The term autism is a broad general category of disabilities that includes Asperger's syndrome, severe mental retardation and social disability.
More children are being diagnosed with autism each year. This boils down to more children who need extra care, which is suspected to cost $3.2 million over each child's lifetime.
On the other hand, according to a recent report families with autistic children earn less money than families with children who do not suffer from developmental disabilities. In fact, the difference amounted to almost $18,000 less per year.
Why this difference? Apparently it is because mothers of autistic children either do not have a job or they work fewer hours. This is because mothers tend to be responsible for obtaining the necessary medical services for their children. Doing so requires time and energy in order to become their child's advocate and case manager. In many cases, this will mean prioritizing their child's health ahead of their jobs.
Interestingly, fathers of autistic children were just as likely to be employed, work the same amount of hours and earn the same pay as fathers of children who develop at a normal rate.
Regardless, how will families with less income be able to pay for the care needed for their children who are suffering from some form of autism?
Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits must play a role in helping families with autistic children live as normal a life as possible. If SSD assistance can help mothers put their children first and their jobs second, then their children may be able to obtain the most effective services possible, and that is certainly a step in the right direction.
Source: Reuters, "Moms of autistic children work less, earn less," Frederik Joelving, March 19, 2012