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Spectrum: Autism Research News

56% of children with autism in the U.S. live in low-income households, compared with 42% of children with no special healthcare needs.
Just 62% of autistic children are in ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ health, according to their parents, compared with 72% of children with other special healthcare needs.
79% of autistic children require mental health treatment—almost double the proportion of children with other special healthcare needs.
Material hardships, such as difficulty affording food or healthcare, affect 66% of households with autistic children. By contract, 28% of households without children who have special healthcare needs experience a material hardship.
80% of Black and 75% of Hispanic families of children with autism experience at least one material hardship, compared with 59% of white families.
About twice as many Black families as white families with autistic children report that they are often unable to pay for groceries.
Financial strain is most common in families with young autistic children: 55% of families of 3- to 5-year-olds, 42% of families of 6- to 11-year olds and 47% of families of 12- to 17-year olds have difficulty paying bills.
Likewise, 24% of families with autistic 3- to 5-year olds experience trouble paying for their child’s healthcare, compared with about 18% of families with autistic 6- to 17-year olds.
In 30% of households with autistic children, an adult limits or stops work to care for the child. Only 12% of households with children who have other special healthcare needs and 2% of other households with children report the same.

  1. Anderson K. et al. (2020) National Autism Indicators Report: Children on the autism spectrum and family financial hardship. Philadelphia, PA: Drexel University. Full text