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Autism Tough On Finances And Emotions

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 11:35 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Precription Drugs, Protecting Your Family, Parenting, Autism


IMAGE SOURCE:© Wikimedia Commons/ Autism brain / author: Eubulides

Many parents of children with autism share an overwhelming concern about life-long support their special needs child will need to be independent.

A survey conducted by Easter Seals of 1,652 parents of children with autism and 917 parents with typically developing children, found three quarters of parents worry that their autistic child will never be able to get a job or have enough financial support to get by after the parents die.

Parenting an autistic child presents many challenges; at the forefront of the list is financial stress, with 52 percent of parents saying the family’s finances are drained – from therapy not covered by insurance to quitting work to care for their children.

“When we compare autism to other disabilities, the disparity is greater,” says Patricia Wright, national director of autism services for Easter Seals, an organization that provides services for people with disabilities.

The study found, parents of autistic children are more concerned than parents of typically developing children — nearly 80 percent say they’re extremely or very concerned about their child’s independence as an adult, compared to only 32 percent of other parents. This is especially true when it comes to their financial independence, quality of life, social and inter-personal connections, and employment and housing opportunities

We have a good idea how to accommodate physical disabilities – when blind person can’t see we know they need a Braille sign. When a person is in a wheelchair, we know they need a ramp. But with autism, the disability comes in the form of communication and social skills. “Having a colleague that would never make direct eye?” asks Wright. “Our society is not nearly as accommodating to their needs.”

That social deficit is just as hurtful for parents. A child with leukemia, while in pain, can give parents an emotional connection that will help them to get through the darkest of days. An autistic child most likely will not be able to communicate such feelings.

Autism is a growing public health crisis, and families are desperate for solutions and resources. In January, Easter Seals will be holding workshops around the country that will help parents to make that happen.

An estimated one out of every 150 U.S. children has autism, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Autism is a brain disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate, form relationships, and respond to the environment. Individuals can have mild, moderate or severe autism.

Some people with autism are highly functional while others are mentally retarded, mute, or have severe problems with language. It is generally accepted that autism is caused by abnormalities in brain structures or functions. #

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