Thursday, April 3, 2014

Autism Awareness

Every day, the millions of Americans living with autism and their families face unique and daunting challenges that many of us will never fully appreciate. During National Autism Awareness Month, we renew our commitment to better understand autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and improve the lives of individuals living with it.

ASD is a developmental disability characterized, in varying degrees, by persistent difficulties in social communication and restrictive and repetitive behaviors, interests, or activities. We know that early screening and intervention at younger ages helps children get the most effective treatments earlier in life. Yet the CDC found that most children with autism are diagnosed after age 4, even though autism can be diagnosed as early as age 2.
 
 
Because of the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans must now cover autism screening for children at 18 and 24 months – with no out-of-pocket costs.
In addition, the Affordable Care Act includes many important benefits and protections that address the health care needs of those with autism. Insurers are no longer allowed to exclude anyone with autism or charge more based on this pre-existing condition. Also, children are now able to remain on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26. And millions more families now have access to affordable quality health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

10 Related Facts:

1. About one in 68 children has been identified with it, according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.

2. ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

3. It is almost five times more common among boys (one in 42) than among girls (one in 189).

4. Studies have shown that among identical twins, if one child has autism spectrum disorder, then the other will be affected about 36 percent to 95 percent of the time. In non-identical twins, if one child has the disorder, then the other is affected about 0 percent to 31 percent of the time.

5. Parents who have a child with autism spectrum disorder have a 2 percent to 18 percent chance of having a second child who is also affected.

6. Almost half – 46 percent -- of children identified with autism spectrum disorder has average to above average intellectual ability.

7. Children born to older parents are at a higher risk for having autism spectrum disorder.

8. On average, children identified with autism spectrum disorder were not diagnosed until after age 4, even though children can be diagnosed as early as 2.

9. It is estimated to cost at least $17,000 more per year to care for a child with autism spectrum disorder than it does to care for a child without the condition. Costs include health care, education, autism-related therapy, family-coordinated services and caregiver time. For a child with more severe autism spectrum disorder, costs per year increase to over $21,000. Taken together, it is estimated that total societal costs of caring for children with autism were more than $9 billion in 2011.

10. Children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder had average medical expenditures that exceeded those without the disorder by $4,110 to $6,200 a year. On average, medical expenditures for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder were 4.1 to 6.2 times greater than for those without the condition.

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