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This Month in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
April 2007

This Month in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(4):322. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.4.322

Little is known about the societal costs of autism at different points in the life cycle. This study used cross-sectional data from different age groups to estimate the direct medical, direct nonmedical, and the indirect (lost productivity) costs associated with autism. The lifetime incremental societal cost of autism is $3.2 million per affected person, approximately $35 billion dollars for an entire birth cohort. Direct medical costs are highest in the first 5 years of life, while direct nonmedical and indirect costs peak around 25 years of age. Direct medical care costs account for less than 10% of the total expenditures; lost productivity and adult care make up the largest components of the costs.