20SCHOOL%20OF%20PUBLIC%20POLICY%20%2D%20UNIVERSITY%20OF%20CALGARY%20%2D%20Families%20with%20children%20with%20autism%20face%20staggering%20costs%20%2D%20report&headline=Families%20with%20children%20with%20autism%20face%20staggering%20costs%20%2D%20report
SOURCE: The School of Public Policy - University of Calgary
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