There have been a couple of interesting articles out recently that talk about the numbers of individuals with autism in the United States and the cost of autism.
One article suggested that autism isn’t really on the rise, it is just a reclassification of individuals who would have previously been diagnosed with an intellectual disability.
This is quite a significant shift of thought from the CDC numbers that report Autism prevalence at 1 in 5000 in 1975 to the current 1 in 68. So is it a “reclassification” or a true increase? You can bet researchers are in a hurry to answer that question.
Especially when you look at the rising cost of autism.
It is predicted that the economic impact of autism in the United States in 2015 will be $268 billion, just a few years ago the cost was 1.2 billion. By 2025, the cost of autism in the US could be as high as $461 billion. Unless of course, the numbers continue to increase as they have reportedly been doing, then we are looking at $1 trillion dollars in 2025 (Leigh & Du, 2015).
Increase or reclassification? Financially, these are all individuals who need support!