In the United States, one in 66 school aged children will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), according to the Centers for Disease Control, Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. This figure is has drastically increased, from a 2006 estimate. Autism Spectrum Disorder knows no boundaries and can occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. It is four to five times more likely to occur in boys than girls. About 15 percent of children in the U.S. have a developmental disability. They can range from mild, such as speech and language impairment, to serious disabilities, such as intellectual, physical and autism.
While mostly thought of as a childhood disorder, the costs and care of a person with Autism extends well into adulthood. A study funded by Autism Speaks estimates the lifetime cost to care for an individual with ASD is more than $2.4 million. The substantial cost for adult care is having important implications for parents as they approach retirement. It impacts society as well with the need for appropriate programs.