Galway study finds families raising a child with autism face €28,000 in costs a year

Galway Daily news NUIG autism services study finds unmet needs

A new study at NUI Galway has found that families raising a child with autism face €28,000 in costs from private care, lost income, and informal care.

The study into the economic impact of Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorders in Ireland makes the case that much more state investment is needed in autism services.

In contrast with the private bills they run up, the study found that families only consume €14,000 of state funded services.

Áine Roddy from NUIG’s School of Business and lead author of the study said that the results show that more support is needed for families raising a child with autism.

“The study shows that access to autism spectrum disorders services in Ireland is overly dependent on the ability of families to pay for those services,” she said.

She added that it, “places substantial financial hardship on families already facing many challenges in meeting the complex needs of children with an ASD.”

Families with children more severely affected on the spectrum of autism disorders face higher costs, as did single parent families or families with more than one child.

The study was based on a national survey carried out by NUI Galway together with Queen’s University Belfast and funded by the Irish Research Council and Autism Ireland.

The survey found that 15% of children on the autistic spectrum were from single parent families who faced particular challenges in meeting needs.

Professor Ciaran O’Neill, Adjunct Professor of Health Economics at NUI Galway and co-author of the paper said:

“The study provides valuable insights into a neglected area of research. The findings should spur policy makers in Ireland to rethink the support provided to children with ASD and their families.”