What California Data Tell Us About Autism Prevalence—and Prevention • Children’s Health Defense
With national autism prevalence conservatively estimated at somewhere between one in thirty-six to one in forty 3- to 17-year-olds, families, school districts and state governments are buckling under the financial pressure of ensuring that those with ASD—both children and, increasingly, young adults aging out of childhood services—obtain needed medical, educational, occupational and other support. An analysis of non-medical costs paid by the California DDS in 2012-2013 for persons with ASD found that the Department spent roughly $26,500 per person annually for those over age 18, particularly for adults with both ASD and intellectual disability, and particularly for community care facilities.
A California policy analyst has described rising special education costs “in all areas of the state and for reasons that appear to be largely outside the control of [school] districts and the decisions that they’re making.” At the national level, political economists now forecast “catastrophic” ASD-related costs for families and society, and all the more so if the CDC data expected at the end of March reveal—as they have done every two years for decades—another rise in ASD prevalence.
…“there is an urgent need to understand what [these] wealthy California parents are doing or have access to that may be lowering their children’s risk.” … also “an equally urgent need to understand the factors that may lead to increased risk of ASD among lower income populations”