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03rd Oct 2018

Caring for a child with autism costs €28k a year, says new Irish study

Paying for services can put a real strain on families.

Anna O'Rourke

The cost of caring for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder is now €28,000 per year, a new study has found.

Researchers at NUI Galway questioned the families of 222 children aged between two and 18 who had been clinically diagnosed with ASD.

Families with more than one child with the condition or those with children with more severe ASD are likely to incur higher costs.

The study, published this week, found that families with ASD children typically used €14,000 worth of state-funded services each year.

It showed that 15 per cent of children with ASD are part of lone-parent families, which are most likely to be at risk of poverty.

The research took into account paying for specialist private services, lost income and informal care.

Caring for a child with autism costs €28k a year, says new Irish study

The findings highlight how much financial pressure the condition puts on families, lead researcher Áine Roddy of the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway said.

“The study shows that access to autism spectrum disorders services in Ireland is overly dependent on the ability of families to pay for those services and places substantial financial hardship on families already facing many challenges in meeting the complex needs of children with an ASD,” she said.

“The study provides valuable insights into a neglected area of research,” added Professor Ciaran O’Neill, Adjunct Professor of Health Economics at NUI Galway, co-author on the paper.

“The findings should spur policy makers in Ireland to rethink the support provided to children with ASD and their families.”