By KODEY TONEY
This week I want to talk about something a little different. While it’s not necessarily parenting advice, I feel it’s important for those of us with family members on the spectrum.
A recent article I read talked about the price of caring for Americans with autism. The data presented by the Center for Disease Control stated that the cost this year alone will be a conservative $268 billion.
In the next 10 years that number is projected to reach $461 billion, according to findings published online in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. This is due in part by the rising number people diagnosed with autism.
I understand that the budgets are very tight, and are becoming tighter all the time. However, I want to encourage legislators to put whatever they can into something I feel could help in the long run. Before I say this I would like to preface it with a warning. I’m not a politician. I don’t pretend to know the way that the world of civics work beyond a basic high school class.
That being said, I feel that as much as possible should be put into helping with early intervention and assisting with community inclusion. That is, we should help families get the services they need in therapies, special education, transition skills, and insurance assistance. If we can help children when they are younger to receive the assistance they need to live a better life, to become productive in society, and eventually give back by having a job, paying taxes and helping others, then we can save funding in the long run to assistive living costs, caregiver costs, and long term Medicaid and other medical funding.
We have families, especially in the rural areas, that need assistance with finding resources and obtaining the tools they will need to have an impact on society; to be productive.
Due to high divorce rates in families coping with disabilities, we have many single mothers, and fathers, raising children with little help financially. Many have to sacrifice their personal lives and even their careers in order to help care for their children.
We also have families like mine where both parents work full time and make just enough money to be out of reach for any assistance with the many therapies necessary to help our children.
We need better assistance for these families to help with divorce rates, insurance, respite care and child care.
This doesn’t mean that I think other areas should suffer. We still need research and other assistance, I just feel if we concentrate on these areas it will help relieve the long-term funding.
We can either pay now to help them become productive, or pay to assist them for the rest of their lives.
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